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New York City's Hamburgers

[ NEW YORK, NY - NYC - 11/15/2009 - updated on 1/4/2010 - www.Littleviews.com ]

Burgers & Cupcakes, NYC>>  A good hamburger is every bit as exciting to taste as a good steak, but you can buy it at a fraction of the price. New York City is the best place to find these burgers, which are freshly ground and loosely packed, with the burger itself imperfectly roundish.

I like burgers rare or medium rare and upon ordering, I always inform my waiter that I'll return it if not done properly. I recommend that you do that, too. It saves time and assures the attention you deserve! Likewise, if you like your burgers well-done and hate having even the slightest shade of pink present, you should also warn your waiter.

All of the New York burger joints, lunch shops, and full-service restaurants listed below serve half-pound or larger burgers. While I've eaten at several of these shops, the list also includes restaurants that are typically noted in other publications. Together, they represent good dining options, but they are not all personal recommendations.

The dazzle quality represented by this list, of course, is in the taste of the burger itself, and not in a restaurant's overall atmosphere, stable-tables, crispness of service, or quality of the waitstaff. Some places listed below are highly decorative, while others are plain, if not rough. Peter Luger's lunchroom, for example, offers nothing to excite the eye, but its reputation for steak preparation overrides truly bland visuals.

Are the hamburgers listed here fast food? Usually not.

Are they cheap? Well, if you are ultra-frugal, a single, half-pound or more burger, coupled with a glass of water, is all that's needed to fuel your day. With friends? Most orders of fries are large enough to serve two or three people.

Burgers in New York City

  • Back Forty: This is a farmhouse-style restaurant that features $17 burgers wrapped in buns by Amy's Bread. 190 Avenue B between 11th and 12th Streets.

  • BLT Burger: This chain makes a tasty $16 per burger. Check its website (www.BLTBurger.com) for locations. At this writing, their shops are at 1430 Sixth Avenue - 106 E. 57th Street - 111E 22nd Street - 470 Sixth Avenue.

  • Blue Smoke: Although this restaurant is known for barbecue, it makes a mean $11.50 hamburger and provides a cool atmosphere. 116 E. 27th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues.

  • Brooklyn Diner: This big city diner features Brooklyn "home food," while being exclusively located in Manhattan. Stop in for their tender $15+ burger plate. 155 W. 43rd by Times Square - 212 W. 57th Street by Carnegie Hall.

  • Burgers & Cupcakes: This 9th Avenue eatery features two of NY's favorite foods: burgers and cupcakes! Half-pound burgers ($6.50), plus crispy, skins-on fries, are a great value in this lunch shop that fronts Michel London's catering operation. And then there are fresh cupcakes . . . (The restaurant is near the Javits Center and the mammoth BH Photo & Video). 458 9th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets.

  • Burger Heaven: This chain of lunchrooms is known for its burgers ($6.75+), fast service, and sleek atmosphere. Morning through afternoon hours. 41st & Madison - 49th & Madison -53rd & Madison - 54th & Madison - 62 & Lexington 86th & 3rd.

  • Burger Joint: Located in Le Parker Meridien Hotel, $12 for a burger seems reasonable. 119 W. 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

  • Corner Bistro: This is a popular Village joint, with burgers starting at $6.75. 331 W. 4th Street at Jane Street.

  • DB Bistro Moderne: This is 4-star chef, Daniel Bouland's restaurant, where the burgers go for $32. 55 W. 44th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. (212) 391-2400

  • Fairway Cafe: This cafe is part of the fabled Fairway Grocery Store. Nosh on a burger, then shop nearby for gourmet goods. 2127 Broadway between W. 74th and 75th Streets.

  • Fanelli's: Opened in 1847, this SOHO restaurant has served many famous writers, artists, and poets. Their current hamburger price is around $9. 94 Prince Street at Mercer.

  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries: This is a rapidly expanding franchise with reasonable prices ($6.50 burger), big portions (one order of fries feed four people), and fast-food seating. See their website for locations. www.FiveGuys.com

  • HB Burger: New in 2009 is this one-of-a-kind, Heartland Brewery burger restaurant. Enjoy Brooklyn-brewed beers, plus absolutely fresh, hand-packed, half-pound burgers. A succulent plain burger costs just $7.50. Other popular choices include Buffalo-style, Kobe beef, prime steak, and free-range Bison burgers. Times Square area at 127 W. 43rd Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue. www.HeartlandBrewery.com

  • JG Melon: Opened in 1972, this restaurant has been going strong, with burgers around $9. 1291 3rd Avenue at 74th Street.

  • Market Table: According to TimeOut New York, this restaurant resonates "barnyard chic." Dine on its 8-ounce burgers, which are a blend sirloin and brisket. 54 Carmine Street at Bedford Street.

  • Minetta Tavern: At $26, stopping here for a chopped steak burger is a mission. 113 MacDougal Street, between Bleecker and W. 3rd Streets.

  • Paul's: This shop's dark, beaten, and really silly atmosphere is popular with students and tourists, alike. Burgers start at $5. 131 2nd Avenue between St. Marks Place and E. 7th.

  • PJ Clarks: This original, 1800s restaurant is always known for good food, especially their $9 burger. 915 3rd Avenue at 55th Street.

  • Primehouse: One of BR Guest's classy restaurants, consider making reservations before arriving to dine on its reasonably-priced, $15 burger. 381 Park Avenue, South, at 27th Street. (212) 824-2600.

  • Telepan: Here you'll order hormone-free chuck in a bun. Reservations suggested. 72 W. 69th Street at Columbus Avenue. (212) 580-4300.

  • Shake Shack: This is a typical road-side burger shack, but in the heart of a big city. Check its website for locations (www.ShakeShackNYC.com). At this writing, they are at 366 Columbus Avenue at 77th Street - and at the SE corner of Madison Square Park near Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street.

  • Shorty's .32: The "32" stands for the number of seats in this SOHO restaurant. 199 Prince Street between MacDougal and Sullivan Streets.

  • Spotted Pig: Here you'll find serious food (Italian and British), plus burgers in a fun, West Village atmosphere. Reservations suggested during prime dining hours. 314 W. 11th Street at Greenwich Street. (212) 620-0393.

  • Stand: Drop in to see its slick decorating scheme, including booths embedded in a wall. Everything served in this restaurant is original, including the toppings and sides for its $6+ burgers. 24 E. 12th Street between 5th Avenue and University Place, near Union Square.

  • Stoned Crow: Enjoy pub food and charred burgers in this West Village bar by Washington Square Park. 85 Washington Place.

Burgers in Brooklyn

  • DuMont Burger: This is a plain, counter-seating restaurant known for burgers and fries. 314 Bedford Avenue between South 1st and 2nd streets, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

  • Peter Luger: This is an ultra plain, old, steak house popular for every kind of beef. Reservations are usually required. 178 Broadway at Driggs Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (718) 387-7400.

  • 67 Burger: Here you can chow down on chuck mixed with tenderloin burgers. 67 Lafayette Avenue at Fulton Street, Fort Green, Brooklyn.

Did I miss any great burgers? Have prices changed? Please let me know at karen@littleviews.com

Article and photo by Karen Little. First published on 11/15/2009. All rights reserved by www.Littleviews.com.

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