There are jillions of Long Island restaurants claiming to serve terrific hamburgers, but which are, truly? We reached out to a self-described burger fanatic who claims to have developed a fail-safe method for finding the best patties on a bun.His secret: "I look for places with ‘burger’ in the name." Genius, we thought, but is it really true? A preliminary investigation reveals that it is. Herewith, a trio of eateries for whom burgers are the name of the game.
No Good Burger Joint (930 Atlantic Ave., Baldwin): The cozy, raucous dining room of this four-year-old establishment might make this the happiest burger restaurant around, thanks to its friendly crowd, stellar service, small but well-chosen selection of beers on tap, dozen signature sandwiches, and thousands of custom burger combinations. Of note, NGBJ’s creative fare — in which half-pound patties come dressed with, say, sauteed onions, bacon and cheese ($16.50); mac ’n cheese and Colby-Jack ($17.50); or PB&J and bacon ($16.50, all served with fries) — are also available in slider form (3 for $11.95). Whatever your passion, expect patties that are juicy and tender inside but seared to a serious crunch and char. More info: 516-442-5434, nogoodburgerjointny.com
Boxcar Burgers (90 Railroad Ave, Ronkonkoma): As the name implies, this place opened in 2020 just a stone’s throw from the Ronkonkoma train station, but also just a few weeks before the pandemic, robbing it of opening buzz and commuter traffic. Which is too bad, because Boxcar’s thin-patty burgers on pillowy Martin’s potato rolls, which arrive wrapped in balls of foil, have a homestyle quality guaranteed to conjure long-ago memories of griddles past. They start at just $3.75 for a single patty dressed with your choice of toppings, although no self-respecting burger lover should miss the $6.75 double cheeseburger, or specialty offerings like the Switchmaster, a double burger with bacon served on a bun fashioned out of grilled cheese sandwiches ($12). The hand-cut fries, available in two sizes, are extra but worth it ($2-$2.95), and the bacon cheese tots ($6.50) are even more decadent than they sound. More info: 631-615-2717, boxbarburgersli.com
Black Label Burgers (683 Old Country Rd., Westbury): All burger places take their beef seriously, and none more so than this eatery, whose USDA Prime Angus hails from a single ranch in Washington state. Five specialty burgers, medium-size, range from $7.70 for basic to $9.69 for a bacon-blue cheese version on an English muffin. For $1.99 more you can upgrade any to a dry-aged beef patty, which offers a softer texture and bolder flavor. The menu also includes chicken, turkey and veggie burgers, shakes and salads, a selection of Wagyu beef hot dogs ($5.87-$6.97), and fries served five different ways —everything from plain ($3.35) to slathered in dark chocolate and marshmallow sauce ($4.75). More info: 516-333-6059, blacklabelburgersny.com