NYC’s Newest Burgers Are What Dreams Are Made Of
When it comes to the warm months of summertime, there are three things New Yorkers mark their calendars for: 4th of July fireworks, Shakespeare in the Park, and burgers—served any and every which way. The city has its fair share of arguably man’s greatest sandwich (Burger Joint, Corner Bistro, Shake Shack—the list goes on), with heated discussions on which juicy rendition tops them all. This season, new restaurants throw their hats (buns?) in the ring. Read on to find how the best new burgers in Manhattan stack up.
The “Knick” Burger ($21) at Charlie Palmer at The Knick
The Knickerbocker is Midtown’s latest hotel to hit the city with a bang (have you seen their rooftop lounge?), but we’re all about the signature burger at Charlie Palmer’s outpost downstairs. From executive chef Cliff Denny: “This city is full of burgers; some are great, some are okay. We wanted to build a great burger using the best ingredients from our local meat purveyor, Prime, which is based in Port Washington. Ultimately, I want people to remember this burger, from the bun we make across the street at Aureole to our custom dry-aged blend we use in the patty (50% short rib/30% brisket/20% beef fat) to the Schaller & Weber natural hardwood double-smoked bacon.” And let’s not forget the onion jam or butter pickles.
The Cemita Burger ($14) at Javelina
Break out the napkins: this lunch- and weekend-brunch-only dish—an inch-thick 8 oz. patty on a potato roll with Oaxacan cheese and a spicy red chile sauce made from ancho, pasilla, and cascabel chiles—is as juicy as it is drool-worthy. “This is our spin on a traditional Mexican cemita,” says executive chef Richard Caruso. “In Mexico, they use this type of sauce with barbacoa, while the sliced avocado on top adds a lighter feel and a creamy texture.” Not to be outdone, their Hamberquesa version is topped with your choice of white or traditional queso and roasted jalapeños.
The Super Duper Stack Burger ($11) at Genuine Superette
From award-winning AvroKO, the newly opened downtown branch of Genuine is counter service at its most delicious. The Super Duper Stack Burger doesn’t lie—you get not one but two juicy patties slathered in melting American cheese on a soft potato roll with sweet pickles and Superette’s house sauce. Too straightforward for you? Their Spicy Smokehouse Burger topped with gouda, charred jalapeño mayo, and chipotle barbecue sauce packs a spicy punch.
The Bacon Cheeseburger ($11) at Joe’s Bar
For Upper West Siders (and those willing to make the uptown trek), this new addition to Amsterdam Avenue is this summer’s most welcome surprise. Think cushy red booths, vinyl-topped stools lining the bar, and walls decked out in 70s-themed bric-a-brac (taxidermy, kitschy oil paintings, vintage LP sleeves). Here, you come for the burger—the standard patty, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, all cooked to perfection, with a side of thinly sliced pickles—and stay for the craft cocktails, complete with nostalgia-inducing names like Flash Gordon’s Breakfast, Disco Revival, and Skywalker.
The Double Trouble Bison Burger ($16) at Porchlight
Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer knows a thing or two about burgers, so its no surprise that the first stand-alone cocktail bar from his Union Square Hospitality Group has concocted a winner. “For inspiration, we reached back into the history of America,” says chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois. “Buffalo is America's real red meat. Cattle were actually brought to the Americas by the Spanish. I wanted to give our indigenous livestock the credit that it is due." Their version comes with tasso ham, pimento cheese, and Comeback sauce on an everything brioche bun, with a side of Zapp’s potato chips—and, if you’re doing dinner right, one of their stellar bourbons.
The MAMO Burger ($37) at MAMO
SoHo recently welcomed the first New York outpost of the French Riviera celebrity haunt Mamo Le Michelangelo, and it’s an expectedly fancy affair. Inside, the two-story space channels its European roots with atmospheric old movie posters, elevated Italian-French fare, a healthy selection of wine, and a surprisingly messy but nonetheless decadent burger that’s fit to match with truffle shavings, foie gras, and a generous pour of truffle gravy.
The Polo Bar Burger ($24) at The Polo Bar by Ralph Lauren
If you’re planning on perusing all-American designer Ralph Lauren’s flagship Fifth Avenue store, why not stop into the new neighboring clubhouse while you’re at it? Expectedly, it’s a see-and-be-seen kind of place (all mahogany moldings, banquette seating, and framed equestrian art everywhere) and the food, also classically American, is surprisingly fantastic. We’ve heard great things about the tuna tartare and corned beef sandwich, but most discussions center around the signature burger: a thick Black Angus patty within a towering stack of tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, cheddar cheese, and bacon that’s every bit the post-shopping fuel you wish for.
The Thai Style ($18) at Juniper Bar
There are eight burgers on the menu at this 35th Street newcomer near Penn Station, (“Finally,” you say, “a decent pre-MSG concert hangout!”) but the Thai Style version is the true standout. Topped with avocado, papaya, watercress, melted goat cheese, and ginger aioli and glazed with a sweet and spicy chili sauce, the juicy eight-ounce patty just begs to be paired with something equally sweet and fresh like a bowl of edamame hummus and a glass of fruity sangria. Part of the post-MSG concert crowd? There’s an elevated DJ booth and dance floor to keep the party going.
The Burger ($20) at Burger & Lobster
The first American branch of this no-reservations London-based chain has landed in the Flatiron District, and it’s a doozy. The cavernous 340-seat space is perpetually packed for a menu that is as straightforward as it gets: lobster or burger. Your options: a 10-ounce hamburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion (it’s important to note that you can add cheese and bacon for free), a one-and-a-half-pound lobster (grilled or steamed), or a six-ounce lobster roll—all served with unlimited salad and fries. After all, why mess with a good thing?
The Mutton Burger ($18) at Seamstress
In the relative nightlife wasteland of the Upper East Side, we’re all for a cocktail/burger den with its own tabletop lamps, hewn elm tables, and roaring fireplace. The burger itself is a game-changer—old-fashioned mutton topped with rich triple-crème, buttermilk fermented carrots, fennel fronds, and fried rosemary on a freshly baked sesame seed bun—but you’d be remiss not to order one of the creative classic cocktails from lauded head bartender Pamela Wiznitzer (of Dead Rabbit fame), which incorporate ingredients like celery soda and chai vermouth. Count us in.