It's been three years since we last wolfed our way through mountains of meat in search of the best burgers in town, and that list, published in October of 2015, obviously contained many NYC classics. Thankfully, most (though not all!) of those spots are still slinging their stuff, and are still excellent, and should be visited often. But since our city is always and forever about change, plenty of new places have opened since then, so rather than rehash old favorites, here's a definitive look at the best NEW(ish) burgers currently being served in NYC restaurants.
Two overall notes from weeks of research in the field: the double patty is hot, and we need more burger love in the under-$10 range.
Kind of Blue, $17 with salad and chips. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Madcap Cafe: Heather Fuller recently expanded the burger offerings at her delightful Carroll Gardens neighborhood spot. While he Kind of Blue (pictured), with blue cheese and slab bacon, is knee-bucklingly fantastic, it's the original CGBG that still showcases what this chef and owner does best. Bucking all the (Instagram-friendly) burger trends, Fuller's CGBG is a single fat patty, bleeding juice, minimal cheese, a bit of browned onion, all served between two thick slabs of greasy, buttery toast. The beef, from nearby Paisanos and simply seasoned with salt and black pepper, is given ample room to be the star, and the whole thing is like a dream come true.
Located at 387 Court Street near 1st Place (929-337-6117; madcapcafebk.com)
Cervo's/Hart's: Lamb Burger with Anchovies, $21 at Cervo's, $19 at Hart's. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Cervo's/Hart's: Cozy, convivial sister restaurants Cervo's on the LES, and Hart's in Bed-Stuy, only share a few dishes on their overall excellent, often-changing menus, but one of them is the best reason to make a reservation right now, this gorgeous, gamy Grass-Fed Lamb Burger with three optional marinated anchovies draped on top (recommended!). Also adding to the juiciness and deep funk is a fennel-based slaw. It all works together beautifully—lamb already is the "fishiest" of meats—and is one of my most frequent burger cravings.
Emmy Squared: Le Big Matt, $25 with waffle fries. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Emmy Squared: The Emily/Emmy empire do many things extremely well, which is why all of their restaurants are always packed and lively and why I can't wait for their East Village grilled pizza spot, Violet, to open. Burger-wise, though many champion the Emmy Burger (confusingly offered only at the two Emilys) as the best in town, it's the double-patty, sloppy-as-hell Le Big Matt, which you can get at either Emmy Squared, that's the move for me. Must be the spicy Sammy Sauce. Served with a pile of lovely waffle fries for an extremely satisfying meal.
Located at 364 Grand Street in Williamsburg and 83 First Avenue in the East Village (emmysquared.com)
MeMe's Diner: Patty Melt, $17 with Crispy Potatoes. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
MeMe's Diner: The self-described "very, very gay" restaurant has been a huge hit in Prospect Heights, and with good reason: not only does the unabashedly Queer vibe feel fresh and invigorating, but the comfort food (with a twist!) is consistently terrific. My favorite thing on the menu, though, is probably this enormously pleasurable Patty Melt, the juicy meat covered in caramelized onion, gooey American, and zesty comeback sauce. Craggy chunks of Crispy Potatoes make a perfect accompaniment.
Located at 657 Washington Avenue between Bergen and St. Marks (718-636-2900; memesdiner.com)
Superiority Burger: Superiority Burger, $6. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Superiority Burger: What's maybe the most amazing thing about Brooks Headley's all-around amazing East Village vegetarian (and sometimes "accidentally vegan") restaurant? Even as Headley and his team are busy experimenting and creating new dishes almost every day (always get the gelato/sorbet combo, by the way, no matter how crazy the flavors sound), they still throw all their love and skill into the menu mainstays. Like, of course, the namesake Superiority Burger. I've eaten this mashed-beans-and-grains sandwich many times over the past few years, and the one I had last week was just as exciting as the one I waited on line for on Christmas day in 2014. Every time I go here I wish I could go here more often.
Located at 430 East Ninth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A (212-256-1192; superiorityburger.com)
Harold's: Double Cheeseburger, $25 with fries and slaw. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Harold's: He recently dropped the whole "Meat + Three" concept from his eponymous restaurant in Hudson Square, and added a bunch of salads and grains and stuff to the once Southern-comfort-heavy menu, but chef Harold Moore did keep around this glorious meaty mess of a Double Cheeseburger, and thank god for that. Harold's always feels less forced than most hotel restaurants, with food that's much better than it probably needs to be, and is an excellent choice the next time you're strolling along near lower Renwick Street.
Located at 2 Renwick Street just north of Canal (212-390-8484; haroldsmeatandthree.com)
Oxomoco: Hamburgesa Pombazo, $18. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Oxomoco: This pretty Greenpoint Mexican restaurant from the Speedy Romeo crew has been packed since the day it opened this past summer, and justifiably so. But if your schedule allows you to swing by during the week for lunch, it's not only a much more relaxed (and sun-drenched!) scene, it's also the only time you can order this beautiful, wood-fired monster of a sandwich, the Hamburguesa Pambazo. That's a full half-pound patty there, cooked medium rare exactly as requested, loaded with smoked onions, sticky salsa macha, and gooey queso asado, all served on the seediest bun in town. You will need a nap.
Located at 128 Greenpoint Avenue between Manhattan and Franklin (646-688-4180; oxomoconyc.com)
Mekelberg's: Nana's Meatloaf, $15. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Mekelburg's: Not really a burger but close enough for an excuse to shout out the superb sandwiches that have been coming out of Daniel and Alicia Mekelburg's kitchen for a few years now, this beautiful Nana's Meatloaf creation does a top-notch job of refreshing a tired comfort-food trope. The ground beef is dense and moist, the red gravy bright and tangy, the ricotta sweet and creamy. And at the new Mekelburg's Domino in Williamsburg they did a fine job of recreating the feel of their Clinton Hill original, making you forget, while you're sitting there wolfing this baby down, that you're in the lobby of a gigantic rich-people residential development.
Located at 293 Grand Avenue and 319 Kent Avenue (mekelburgs.com)
Rip's Malt Shop: Cheeseburger, $10 with pickles and chips. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Rip's Malt Shop: Diner classics like Tuna Melts, Chili Cheese Dogs, and Ice Cream Sundaes are all 100% vegan and wonderfully satisfying at this casual counter-service joint near the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Take this excellent Cheeseburger, for example, with a thick, nicely-textured patty from Beyond Meat and so many fresh and lively toppings that, even if you're usually a meat-eater, you quickly forget that this beast is entirely plant-based. Comes with chips and pickle spears. I love this place.
Located at 10 Clermont Avenue just south of Flushing (347-689-9009; ripsmaltshop.com)
Suprema Burger: The Suprema Burger, $19. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Suprema Provisions: One of those grocery/deli/bar/restaurant hybrids that were all the rage a few years back, Suprema has done well for itself on this busy, sharp-angled West Village corner. The menu here is appealing throughout—you can get drinking snacks or a full meal—but the Suprema Burger is the true star of the show. Just look at this thing! The meat is a dense short rib and brisket blend that more than holds its own even underneath the barrage of Iberica jamon jam, aged cheddar sauce, black garlic sauce, and dried cherry tomatoes.
Located at 305 Bleecker Street at Seventh Avenue South (646-964-4994; supremanyc.com)
Torst: Dry Aged Burger, $16. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Torst: Greenpoint's Torst has always been a beer-lovers heaven (21 different taps! 250 different bottles!), but they also did a superb job last year of expanding their food menu, and even more recently they added this stellar Dry Aged Burger to the mix. And don't be deterred by the chef-y list of toppings, which includes poblano cream, smoked tomato jam, pickled onion, and especially those sprouts. Like everything else I've ever eaten here, the kitchen totally pulls it off.
Located at 615 Manhattan Avenue between Nassau and Driggs (718-389-6034; torstnyc.com)
Peri Peri Grill House: Eight-ounce Beef Burger, $10.99. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Peri Peri Grill House:
Admittedly I haven't been to this terrific little Halal spot in Bed-Stuy since the summer, but the chili-tinged memories have definitely lingered. The lamb chops, the chicken, and the fries, jacked up with a generous dose of the namesake, African/Portuguese/Pakistan spice, are all much better than the generic facade might suggest. And the burger is stupendous, cooked exactly as medium rare as I like it, and alive with flavor. I ordered an eight-ounce double, but a single would have done the job just fine.
Located at 235 Malcom X Boulevard between Halsey and Hancock Streets (917-966-8614)
Long Island Bar: The L.I. Burger, $18, with fries. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Long Island Bar: First opened in 1951, then lovingly restored a few years ago after sitting empty for a bit, this Cobble Hill landmark is not only a much-loved neighborhood spot for sipping cocktails, wine, and beer, it also serves good food. This double-stacked L.I. Burger, for instance, is perfect, all meaty and thick and messy with cheese and "fancy sauce." Comes with a pile of some of NYC's best fries too. Now all they need to do is get that insulting “Ladies’ Burger” off the menu (only one patty; you know how dainty ladies are) because what the hell is that about.
Located at 110 Atlantic Avenue at the corner of Henry Street (718-625-8908; thelongislandbar.com)
Miznon: Folder CheeseBurger, $11.50. (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Miznon: The first US outpost of the international pita-sandwich chain (the other branches are in Tel Aviv, Melbourne, Paris, and Vienna), Miznon Chelsea Market was slammed when it first opened last January, but these days it's a much less stressful dining situation. Heck you can even make reservations now, with waiter service at the counter! The sandwich to beat, however, remains the Folded Cheeseburger, with its weirdly-shaped patty encased in chewy grilled cheddar, the intensity of the core balanced out by globs of sour cream, lots of pickles, and those excellent fluffy pitas.
Located toward the western end of Chelsea Market, at 435 West 15th Street (646-490-5871; miznonnyc.com)