New York is renowned for pizza, hot dogs and deli sandwiches, but the city offers another classic comfort food – terrific burgers. The American staple is a specialty of the city, where the typical fast food entree is made gourmet by talented chefs.
To satisfy your burger cravings, here are some must-try burger joints in NYC.
The Counter, Times Square: For those who hate having limited options, nothing beats The Counter. This burger and burger bowl joint offers over 1 million different types of burgers, as patrons can choose between seven proteins, 16 cheeses, 45 toppings, 23 sauces and eight buns varieties. Opt for an organic bison burger topped with soft-ripened brie, apricot sauce, quinoa and onion confit on a multi-grain bun, or maybe an Ahi Tuna patty gowned in fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, alfalfa sprouts, kale and avocado on a pretzel bun. The choice is yours. Along with creativity, sustainable dining is also a focus, with many options being organic, natural, free-range and antibiotic- and hormone-free. Additionally, their sides go beyond fries, also serving deviled eggs, dill pickle chips and homemade chili — not to mention wine and beer infused milkshakes (Chocolate Cherry Pinot Noir, anyone?). It’s a completely unique culinary experience in NYC.
Beer & Buns, Midtown East: For those who like to travel the world through food, Beer & Buns offers globally-inspired burgers and sliders paired with craft beers. Here, Thai Chef Wisit Panpinyo — also known as Chef Nok — cooks up burgers like “Grouper on Fire” with fried fish, house spicy chili and sweet basil atop an onion brioche bun, and a “Southern Smack Down” made with marinated pork shoulder, vegetables, herbs and soy sauce with a crunchy brioche bun. For those with some cash to blow, the decadent B&B Indulgence Burger is $250 and features Kobe beef, white truffles, caviar and sauteed foie gras on a made-from-scratch bun. Feel good that a percentage of the money raised from this burger is donated to City Harvest to help feed the hungry in NYC. Don’t worry if you’re not a millionaire – they have slider deals like 3-for-$12 and 5-for-$17.
The Burger Guru, Brooklyn: Not only will you savor organic and all-natural protein products at The Burger Guru, you’ll also have the chance to try some more innovative food fare. Some of their meats include organic Texas antelope, spicy lamb, lump crab, free-range organic Canadian bison, domestic farm-raised organic ostrich, beer-battered cod, a tasty vegetarian beet and bean patty, to name a few. While you can’t go wrong with any of the venue’s offerings, their antelope topped with “Pineapple Express” — pineapple, caramelized onions and roasted red peppers — is a must-try.
The National, Midtown East: While a dish called the “Ugly Burger” may not sound particularly appetizing, it’s one of the best burgers in NYC. A creation of The National, the burger features a thick beef patty on a buttered brioche bun with Japanese mayo, pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions, Gruyere cheese and a special secret sauce. The name originates from New York Times restaurant reviewer Sam Sifton stating the dish was an “ugly looking affair … but has flavor to spare.” Pair your dish with a craft beer or wine, or opt for one of their creative cocktails like “The Long Goodbye” made with local Dorothy Parker Gin, Pavan Muscat Grape, orange blossom liqueur and fresh basil.
Burger Heights, Washington Heights: Forget fatty fast food patties. At Burger Heights, burgers and milkshakes are high quality, with beef, turkey and lamb delivered fresh each day from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. That being said, the menu offers more than just beef, with lamb, fish, turkey and veggie listed as options, too. Savor “The Amsterdam,” featuring a beef patty topped with fresh queso, guac, tomato and sour cream, or “The Fort Washington,” with a vegan-friendly burger of black beans, onion, corn and peppers topped with guac, lettuce and pico de gallo. There’s also “The Audubon” showcasing a turkey burger gowned in avocado, provolone cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and spicy chipotle mayo. For a perfect pairing, opt for an Italian gelato milkshake (the Nutella is a favorite!).
Rathbones Pub, Upper East Side: For the budget-conscious burger-lover, Rathbones Pub serves a delectable burger for a discounted price. Mondays patrons can order a burger and a beer for $10, and Tuesdays offer a two-for-one burger and drink special (both deals run from 7-11pm). These aren’t just any burgers, either. Picture thick juicy meat patties on artisan bread, with additional topping suggestions including gooey melting cheese, hearty chili, crispy bacon, perfectly sauteed mushrooms or tangy onion — all paired with a heaping pile of French fries. Even on a regular night a burger is only $8.95, a delicious NYC steal.
This is a guest post by Jessica Festa, a native New Yorker, NYC tour guide and writer. Jessica is Author and Editor of websites Jessie On a Journey and Epicure & Culture, and a contributor to many publications including Huffington Post, Sherman’s Travel, Gadling, and AOL Travel.
Have we missed your favorite NYC burger? Tell us in the comments below.