With celebrating Chanukah and the drive to Christmas and New Year’s, it’s easy to overlook yet another end-of-December holiday. But mark your calendars and save the date: December 21 is National Hamburger Day. (And, yes, the photos below do, in some cases, feature cheeseburgers. But a good cheeseburger is really just a good burger plus cheese.) Honor the day by heading to one of the city’s best restaurants for hamburgers, and enjoy. By Jessica Allen.
You really can’t beat Bareburger for variety. Since its first restaurant opened in Astoria, Bareburger has expanded across the boroughs, bringing its awesome burger options to a neighborhood near you. Among the choices are turkey, black bean, fried or grilled chicken, mushroom, bison, elk, lamb, wild boar, ostrich, quinoa, and, of course, beef. Regardless of what type of protein you order, it will be free-range, organic, and all-natural, good for the environment, and good for you.
Short for “BurgerFication of the Nation,” BurgerFi is based in Florida, and opened its first NYC location just a few years ago. Its Angus burgers come from humanely raised, grass-fed animals, and are cooked juicily to order. Emphasis on the juicy. Order the hand-cut fries and a concrete, and you’ve got yourself quite the meal. Bonus? BurgerFi maintains as low a carbon footprint as possible, with strict recycling programs, chairs made from recycled Coke bottles, and energy-efficient electronics.
Practically every “best burger in the city” list includes Corner Bistro, partly because any restaurant that’s been around for 50-odd years must be doing something right. And this West Village institution does a number of things right, including its specialty: a half-pound burger that blends top round, New England sirloin, and chuck. It comes with tomato, lettuce, onion, American cheese (which National Hamburger Day purists can skip, obviously), and . . . wait for it . . . deep-fried bacon. Bacon! Deep-fried! Order a (relatively) cheap beer, and be sure to sit at the bar.
The priciest place on this list is also the classiest. Named for a brook that once flowed across Washington Square Park and into the West Village, Minetta Tavern seeks to recreate the eponymous restaurant that served Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and other famous folks. restaurateur Keith McNally recaptures some of that magic in this buzzy bistro. The menu describes the Black Label burger as a “selection of prime dry-aged beef cuts with caramelized onions,” which leaves out its transcendent bite and extraordinary mouthfeel.
The crazy thing about Shake Shack is the line. That is, no matter how many locations restaurateur Danny Meyer opens around the city (or even the world), people still can’t seem to get enough. Calling itself a “modern day ‘roadside’ burger stand,” the restaurant offers good, simple fare, from crinkle-cut fries to hot dogs to custards to burgers. Oh, the burgers, made from a proprietary blend of freshly ground, 100% all-natural Angus beef. Have a bite or two, and you’ll see right away why there’s nearly always a line.