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Two hulking smash burger patties overflow from a sesame seeded bun on a plastic takeout tray.
The Big Shmacc from Smashed on the Lower East Side.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

14 Greasy, Glorious Smash Burgers in NYC

Thin, charred patties are taking over New York City. Here’s where to find some of our favorites.

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The Big Shmacc from Smashed on the Lower East Side.
| Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Long before they had their name, smash burgers were being flung from the grills of burger joints in Midwestern cities like St. Louis and Kansas City. Intense searing and a paper-thin press turned what might have been average quality ground beef into something charred, caramelized, and deeply flavorful. Those patties — just called “burgers” in their home cities — found a name after the international Smashburger chain launched in 2007. The term “smash burger” was popularized, and the cooking style glamorized.

Until recently, smash burgers have never really had their moment in New York City, even if they have been available for years from national chains like Five Guys (founded in 1986) and Shake Shack (in 2004 from Danny Meyer, who no doubt wolfed down smashed burgers in his St. Louis hometown). Locally, independent operators like White Mana Diner and Harlem Shake have been smashing their patties since 1946 and 2013, respectively.

Emboldened by the pandemic, and taking cues from Los Angeles’ smash burger scene, a new wave of burger shops has opened with a focus on thin patties sometimes made from superior quality beef. Vegan, halal, smashed, and stuffed into a pita, it’s all on this list, usually for around $10. Worth noting is that some of the best smash burgers right now are served from the sidewalk grills of pop-ups, including Motzburger, Gotham Burger Social Club, Extra Sauce, and others. Though worth a special trip, we’ve left them off this list to make room for brick-and-mortar burger spots.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Harlem Shake

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Lined with nostalgic decorations like a museum, Harlem Shake is the most militant of burger smashers, smashing its Harlem classic so hard that the sear turns into a separable membrane. The flavor of the meat is notably good, with the usual American cheese underneath. Another permutation of a menu that mainly restricts itself to burgers, franks, and fried chicken sandwiches is the “hot mess,” which features a relish of cherry peppers and bacon on the seared patty, and there’s a vegan cheeseburger, too. Get the fries but skip the milkshakes.

A darkened burger on a puffy bun with cheese underneath posed in a window looking out of the restaurant.
The Harlem classic at Harlem Shake.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

In the new food court called the Hugh, diners can find the latest branch of this Israeli pita-based chain. One of its best offerings is called the folded cheeseburger. Invented by chef Eyal Shani, it features a skinny beef patty seared into oblivion on one side, folded over white cheddar, slathered with garlic aioli, and garnished with tomato and pickles. It’s essentially a classic smash burger, but one deposited in a fluffy pita rather than a bun.

A thick pita with a blackened patty hanging out like a tongue.
The folded cheeseburger at Miznon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Burgermania

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Lately there have been a rash of small hamburger joints offering halal meats and limited menus concentrating mainly on burgers. Burgermania, a stone’s throw from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, is a perfect example of the genre. The default is the smashed-down-hard manic burger, dressed with ketchup and mayo, but a series of variations have whimsical names, including the oozy (mushrooms and pepperjack) and the big boy (cheddar, beef bacon, and “southwest” sauce). Fried chicken sandwiches round out the menu, and the website boasts, “Our buns are golden brown marshmallow soft.”

A single patty burger with an excess amount of ketchup and mayo, seen from the top of its box.
The manic burger at Bugermania.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

White Mana Diner

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The term smash burger may have been popularized in 2007 by Denver’s Smashburger chain, but the concept has been around far longer, dating back nearly a century ago when burgers were thin, cooked to a well-done temperature, and flattened with a spatula during the cooking process. White Mana started life as a kiosk at the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows and was later transplanted to a nest of highways at the foot of the Jersey City Heights. The burgers are ultra-thin and taste if they’ve bathed in the grease of the millions of patties that have gone before.

Two burgers strewn out on a paper plate, besides a side of neon green pickles.
The burgers at White Mana are somewhere between White Castle and McDonald’s in size.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Shake Shack

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Shake Shack, which started off as a seasonal hamburger stand in Madison Square Park, is the rare example of a chain that’s managed to keep up quality while expanding across the globe. Lettuce, tomato, slices of American cheese, and a squirt of Shack Sauce serve as supporting roles for one of New York’s most widely available smash burgers. What these patties lack in char and caramelization, they make up for in sheer portion size, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a smash burger with more beef for under $10.

A hand clutches a double smash burger from fast food chain Shake Shack.
A double Shack Burger from Shake Shack.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Best Burger

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In a city with no shortage of great patties, restaurant names like Best Burger are fighting words, but in the case of this Meatpacking District restaurant, which sources its beef right across the street, it helps that they’re mostly true. The burger here is loosely modeled after the ones at In-N-Out — meaning onion, tomato, pickle, shredded lettuce, and sauce are all on the table. It comes with two smash patties by default (around $12). The fries get the job done, but for something different, try the onion rings battered in gluten-free beer, offered at the same price.

A double smash burger topped with melty cheese on a Martin’s Potato Roll sits on red-and-white checkered paper.
At Best Burger, the restaurant’s name mostly lives up to the hype.
Adam Friedlander/Eater

7th Street Burger

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When 7th Street Burger opened last summer in the former Caracas Arepa Bar space in the East Village, it caused a sensation. Owner Kevin Rezvani, who’d founded the burger chain Diesel & Duke in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a few years back, created 7th Street along similar lines. The idea is extreme simplicity: selling only three cheeseburgers (single patty, double patty, Impossible) that are seared and smashed flat before a squirt of mustardy sauce is added. Even the buns get flattened in the process.

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

Bastard Burgers

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This list’s newest entry comes from Bastard Burgers, a burger counter located downstairs in the Bronx Brewery’s East Village taproom. It’s the first U.S. outpost of a well-established Swedish chain, which defies certain smash burger conventions common here: It employs cheddar — rather than American — cheese, for one, and has a strong mustardy taste. The default burger is $12 for a single patty, and a few more dollars for a double, but whichever you choose, be sure to grab twice as many napkins as you think you need because this burger is a heaping, drippy mess.

A hand clutches a double smash burger dripping with condiments and juices.
A double smash burger from Bastard Burgers, dripping with condiments.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Jerrell's Betr Brgr

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The burgers at Jerrell’s Betr Brgr tick all the boxes: They’re hot, greasy, filling, and available late at night. But in the crowded field of smash burgers, Jerrell’s stands out in one way — everything is vegan. The flavorful, satisfying Impossible burgers come with vegan cheese, grilled onions, and a sauce that adds a hint of sweetness. There’s single and double burgers, the the latter of which can be loaded with vegan bacon, chili, and jalapenos. Order ahead or walk up to the window under the bright, bold signage on lower Sixth Avenue at just about any hour of the night.

Two burgers with poppy and sesame seed buns are unwrapped besides sides of waffle fries.
Jerrell’s BETR BRGR is making vegan smash burgers and waffle fries.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Smashed

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Smashed was one of the first to the punch in the latest wave of smash burger openings, and while other burger shops have since popped up nearby, this Lower East Side takeout counter with a rowdy late-night crowd remains one of the absolute best. The Big Shmacc, essentially a smash burger Big Mac on a sesame seed bun, is the way to go, but burger purists will find plenty to love in the classic double smash, made with griddled onions, pickles, and charred beef patties overflowing from a Martin’s potato roll bun.

A hand with painted nails dips a triple smash burger on a potato roll into a plastic tub of neon yellow cheese.
Containers of melted cheese are available from Smashed on request.
Adam Friedlander/Eater

Mighties

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Though diminutive in size, Mighties, in the Market Line under Essex Market, has the cache of acclaimed chefs and owners Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra of Contra and Wildair. Its connection with the Ends Meat butcher counter a few steps away guarantees the freshest beef. Listed in smaller letters toward the top of the menu is the Little Mighties burger, a skinny patty (or two, on request) with onions, pickles, cheddar cheese, and sauce that calls to mind the McDonald’s across the street.

A hand clutches a small burger with a single, thin beef patty and two pickles poking out from under a bun.
The little Mighties smash burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Holy Cow

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This Lower East Side halal burger counter has two other branches in Long Island, but this one is owned by Kaveh Tabatabaie. The signature holy burger has two thin, intensely seared patties and a lavish quantity of American cheese — so if you like your burgers cheesy, this is your place. It’s also a great place to grab a milkshake, and the menu also offers a chopped cheese in a hamburger bun utilizing the same seared patty.

A greasy towering burger with two patties and two slices of cheese.
The holy burger at Holy Cow.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Blue Collar

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When the first Blue Collar opened in Williamsburg a decade ago by Gavin Compton and Jeff Slagg, it was identified as a California burger in the In-N-Out vein, But in retrospect, the burger is more like Shake Shack’s, with its green leaf lettuce and bright red tomato, the thinness of the patty with paradoxically big flavor, and general laudable greasiness — though not as intentionally greasy as 7th Street Burger’s.

A bun with burger, yellow cheese, dark green lettuce sticking out in a frill, and red tomato.
A cheeseburger from Blue Collar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Apocalypse Burger

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Apocalypse Burger landed in the Brooklyn last year by way of Indiana, where chef Martha Hoover (of James Beard acclaim) started cooking up smashed patties during the pandemic. Her burgers can be ordered for delivery from Hungry House, a ghost kitchen in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but stop by in person for a hotter, fresher burger. Stick to the simple Plain Jane burger, a melty, meaty creation that could probably benefit from more caramelization on the grill but will no doubt satisfy a smash burger craving.

A hand clutches a single smash burger wrapped in checkered black and white parchment paper.
The “Plain Jane” from Apocalypse Burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Harlem Shake

A darkened burger on a puffy bun with cheese underneath posed in a window looking out of the restaurant.
The Harlem classic at Harlem Shake.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lined with nostalgic decorations like a museum, Harlem Shake is the most militant of burger smashers, smashing its Harlem classic so hard that the sear turns into a separable membrane. The flavor of the meat is notably good, with the usual American cheese underneath. Another permutation of a menu that mainly restricts itself to burgers, franks, and fried chicken sandwiches is the “hot mess,” which features a relish of cherry peppers and bacon on the seared patty, and there’s a vegan cheeseburger, too. Get the fries but skip the milkshakes.

A darkened burger on a puffy bun with cheese underneath posed in a window looking out of the restaurant.
The Harlem classic at Harlem Shake.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Miznon

A thick pita with a blackened patty hanging out like a tongue.
The folded cheeseburger at Miznon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

In the new food court called the Hugh, diners can find the latest branch of this Israeli pita-based chain. One of its best offerings is called the folded cheeseburger. Invented by chef Eyal Shani, it features a skinny beef patty seared into oblivion on one side, folded over white cheddar, slathered with garlic aioli, and garnished with tomato and pickles. It’s essentially a classic smash burger, but one deposited in a fluffy pita rather than a bun.

A thick pita with a blackened patty hanging out like a tongue.
The folded cheeseburger at Miznon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Burgermania

A single patty burger with an excess amount of ketchup and mayo, seen from the top of its box.
The manic burger at Bugermania.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Lately there have been a rash of small hamburger joints offering halal meats and limited menus concentrating mainly on burgers. Burgermania, a stone’s throw from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, is a perfect example of the genre. The default is the smashed-down-hard manic burger, dressed with ketchup and mayo, but a series of variations have whimsical names, including the oozy (mushrooms and pepperjack) and the big boy (cheddar, beef bacon, and “southwest” sauce). Fried chicken sandwiches round out the menu, and the website boasts, “Our buns are golden brown marshmallow soft.”

A single patty burger with an excess amount of ketchup and mayo, seen from the top of its box.
The manic burger at Bugermania.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

White Mana Diner

Two burgers strewn out on a paper plate, besides a side of neon green pickles.
The burgers at White Mana are somewhere between White Castle and McDonald’s in size.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The term smash burger may have been popularized in 2007 by Denver’s Smashburger chain, but the concept has been around far longer, dating back nearly a century ago when burgers were thin, cooked to a well-done temperature, and flattened with a spatula during the cooking process. White Mana started life as a kiosk at the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows and was later transplanted to a nest of highways at the foot of the Jersey City Heights. The burgers are ultra-thin and taste if they’ve bathed in the grease of the millions of patties that have gone before.

Two burgers strewn out on a paper plate, besides a side of neon green pickles.
The burgers at White Mana are somewhere between White Castle and McDonald’s in size.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Shake Shack

A hand clutches a double smash burger from fast food chain Shake Shack.
A double Shack Burger from Shake Shack.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Shake Shack, which started off as a seasonal hamburger stand in Madison Square Park, is the rare example of a chain that’s managed to keep up quality while expanding across the globe. Lettuce, tomato, slices of American cheese, and a squirt of Shack Sauce serve as supporting roles for one of New York’s most widely available smash burgers. What these patties lack in char and caramelization, they make up for in sheer portion size, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a smash burger with more beef for under $10.

A hand clutches a double smash burger from fast food chain Shake Shack.
A double Shack Burger from Shake Shack.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Best Burger

A double smash burger topped with melty cheese on a Martin’s Potato Roll sits on red-and-white checkered paper.
At Best Burger, the restaurant’s name mostly lives up to the hype.
Adam Friedlander/Eater

In a city with no shortage of great patties, restaurant names like Best Burger are fighting words, but in the case of this Meatpacking District restaurant, which sources its beef right across the street, it helps that they’re mostly true. The burger here is loosely modeled after the ones at In-N-Out — meaning onion, tomato, pickle, shredded lettuce, and sauce are all on the table. It comes with two smash patties by default (around $12). The fries get the job done, but for something different, try the onion rings battered in gluten-free beer, offered at the same price.

A double smash burger topped with melty cheese on a Martin’s Potato Roll sits on red-and-white checkered paper.
At Best Burger, the restaurant’s name mostly lives up to the hype.
Adam Friedlander/Eater

7th Street Burger

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

When 7th Street Burger opened last summer in the former Caracas Arepa Bar space in the East Village, it caused a sensation. Owner Kevin Rezvani, who’d founded the burger chain Diesel & Duke in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a few years back, created 7th Street along similar lines. The idea is extreme simplicity: selling only three cheeseburgers (single patty, double patty, Impossible) that are seared and smashed flat before a squirt of mustardy sauce is added. Even the buns get flattened in the process.

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

Bastard Burgers

A hand clutches a double smash burger dripping with condiments and juices.
A double smash burger from Bastard Burgers, dripping with condiments.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

This list’s newest entry comes from Bastard Burgers, a burger counter located downstairs in the Bronx Brewery’s East Village taproom. It’s the first U.S. outpost of a well-established Swedish chain, which defies certain smash burger conventions common here: It employs cheddar — rather than American — cheese, for one, and has a strong mustardy taste. The default burger is $12 for a single patty, and a few more dollars for a double, but whichever you choose, be sure to grab twice as many napkins as you think you need because this burger is a heaping, drippy mess.

A hand clutches a double smash burger dripping with condiments and juices.
A double smash burger from Bastard Burgers, dripping with condiments.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Jerrell's Betr Brgr

Two burgers with poppy and sesame seed buns are unwrapped besides sides of waffle fries.
Jerrell’s BETR BRGR is making vegan smash burgers and waffle fries.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

The burgers at Jerrell’s Betr Brgr tick all the boxes: They’re hot, greasy, filling, and available late at night. But in the crowded field of smash burgers, Jerrell’s stands out in one way — everything is vegan. The flavorful, satisfying Impossible burgers come with vegan cheese, grilled onions, and a sauce that adds a hint of sweetness. There’s single and double burgers, the the latter of which can be loaded with vegan bacon, chili, and jalapenos. Order ahead or walk up to the window under the bright, bold signage on lower Sixth Avenue at just about any hour of the night.

Two burgers with poppy and sesame seed buns are unwrapped besides sides of waffle fries.
Jerrell’s BETR BRGR is making vegan smash burgers and waffle fries.
Adam Friedlander/Eater NY

Smashed

A hand with painted nails dips a triple smash burger on a potato roll into a plastic tub of neon yellow cheese.
Containers of melted cheese are available from Smashed on request.
Adam Friedlander/Eater

Smashed was one of the first to the punch in the latest wave of smash burger openings, and while other burger shops have since popped up nearby, this Lower East Side takeout counter with a rowdy late-night crowd remains one of the absolute best. The Big Shmacc, essentially a smash burger Big Mac on a sesame seed bun, is the way to go, but burger purists will find plenty to love in the classic double smash, made with griddled onions, pickles, and charred beef patties overflowing from a Martin’s potato roll bun.

A hand with painted nails dips a triple smash burger on a potato roll into a plastic tub of neon yellow cheese.
Containers of melted cheese are available from Smashed on request.
Adam Friedlander/Eater

Mighties

A hand clutches a small burger with a single, thin beef patty and two pickles poking out from under a bun.
The little Mighties smash burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Though diminutive in size, Mighties, in the Market Line under Essex Market, has the cache of acclaimed chefs and owners Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske Valtierra of Contra and Wildair. Its connection with the Ends Meat butcher counter a few steps away guarantees the freshest beef. Listed in smaller letters toward the top of the menu is the Little Mighties burger, a skinny patty (or two, on request) with onions, pickles, cheddar cheese, and sauce that calls to mind the McDonald’s across the street.

A hand clutches a small burger with a single, thin beef patty and two pickles poking out from under a bun.
The little Mighties smash burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Holy Cow

A greasy towering burger with two patties and two slices of cheese.
The holy burger at Holy Cow.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This Lower East Side halal burger counter has two other branches in Long Island, but this one is owned by Kaveh Tabatabaie. The signature holy burger has two thin, intensely seared patties and a lavish quantity of American cheese — so if you like your burgers cheesy, this is your place. It’s also a great place to grab a milkshake, and the menu also offers a chopped cheese in a hamburger bun utilizing the same seared patty.

A greasy towering burger with two patties and two slices of cheese.
The holy burger at Holy Cow.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Blue Collar

A bun with burger, yellow cheese, dark green lettuce sticking out in a frill, and red tomato.
A cheeseburger from Blue Collar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

When the first Blue Collar opened in Williamsburg a decade ago by Gavin Compton and Jeff Slagg, it was identified as a California burger in the In-N-Out vein, But in retrospect, the burger is more like Shake Shack’s, with its green leaf lettuce and bright red tomato, the thinness of the patty with paradoxically big flavor, and general laudable greasiness — though not as intentionally greasy as 7th Street Burger’s.

A bun with burger, yellow cheese, dark green lettuce sticking out in a frill, and red tomato.
A cheeseburger from Blue Collar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Apocalypse Burger

A hand clutches a single smash burger wrapped in checkered black and white parchment paper.
The “Plain Jane” from Apocalypse Burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Apocalypse Burger landed in the Brooklyn last year by way of Indiana, where chef Martha Hoover (of James Beard acclaim) started cooking up smashed patties during the pandemic. Her burgers can be ordered for delivery from Hungry House, a ghost kitchen in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but stop by in person for a hotter, fresher burger. Stick to the simple Plain Jane burger, a melty, meaty creation that could probably benefit from more caramelization on the grill but will no doubt satisfy a smash burger craving.

A hand clutches a single smash burger wrapped in checkered black and white parchment paper.
The “Plain Jane” from Apocalypse Burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

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