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Burger Mania in the Lower East Side - NYC

Burger Mania

No matter how hard you may try; you simply cannot resist a piping hot, juicy hamburger.

From the moment that this succulent mound of beef is set before you, in all its tempting glory, your eyes widen and your mouth starts to water. Yes, the aroma of a perfectly grilled burger is nothing less than intoxicating. As a staple of American dining, the good old-fashioned hamburger has been around for well over a century, yet we never seem to get tired of it. For generations, the classic hamburger has captured the imagination and taste buds of hungry Americans from sea to shining sea. It doesn't matter whether you opt for a basic, no-frills diner burger, a culinary masterpiece at a Michelin-starred restaurant or you simply want to kick things up a notch in your apartment kitchen by cooking up a Wagyu patty or one crafted out of a blend from master butcher Pat LA Frieda, you just can't go wrong. And, please, let's not get started on the insane array of toppings that are now available to dress up that beautiful burger.

Like pizza, just about every neighborhood in the city boasts that THEY are home to the BEST burger in town. That particular claim will always be up for debate. But, as long as it tastes good, why worry? Just sit back, chomp away and enjoy.

One thing is for sure, though; the Lower East Side has some of the most innovative and delicious hamburgers that you'll find anywhere on Manhattan Island. So, let us take a quick tour of both fine-dining establishments and fast casual spots that are bringing the revered burger to new and enthralling culinary heights.

Paul's Da Burger Joint - LES

This uber-popular establishment celebrates both the hamburger and a 1950s 1950s-style eatery. Both things kind of go together, so, why not? Founded in 1989 by none other than its namesake Paul, this much-loved spot has always been a family business. Most of the long-time customers have their favorite table or stool at the counter where they enjoy some friendly banter with the cooks and waitstaff, many of whom they have known for years. But, don't worry; you will feel quite at home, too. By the way; it doesn't get any more vintage than this: all of the tables have checkered red and white coverings that look straight out of the movie "Grease". Like in the halcyon days of Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, the portions here are HUGE and they serve classic egg creams, root beer floats, ice cream sodas and thick, creamy milkshakes.

But, we know that you're here for the burgers and they do NOT disappoint. The selection is tremendous. However, two standouts would be the Eastsider Burger, which is a bacon cheeseburger with ham, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions and the Saint Marks Specialty of the House. This thick patty is topped with American cheese, 'shrooms and fried onions that are oh-so-perfectly crispy.

Other delectable half-pound burger options include the Mexican Burger, topped with pepper jack cheese and avocado, the El Paso, with jalapenos and cheddar cheese, the rather pungent but good Blue Cheese Hamburger and the English Burger that is sandwiched between a toasted Thomas' English Muffin. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. If you're in the mood for Italian, then try the Pizza Burger. It's crowned with a ton of red sauce and melted mozzarella cheese.

Forget the stress of the modern-day world. Do yourself a favor and take a trip to the past at Paul's Da Burger Joint. It just might improve your day. The prices aren't bad, either.

Location and Hours:

131 Second Avenue
New York N.Y. 10003
(212) 529-3033

Hours :

Monday through Sunday 11 AM to 11 PM

Milk Burger - LES

At Milk Burger, customers often ask the personable owner Erik Mayor, " What's the secret to making a great, not just a good, burger? " The answer is deceptively simple, according to Erik. It's all about consistency and staying true to the same high-quality recipe every time you place a burger on that grill. The hamburgers that you devour here are made by hand when the restaurant opens. They use ONLY 100% certified Black Angus beef sourced from local farms in upstate New York as well as in Pennsylvania. When Erik first opened Milk Burger, the goal was to craft and serve the ultimate fresh burger. Today, the team is just as dedicated to maintaining those standards as they were back then.

burgermania 2

The signature Milk Burger is an enticing blend of premium beef with lettuce, tomato, your choice of cheese and Erik's killer sauce. Trust us, this sauce is SO good; it will make you forget all about that Big Mac good as that is! A must-try here is the El Barrio Burger which consists of a Black Angus patty, an over-easy egg, bacon, American cheese, lettuce and tomato. When the egg yolk runs into the beef, it is like a taste explosion in your mouth. Trust us, there's nothing like it. Want to get MORE than a little spicy? Well, the Jalapeno Burger has got your name on it. Your patty is crowned with gooey melted Jack cheese and made from scratch jalapeno sauce. You can also double your pleasure with the Oki burger. It has TWO patties. Should you be feeling a touch adventurous, then you just might want to sample the BX Burger which features goat meat as the main ingredient.

NOT burger sandwiches include an addicting fried tilapia offering served with house-made pico de gallo, lettuce, tomato and garlic mayo on a toasted sesame seed bun. The grilled chicken sandwich ain't bad at all, topped up with mixed greens and a dollop of mayo.

You can wash it all down with a variety of light and refreshing drinks. The fresh lemonade blended with mint leaves is outrageous as is the strawberry lemonade which contains pieces of strawberries. You may also order a thirst-quenching Virgin Pina Colada or an Arnold Palmer, which is half lemonade and half iced tea. The good news is that they get the blend of the two beverages just right!

Location and Hours:

321 East Houston Street
New York N.Y. 10002
(212) 360-1988

Hours :

Monday Closed
Tuesday - Thursday 12 PM to 9:45 PM
Friday & Saturday 12 PM to 10:45 PM
Sunday 12 PM to 9:45 PM

Royale Bar - LES

Long regarded as a hidden gem, absolutely revered by residents as an escape from the craziness of the big city, the Royale Bar is now attracting both burger and craft beer enthusiasts from all over town. Owners Dave and Alexis Weakley together with Josh Berman have created an environment that goes way, way beyond the standard "welcoming " cliches that describe most watering holes. This trio cares about their customers, making sure that everyone who comes to the Royale is as comfortable as can be.

Dave, Alexis and Josh first met years ago, while tending bar, so they know what they're doing....and then some. The service is impeccable, the drinks are up to snuff and the food keeps you coming back for more. And, did we mention that the Royale has one of the most beautiful back gardens going? You feel as though you are stepping into another, more peaceful and serene world when you enter the patio. It is so cute, with picnic tables, potted plants and seductive lighting. When you are planning a night out with the one you love, look no further than the Royale. But, the place also works for a family meal or the ideal spot to reconnect with friends you haven't seen in a while.

In addition to those wonderful craft brews we mentioned earlier, the Royale Bar features an extensive cocktail menu. The Stuytown Boogie is made with Dobel Diamante Tequila, Aperol,
lemon juice, and agave syrup, and garnished with a hibiscus salt rim and a dried orange slice. Another bucket list drink is the East Village Tiki Punch, which is a blend of Kraken spiced rum, Don Q coconut rum, pineapple juice, fruit punch and a garnish of fresh fruit. This elixir is a winner. At Brunch, the bar offers a delectable Red Sangria that contains a ton of fruit including apple slices, oranges, strawberries and blueberries. Also on offer is a classic mimosa with fresh squeezed OJ and champagne.

Speaking of brunch time, the Royale has one heck of a Breakfast burger. Toppings include a fried egg, Canadian bacon, spicy jam, caramelized onions, and if all that wasn't enough, tomato relish. For lunch or dinner, try the Bacon Royale. This all-beef patty comes with red onions, pickle, lettuce, tomato and your choice of American, cheddar, Maytag Blue, or Gruyere cheese. The Marcellus Wallace burger has an unusual topping blend of crispy onions, a mound of arugula, blue cheese, AND Gruyere plus a sprinkling of Truffle salt. Add-ons for your burger range from avocado and a grilled Portobello mushroom to beef chili.

Royale Bar is a must-visit destination for those among us who relish life's three essentials: good burgers, good drinks and good conversation. With the owners building a real feeling of community, make The Royale YOUR go-to place when the stress from your job and everything else gets to be a little too much.

Location and Hours:

157 Avenue C (between 9th and 10th street)
New York N.Y. 10009
(212) 254-6600

Hours :

Sunday - Wednesday 12 PM to 12 AM
Thursday 12 PM to 1 AM
Friday and Saturday 12 PM to 4 AM

Whitman's - LES

Established in 2010, this cute and cozy restaurant was founded by a group of friends who wanted to provide the neighborhood with a place where they could gather to enjoy comfort food, such as burgers, and the company of loved ones. But, even if you are dining alone, the staff at Whitman's will make you feel as though you're part of the family. The indoor dining space is charming and well-appointed and there's also a small outdoor cafe-style patio out front.

Whitman's is famous for their "take" on the Minneapolis food phenom the Juicy Lucy. This burger features two thin beef short rib blend patties pinched together encasing a scoop of pimento cheese. When you bite into this scrumptious burger a molten core of cheese oozes out. better get those napkins ready. The Bluicy is a variation of Juicy Lucy. However, the main event is not Pimento cheese but crumbles of blue cheese that are stuffed into the burger blend.

There are a ton of options here for burger lovers. The Green Chili offering is topped with green chili relish, pickled red onions, provolone cheese avocado and arugula. The Hound lives up to its name. This patty is infused with Applewood-smoked bacon and is topped with greens smoked gruyere cheese and potato crisps. Another offering has a distinct Greek accent; the Lamb Burger. This one is crowned with feta cheese, red onion shavings, arugula and mayonnaise. The Mangold's short rib blend patty comes with oodles of melted cheddar, bibb lettuce, red onions and a gotta-have-more-horseradish cream.

Should you want to take a break from the beef on one of your visits to Whitman's, ( trust us you'll be back again and again ), look into their divine Veggie burger. This carefully blended patty of zucchini, carrots, green peas, and red bell peppers topped with arugula and a tomato slice is extremely tasty. Every great hamburger has to be accompanied by an equally fantastic side. They've got plenty to choose from here. Choices include hand-cut, always fresh, never-frozen fries, sweet potato fries, tater tots, onion rings, organic potato chips, sauteed corn or kale.

The majority of their burgers are served on a fluffy potato bun. However, for a small additional charge, bun alternatives range from gluten-free to brioche or a pretzel bun.

Location and Hours:

406 East 9th Street
New York N.Y. 10009
(917) 261-2858


Monday & Tuesday 5 PM to 9:30 PM
Wednesday & Thursday 5 PM to 10 PM
Friday 2 PM to 10:30 PM
Saturday 12 PM to 10:30 PM
Sunday 12 PM to 9 PM

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Wednesday, 22 May 2024