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J.G. Melon

Perfect For: Dining Solo Quick Eats Serious Take-Out Operation

J.G. Melon

PHOTOS: Chris Stang

There was a time when this was the only restaurant anywhere near the Upper East side that we would make a trip for. J.G. Melon's is one of the better burgers in New York City, and it had it's 30th anniversary long before Shake Shack and Five Guys started opening up locations around town like Duane Reade. Nowadays there are a few more culinary bright spots in the area, but it seemed necessary that we give J.G. Melon's it's due respect.

If you haven't been, there are a few things you should know: it will inevitably be crowded, you need to drink beers by the bottle (not from the tap), and the service will not be friendly. But before you go running to Yelp to tell all your "friends" about how mean they were to you, consider this -it's a New York institution that's been serving burgers since TGI Friday's was nothing more than a swinging singles bar down the street. Respect your elders and eat.

Food Rundown


A fantastic, flavorful burger cooked on a flattop and served on a lightly toasted and soft bun. This isn't a down and dirty burger you'll wrestle with, but rather a simple classic that fits nicely in your hand. Don't be afraid to mess around with grilled onions - they're tasty - and we definitely recommend adding bacon.


J.G. Melon also happens to serve a surprisingly great chili. Take that Wendy’s.

Cottage Fries

Awesome little fries the size of a quarter and ribbed for your pleasure. Some will be crispy, and some will not, which is perfect.

Bloody Mary

The bloody marys here are excellent, but if you really have some balls, order a Bloody Bull, which is this but with beef broth mixed in.


It’s important to know that draught beers here are small, often flat, and kind of warm. Maybe I’ve been to Corner Bistro too much, but there’s something appealing to me about drinking nasty beer from the tap before I eat a burger. Nonetheless, order by the bottle to be safe.

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