NYC has its fair share of establishment burgers, but we’re always on the lookout for new ones that might someday join the hall of fame. The burgers on this list have helped us cope with the fact that every day in 2020 has been worse than the one when U2 automatically uploaded their album onto every iPhone 6. From a banh mi burger accessorized with pickled carrots and daikon, to a classic cheeseburger served on an aircraft carrier, we’ve put our six new favorites on this guide.
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Saigon Social’s portly burger will likely convince you to abandon your allegiance to smash patties. This new Vietnamese restaurant on the LES tops its burger with accessories typically found on banh mis, like pickled carrots and daikon, pate, a handful of cilantro, and a couple of jalapeno slices. Our favorite thing about it is that you can actually taste the quality of the meat, which is made with a combination of short rib, ribeye, and dry aged rib eye. In case the burger isn’t enough to inspire you to come here, they also make one of our favorite fried chicken sandwiches in the city.
The burger at Baylander doesn’t wow at first glance. But in its defense, the single patty with LTO and pickles on a Martin’s potato bun has a lot to compete with. The restaurant itself is aboard a converted aircraft carrier at the West Harlem Piers, with views of the entire westside of Manhattan, the Hudson River and GW Bridge, and depending on the time of day, sunset views over Jersey. But it will get your attention once you take a bite. The peppery patty is perfectly charred, and it’s topped with a mayo-based sauce that’s cut by the crunchy pickles and juicy tomatoes. Adding crinkle-cut fries with Cajun seasoning and spicy mayo is optional, but highly recommended.
Unlike every other place on this guide, L’Artusi has been open for years. But this classic West Village Italian spot’s burger is brand new, and delicious enough to warrant a trip here for outdoor dining or even takeout or delivery, when they serve it in separate components for optimal freshness. To say this thick, peppery burger is covered in taleggio is an understatement. The melted cheese acts somewhat like a funky fondue sauce - which works well with the spicy, pickled chili aioli and firm but juicy heirloom tomato. If you’re a fan of messy burgers, eat this and you’ll start compulsively doodling sketches of this burger on napkins, stray receipts, and maybe even your apartment wall.
If you don’t eat meat, we’re surprised you clicked into this guide. The good news is that there’s an exciting new plant-based burger spot on St. Marks. The Classic Burger at Pop’s Eat Rite has the grease factor of an Americana fast food fever dream. So much so that it will practically sing “You’re The One That I Want” at you before you eat it. This burger comes with an Impossible patty draped in thick-cut, sour pickles, caramelized onions, a dash of sweet ketchup, and vegan American cheese that’s both salty and creamy.
This LES soul food spot opened at the end of summer 2020, and their burger tastes like a fast food burger and the Emmy Burger spent a weekend away together. It has two smash patties (you can also get the single version, but we’d suggest going big or going home, if possible), as well as caramelized onion jam, white American cheese, and secret sauce between each layer of burger and bun.
The backyard burger at Strangeways tastes like something someone’s Uncle Doug would grill on a Sunday afternoon. It’s nothing too fancy and that’s just how we like it. The dry-aged patty comes covered in a cascading layer of sharp cheddar cheese that pairs well with its nicely charred edges. With just lettuce, onion, and special sauce, this effortless burger will bring you back to the basics in the best way possible. And while you might find something like it elsewhere in NYC, you won’t find a better garden patio to eat it on. Walking into this outdoor-only Williamsburg restaurant is like entering a nursery lined with string lights and discovering a secret cafe inside.