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Dry-aged burger with American cheese, onions, and wedge fries at Red Hook Tavern
Thick patties rule at Red Hook Tavern.
Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

NYC’s Top 15 Burgers Right Now

From the simple White Mana burger to an off-menu stunner in Carroll Gardens

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Thick patties rule at Red Hook Tavern.
| Jean Schwarzwalder/Eater NY

Yes, there’s reason to believe the hamburger as we know it may have been invented in New York City in the 1820s, where it was named after a North Sea port, and sold as street food to German sailors along the docks around Chambers Street. By the mid-1800s, it was a staple of Delmonico’s and other fancy places. So it’s no surprise that New York City is a hamburger town, and we love to eat them whether expensive or budget-friendly — in every part of the city. Some options on this list are local icons, while other newfangled ones have become must-tries. From the head-turning burger at Rolo’s to the trendy smash burgers at 7th Street Burger, here are the ones we recommend ordering.

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JG Melon

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This Upper East Side mainstay dating to 1972 is a paragon of bar food. Sure the turkey club and chef’s salad are up to par, but what commands the most attention are the burgers, which pop up enticingly in the pass-thru of the semi-open kitchen. The ground beef is fresh and the patty arrives deeply seared from the flat top, but still pink and juicy. Rippled cottage fries are the classic accompaniment.

A cheeseburger with pickles and purple onions in a paper boat.
JG Melon’s juicy specimen is a classic bar burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

White Mana Diner

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Looking like a spaceship that landed by a nest of highway overpasses long ago, this spot has been located in Jersey City since 1946. Before that, the building started off as a minor attraction at the 1936 World's Fair in Flushing, Queens. Today, it serves classic sliders with cheese and pickles, small enough that you can eat two or three at its curving Formica counter. It was once open 24/7, but hours are now 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A thin cheeseburger sits on top of a cupcake wrapper, with a stack of pickles on its bun
White Mana
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Many worried when the Court Street Grocers took over the old Eisenberg’s that it wouldn’t be as good. Well, it is, and that includes the burger. It has been rehabilitated like it’s a burger of long ago — a modest patty, smothering American cheese, raw onions, plain dill pickles, and most importantly, glorious quantities of mustard.

A hand holds a modest cheeseburger.
S&P’s retro cheeseburger — no it’s not a smash burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7th Street Burger

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Smash burgers have taken off in New York City right now. Leading the pack is 7th Street Burger, an East Village burger shop consisting of little more than a counter for ordering and a few outdoor tables. Simple, smashed patties are buttery, charred, and cheesy all at once, overflowing with sauce from their Martin’s Potato Roll buns. Despite their size — small enough to fit in one’s palm — the rich burgers here can constitute a full meal.

A single smash burger, buttery and perched on a piece of red and white checkered parchment paper.
A single smash burger from 7th Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

First offered at the late East Village bar Black Emperor, this simple burger now lives on at chef Jae Lee’s Korean-American restaurant Nowon. Eater critic Ryan Sutton extolled the cheeseburger for its simplicity: a blend of chuck and short rib on a sesame bun with American cheese, kimchi mayo, and a hulking pickle skewered on top.

A cheese burger placed on a white plate with a pattern along the border. The cheese burger is sandwiched in a sesame bun with a giant sliced pickle on top held together by a toothpick.
The Nowon cheeseburger, elegantly topped with a pickle spear.
Katie Harman

Balthazar

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Balthazar cranks out a pretty amazing burger, and the great ground beef, cooked medium rare and oozing juices, is only one aspect of the picture. From a choice of several cheeses, pick the Gruyere — this is a classic brasserie, after all — and slather on plenty of the homemade mayo, reserving some for the fries. These twice-fried spuds are good enough to eat all at once before taking a bite of the burger.

A patty cloaked in white cheese along with mayo and ketchup in separate cups, and the usual vegetable matter.
The Balthazar burger, cloaked in white cheese.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Corner Bar

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Corner Bar is at its heart a very good hotel restaurant, so a burger aimed at weary travelers is a must. This burger seems to have studied other hotel burgers, noted the deficiencies, and remedied them: It’s not overly large, so one person can eat it without feeling stuffed, and a smoky flavor comes from the caramelized onions on top. The cheese is neither blue nor French — aged cheddar does the job with subtlety and dignity.

A burger cut in quarters with blue toothpicks sticking out the top.
Corner Bar’s juicy burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Golden Diner

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The cheeseburger at Momofuku alum Samuel Yoo’s charming Two Bridges diner comes with a crisped, six-ounce chuck and brisket blend and all the regular toppings like tomato, onions, and lettuce. But there’s also an unusual addition, as well — a mushroom gochujang sauce — that makes this burger spicy, earthy, and utterly electric.

A cheeseburger with three pickles on top, plus fries, on a white plate with a striped lining.
The simple cheeseburger at Golden Diner.
Adam Moussa/Eater NY

BK Jani

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The burgers served at this Brooklyn Pakistani restaurant were so popular that owner Sibte Hassan outgrew his original home in Bushwick. He relocated to this expanded space in Williamsburg two weeks before the pandemic, where his fat, juicy patties now live on. The burgers here pack heat, without feeling heavy, and come zhuzhed up with a grilled tomato slice and schmear of mint chutney. There are additional locations inside Dekalb Market and at the Hugh food hall.

A white paper plate sitting on a table at Pakistani restaurant BK Jani featuring spicy fries, tamarind ketchup, and a burger
A burger from BK Jani with spicy fries and tamarind ketchup.
Tanay Warerkar/Eater NY

Rolo’s

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When a burger creeps toward the $20 mark — without fries — it’s held to a different standard: We expect better beef, a cheese that holds its own, and maybe a spoonful of jammy, caramelized onions to tie things together. Rolo’s in Ridgewood hits all the marks with its double cheeseburger, throwing a pickled hot pepper on the side like it’s an old-school Brooklyn deli. It’s rich and deeply satisfying, the kind of burger you might not want to share but will be glad you did.

A hot pepper lounges on a plate next to a burger overflowing with crisp bacon.
Add bacon to the Rolo’s burger for a few dollars more.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Pera Ždera (Peter Eater)

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A pljeskavica is a Balkan burger that features a combination of meats, often pork, lamb, and beef — though Muslim versions omit the pork. This particular rendition from a snack shop in Glendale features the onion-laced patty on a round bread called pogacha, dressed with a spicy red-pepper ajvar relish. The mascot is Popeye’s hamburger-eating friend Wimpy, who is known as Peter in Belgrade.

A burger in a mottled and irregular bun with some angry looking red sauce visible on the bottom half of the bun, lettuce, too.
Pljeskavica is a Balkan burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Long Island Bar

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In 2013, Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini restored and re-opened Long Island Bar, a neighborhood fixture since 1951. Today, in addition to offering fabulous mid-century design — there’s the diminutive single dry-aged patty burger ($17) served with pickles, cheese, fancy sauce, and fries. If you’re really hungry you can get the double-patty Long Island burger ($20), but the former hits the spot and doesn’t weigh you down.

A small American flag attached to a toothpick sticks out of a burger oozing with yellow cheese.
A burger in its natural habitat.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Gus's Chop House

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Like many of the bigger burgers on this list, the off-menu one at Gus’s is best when shared. Grab hold of the bun and watch meat juices flow as you divide this burger with a steak knife that’s probably meant for the $43 lamb loin. The patty is made from a blend of pork, chuck, and dry-aged beef, then topped with raw and caramelized onions, aged cheddar, and cornichons. To note, this burger isn’t listed on the menu, and there’s a limited number made each night.

A burger with onions and melty cheese sits on a plate at Gus’s Chop House.
The off-menu burger at Gus’s.
Gus’s Chop House/Teddy Wolff

When a burger becomes the sleeper hit of a cult-favorite pizza restaurant, you pay attention. Matt Hyland’s so-called Emmy burger at Emily is a dry-aged blend, blanketed in American cheese with a handful of caramelized onions. It’s served on a pretzel roll and makes for a particularly rich rendition of a burger.

The cross-section of a dry-aged burger, blanketed in American and a handful of caramelized onions.
Emily’s pretzel bun burger.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Red Hook Tavern

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Whatever you heard about big burgers being “out” hasn’t fazed Red Hook Tavern. This restaurant from the team behind Hometown Bar-B-Que, in the same neighborhood, is known for its burger, a $28 patty puck that’s topped with American cheese and a couple rings of raw onion. Served on a bun speckled with sesame seeds and a small mound of cottage fries.

Dry-aged burger with American cheese, white onions, and wedge fries
Potato wedges have since been swapped out for cottage fries.
Daniel Krieger/Red Hook Tavern

JG Melon

This Upper East Side mainstay dating to 1972 is a paragon of bar food. Sure the turkey club and chef’s salad are up to par, but what commands the most attention are the burgers, which pop up enticingly in the pass-thru of the semi-open kitchen. The ground beef is fresh and the patty arrives deeply seared from the flat top, but still pink and juicy. Rippled cottage fries are the classic accompaniment.

A cheeseburger with pickles and purple onions in a paper boat.
JG Melon’s juicy specimen is a classic bar burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

White Mana Diner

Looking like a spaceship that landed by a nest of highway overpasses long ago, this spot has been located in Jersey City since 1946. Before that, the building started off as a minor attraction at the 1936 World's Fair in Flushing, Queens. Today, it serves classic sliders with cheese and pickles, small enough that you can eat two or three at its curving Formica counter. It was once open 24/7, but hours are now 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

A thin cheeseburger sits on top of a cupcake wrapper, with a stack of pickles on its bun
White Mana
Nick Solares/Eater NY

S&P

Many worried when the Court Street Grocers took over the old Eisenberg’s that it wouldn’t be as good. Well, it is, and that includes the burger. It has been rehabilitated like it’s a burger of long ago — a modest patty, smothering American cheese, raw onions, plain dill pickles, and most importantly, glorious quantities of mustard.

A hand holds a modest cheeseburger.
S&P’s retro cheeseburger — no it’s not a smash burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7th Street Burger

Smash burgers have taken off in New York City right now. Leading the pack is 7th Street Burger, an East Village burger shop consisting of little more than a counter for ordering and a few outdoor tables. Simple, smashed patties are buttery, charred, and cheesy all at once, overflowing with sauce from their Martin’s Potato Roll buns. Despite their size — small enough to fit in one’s palm — the rich burgers here can constitute a full meal.

A single smash burger, buttery and perched on a piece of red and white checkered parchment paper.
A single smash burger from 7th Street.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Nowon

First offered at the late East Village bar Black Emperor, this simple burger now lives on at chef Jae Lee’s Korean-American restaurant Nowon. Eater critic Ryan Sutton extolled the cheeseburger for its simplicity: a blend of chuck and short rib on a sesame bun with American cheese, kimchi mayo, and a hulking pickle skewered on top.

A cheese burger placed on a white plate with a pattern along the border. The cheese burger is sandwiched in a sesame bun with a giant sliced pickle on top held together by a toothpick.
The Nowon cheeseburger, elegantly topped with a pickle spear.
Katie Harman

Balthazar

Balthazar cranks out a pretty amazing burger, and the great ground beef, cooked medium rare and oozing juices, is only one aspect of the picture. From a choice of several cheeses, pick the Gruyere — this is a classic brasserie, after all — and slather on plenty of the homemade mayo, reserving some for the fries. These twice-fried spuds are good enough to eat all at once before taking a bite of the burger.

A patty cloaked in white cheese along with mayo and ketchup in separate cups, and the usual vegetable matter.
The Balthazar burger, cloaked in white cheese.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Corner Bar

Corner Bar is at its heart a very good hotel restaurant, so a burger aimed at weary travelers is a must. This burger seems to have studied other hotel burgers, noted the deficiencies, and remedied them: It’s not overly large, so one person can eat it without feeling stuffed, and a smoky flavor comes from the caramelized onions on top. The cheese is neither blue nor French — aged cheddar does the job with subtlety and dignity.

A burger cut in quarters with blue toothpicks sticking out the top.
Corner Bar’s juicy burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Golden Diner

The cheeseburger at Momofuku alum Samuel Yoo’s charming Two Bridges diner comes with a crisped, six-ounce chuck and brisket blend and all the regular toppings like tomato, onions, and lettuce. But there’s also an unusual addition, as well — a mushroom gochujang sauce — that makes this burger spicy, earthy, and utterly electric.

A cheeseburger with three pickles on top, plus fries, on a white plate with a striped lining.
The simple cheeseburger at Golden Diner.
Adam Moussa/Eater NY

BK Jani

The burgers served at this Brooklyn Pakistani restaurant were so popular that owner Sibte Hassan outgrew his original home in Bushwick. He relocated to this expanded space in Williamsburg two weeks before the pandemic, where his fat, juicy patties now live on. The burgers here pack heat, without feeling heavy, and come zhuzhed up with a grilled tomato slice and schmear of mint chutney. There are additional locations inside Dekalb Market and at the Hugh food hall.

A white paper plate sitting on a table at Pakistani restaurant BK Jani featuring spicy fries, tamarind ketchup, and a burger
A burger from BK Jani with spicy fries and tamarind ketchup.
Tanay Warerkar/Eater NY

Rolo’s

When a burger creeps toward the $20 mark — without fries — it’s held to a different standard: We expect better beef, a cheese that holds its own, and maybe a spoonful of jammy, caramelized onions to tie things together. Rolo’s in Ridgewood hits all the marks with its double cheeseburger, throwing a pickled hot pepper on the side like it’s an old-school Brooklyn deli. It’s rich and deeply satisfying, the kind of burger you might not want to share but will be glad you did.

A hot pepper lounges on a plate next to a burger overflowing with crisp bacon.
Add bacon to the Rolo’s burger for a few dollars more.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Pera Ždera (Peter Eater)

A pljeskavica is a Balkan burger that features a combination of meats, often pork, lamb, and beef — though Muslim versions omit the pork. This particular rendition from a snack shop in Glendale features the onion-laced patty on a round bread called pogacha, dressed with a spicy red-pepper ajvar relish. The mascot is Popeye’s hamburger-eating friend Wimpy, who is known as Peter in Belgrade.

A burger in a mottled and irregular bun with some angry looking red sauce visible on the bottom half of the bun, lettuce, too.
Pljeskavica is a Balkan burger.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The Long Island Bar

In 2013, Joel Tompkins and Toby Cecchini restored and re-opened Long Island Bar, a neighborhood fixture since 1951. Today, in addition to offering fabulous mid-century design — there’s the diminutive single dry-aged patty burger ($17) served with pickles, cheese, fancy sauce, and fries. If you’re really hungry you can get the double-patty Long Island burger ($20), but the former hits the spot and doesn’t weigh you down.

A small American flag attached to a toothpick sticks out of a burger oozing with yellow cheese.
A burger in its natural habitat.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Gus's Chop House

Like many of the bigger burgers on this list, the off-menu one at Gus’s is best when shared. Grab hold of the bun and watch meat juices flow as you divide this burger with a steak knife that’s probably meant for the $43 lamb loin. The patty is made from a blend of pork, chuck, and dry-aged beef, then topped with raw and caramelized onions, aged cheddar, and cornichons. To note, this burger isn’t listed on the menu, and there’s a limited number made each night.

A burger with onions and melty cheese sits on a plate at Gus’s Chop House.
The off-menu burger at Gus’s.
Gus’s Chop House/Teddy Wolff

Emily

When a burger becomes the sleeper hit of a cult-favorite pizza restaurant, you pay attention. Matt Hyland’s so-called Emmy burger at Emily is a dry-aged blend, blanketed in American cheese with a handful of caramelized onions. It’s served on a pretzel roll and makes for a particularly rich rendition of a burger.

The cross-section of a dry-aged burger, blanketed in American and a handful of caramelized onions.
Emily’s pretzel bun burger.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Red Hook Tavern

Whatever you heard about big burgers being “out” hasn’t fazed Red Hook Tavern. This restaurant from the team behind Hometown Bar-B-Que, in the same neighborhood, is known for its burger, a $28 patty puck that’s topped with American cheese and a couple rings of raw onion. Served on a bun speckled with sesame seeds and a small mound of cottage fries.

Dry-aged burger with American cheese, white onions, and wedge fries
Potato wedges have since been swapped out for cottage fries.
Daniel Krieger/Red Hook Tavern

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