If you're salivating over the thoughts of juicy, perfectly grilled burgers this Memorial Day weekend, you may want to let someone else make it for you -- and we've got a couple options in mind.
Thrillist has released its list of the 100 best burgers in America, and 13 in the tri-state area make the cut. Here they are in descending order (spoiler alert: we're home to the second best burger in the country, according to Thrillist's national burger critic Kevin Alexander, who spent the last year eating).
No. 79: Red Hook Lobster Pound, 284 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY -- You may not think a place known for lobster rolls would also have superior hamburgers, but you'd be wrong. According to Alexander, the Hook Burger at this joint draws quite a crowd.
No. 77: JG Melon, 89 MacDouglas Street, New York, NY -- Alexander says this is the ultimate classic burger, served in an ambiance rife with watermelon pictures and statues. Sounds special.
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No. 74: Ted's Restaurant, 1046 Broad Street, Meriden, CT -- Ted's has been serving "award-winning steamed cheeseburgers" for more than 50 years, the restaurant's website says. It's called "The Everything," and it comes with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, salt and pepper, ketchup, mustard and mayo. And according to Alexander, there's a reason the shop's been around so long.
“On its face, a steamed cheeseburger kind of seems like a bad idea. You can't get a sear, you cook all the meat the same temperature, it sounds weird when you say it, etc. But sitting on a barstool at the counter of this tiny joint in a little pocket of central Connecticut and biting into the glory of Ted's cheeseburger made me a true believer,” the review says.
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No. 69: Rose's, 295 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, NY -- If you're going to hit up this neighborhood bar, try the hamburger with gruyere. Alexander bills it quite simply as "the best backyard burger you could never make."
No. 62: Bar Sardine, 183 W. 10th Street, New York, NY -- It's called the Fedora Burger -- and you should try it. It has crispy potato strings. Need we say more?
No. 60: Ruby's Cafe, 219 Mulberry Street, New York, NY -- Bronte, Blueys, Bells, Whaleys, Coogee and Bondi. Yep, those are the names of some of the burgers at this Australian-influenced SoHo (there's also a location in Murray Hill) restaurant. No doubt delicious, Alexander says the joint's classic cheeseburger is the best of them all. It comes with premium ground beef, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and "special sauce." Intriguing.
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No. 50: Wilma Jean, 345 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY -- This restaurant's homepage greets web visitors with a simple message: Fried Chicken. Cold Beer. Seven Days a Week. But it's got way more than that. Alexander recommends the single burger with American cheese, and it's just as simple as the website. As Alexander says in his review, "It really needs nothing else."
No. 41: The Happiest Hour, 121 W. 10th Street, New York, NY -- This restaurant is the child of Acme's Jon Neidich and veteran New York bartender Jim Kearns (formerly of the NoMad Hotel and Pegu Club). And at The Happiest Hour, you want to try The Happiest Burger, Alexander says. Its double patties are accessorized with confit onions, pickles and, yes, a special sauce.
"I now fully understand why everyone sprints to this bar at 5pm on the dot," Alexander writes.
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No. 39: Emmy Squared, 919 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, NY -- The Le Big Matt at this restaurant is already one of Instagram's most famous burgers, Alexander says, and adds that it's worth the hype. The spicy aioli makes it unique.
No. 34: Boilermaker, 13 First Avenue, New York, NY -- Thrillist's Alexander is a fan of the simplicity of this one basic single burger with American cheese. "They don't make you do a Boilermaker when you walk into this bar, but they should make you eat the damn burger, which features secret and special spices that elevate it above most other bar burgers anywhere," his review says.
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No. 25: Grindhaus, 275 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY -- Try the Haus Burger, which comes with house-made pickles, American cheese and its own special sauce. Alexander says all of that "teamed up to attack my taste buds Captain Planet-style, melding together in beefy, salty, (porky, maybe?), creamy glory with just enough acid to keep balance."
No. 12: The Brindle Room, 277 E. 10th Street, New York, NY -- The East Village gastropub is known for serving American comfort food in shareable small plates, but you probably want to keep the Sebastian's Steakhouse Burger all to yourself. Caramelized onions are a perfect combination of crunch and rich flavor, the bun doesn't get soggy and the patty itself has some exciting "peppery elements," Alexander says.
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No. 2: Raoul's, 180 Prince Street, New York, NY -- Remember, we're talking about the best 100 burgers in the nation, here. According to Alexander, Raoul's Burger au Poivre, with St. Andre and pommes frites, is second only to "Nick's Cheeseburger With Grilled Onions" at Stanich's in Portland, Oregon.
Alexander described his experience at Raoul's as nearly religious.
Straight from his review: "Raoul's makes the best non-diner burger in America. The brisket-heavy patty is seared like a steak, giving it a thick crust dotted with peppercorns and salt. If it'd then just added the rich triple-cream Saint-André and called it a day, this burger might be up with the rest of the hyper-fancy custom LaFrieda patties. But Raoul's recognizes balance perhaps better than 99% of the country, and so it adds thinly sliced red onions, cornichons, and some peppery greens to give it acid, bite, and some extra peppery elements. The challah bun is squishy and chewy and does not fold in the face of intense moisture. And the cream-and-cognac au poivre sauce served on the side makes for one of the all-time best dipping sauces, if you truly want to go for it."