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Your top 21 burgers in NYC

To crown the city’s most democratic of eats, we asked more than 30,000 readers to vote for New York’s prestigious patties. Loosen your belts, people!

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz
Time Out New York readers are a pretty savvy crew, so when it came time to hand-pick the top 21 burgers in all of Gotham, we left it up to our clued-in following. And what we got surprised us—sprinkled in with tried-and-true classics like Donovan's and J.G. Melon are neighborhood joints like Bay Ridge's Kettle Black and Astoria's Twist & Smash'd. Take a gander at our readers' 20 best burgers and see if your choice made the list.

RECOMMENDED: All of NYC's best burgers

Nürn-Burger at Nürnberger Bierhaus

This German-inspired eatery broils its ten-ounce prime-beef patty before piling it high with bacon, fried onions and your choice of cheese (American, cheddar, Swiss, gouda). Pillow-like pretzel buns direct from Deutschland and sweet and spicy mustards whipped up in-house make it worth the ferry ride. $7.50.

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Staten Island

Original Smash’d at Twist & Smash’d

Queens locals go gaga for this grill-fired number. The sports bar turns out plenty of signature griddle-smashed burgers (chicken with chipotle mayo, veggie with mango salsa), but it’s the Angus beef with cheddar that really charms New Yorkers, encased in a crisp-edged bun branded with the restaurant logo. Single $5.50, double $9.50.

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Astoria

Whitehall burger at Whitehall

The inspiration for this West Village tavern may be British, but its burger is all-American: Chef Justin Furr hand-rolls his Ames, Iowa–imported Angus brisket, adds a dash of salt and pepper and lets the burger sizzle on an open grill. A complement to the tangy, mature Murray’s Cheese Shop cheddar, he sandwiches the beef with red-wine-vinegar-pickled beet root, baby gem lettuce and an over-easy egg balanced between house-made poppyseed brioche. Whew! $18.

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West Village

M&M burger at Rare Bar & Grill

First flambéed in Maker’s Mark bourbon, this half-pound grade-A patty is layered with cheddar and crowned with apple-smoked bacon. A Brick City Baking Company white bun bookends the boozy burger after it’s sprinkled with sweet, caramelized shallots. $15.

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Chelsea

Dry-aged steak burger at Eats on Lex

Just under eight ounces and freshly ground with secret-recipe mix-ins, the dry-aged round at this Upper East Side bar and grill cooks in a cast-iron skillet until crispy on the outside. A toasted soft bun just barely contains the meat, which is smothered in a heap of caramelized onions and deliciously melty American cheese. $15.

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Lenox Hill

Bill’s Burger at Bill’s Bar & Burger

According to chef Michael Manhertz, it’s the most sought-after burger at the checkered-tablecloth chain—and for good reason: The flattop-grilled patty is pressed in a clamshell griddle for a crisp outer crust and pink, juicy center. Five halved sour pickles topple above American cheese, market lettuce, sliced tomato and a four-inch sesame-seed Bimbo bun. $8.95.

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Financial District

The Classic at Donovan’s Pub

Classic is right. Both this Irish-accented corner bar and its burger have been Queens fixtures since 1966, and the sandwich is as refreshingly no-fuss as the rest of the wood-paneled joint, set beneath the rattling 7-train tracks. The charbroiled half-pounder is built with ground New York strip and humbly topped with lettuce and tomato, and cheese, bacon and onion options. A pint of Guinness to accompany your meal? A no-brainer. $10.95.

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Woodside

Cheeseburger at Pork Slope

It’s no secret that Dale Talde (see above left) has a food-world love affair with swine—the place is called Pork Slope—but the beef at this rollicking Brooklyn canteen gives the pig a run for its money. The Top Chef alum drapes griddle-charred black Angus with good ol’ American cheese in a squishy Martin’s potato bun; crisp, chopped onions and sliced pickles add a delightfully contrasting texture. $11.

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Park Slope

Double ShackBurger at Shake Shack

People lost it when Danny Meyer’s globe-spanning burger empire traded its crinkle-cut fries for hand-cut russet frites. Thankfully, that likely scared Meyer from ever messing with his beloved burger recipe, a fan favorite and critics’ darling since its debut at a Madison Square Park hot-dog cart in 2004. The thin patties look fast-food–esque, but its proprietary Pat LaFrieda blend (brisket, chuck and short rib)—shellacked in mayo-based ShackSauce and American cheese in a griddled potato bun—classes things up. Don’t change a thing, Danny. $7.35.

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Flatiron

Burger at Dram Shop

A butter-toasted sesame-seed bun supports this double-decker of grass-fed chuck, grilled in grease at this woodsy watering hole. Once the American cheese has melted, sliced tomato and chopped onions are layered on top, followed by a shower of shredded lettuce and squirts of yellow mustard and mayo. $12.

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Park Slope
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Comments

7 comments
Ken M
Ken M

Sorry, Bareburger beats nearly every burger on this list. Shakeshack? Burger Joint? They're okay, I guess. Another demi-chain you forgot is The Capital Grille. Their Wagyu burger - served only for a couple months a year - is an event worth anticipating. 

Enrique G
Enrique G

Shake shack suckass!!! Basic burger

Edmond V
Edmond V

I don't think that there is anything that I like more than a good burger. I'm going out to NYC in a couple of days, and I'm going to have to try a couple of these places out for sure. I think that the steak burger at Eats looks amazing as well. There is so much meat on that, it's going to be awesome. 

Mark L
Mark L

Gaelic Burger @ Nelly Spillanes 33rd Street

Harry R
Harry R

How can Jackson Hole not be there!!!

Randall L
Randall L

What a joke - minetta follows dram shop?!?!

Dram shop's burger is garbage, worse than a Big Mac at McDonald's.

Timeout, you have no credibility any more. Goodbye.

Mgardner25
Mgardner25

This is last years list... wheres the winners from this years?