We searched for the best burger in New York City

  • INSIDER’s Herrine Ro and Emily Christian are on a mission to find the best burger in New York City.
  • The two visit J.G. Melon, Emily, Peter Luger, and The Happiest Hour.
  • Each restaurant received accolades on their burger.
  • Herrine and Emily try out each burger and at the end, share their favourite burger.

Following is the transcript of the video:

Emily: Hello.

Herrine: Hi, guys. I’m Herrine.

Emily: Ope, I’m Emily.

Emily: Hello!

Herrine: Hi, guys!

Herrine: I’m Herrine.

Emily: I’m Emily.

Herrine: And today we are gonna start our venture out into the world to try and find the best burger in New York City!

Emily: The best burger in New York.

Herrine: So we have pooled four places just through research and Instagram alike, and each burger is pretty unique. Each has its own claim to fame, and we’re super excited ’cause we’re burger lovers.

Emily: We love to eat burgers, and I can’t wait to eat every single one of the best burgers in New York.

Emily: Our first stop: J.G. Melon.

Customer: J.G. Melon is one of the best places in the city for burgers because you know what you’re gonna get every single time. It’s the best classic burger.

Customer: That is so good.

Scott: J.G. Melon is one of the best burgers in the city. We started in 1972 on the Upper East Side. It was kind of almost a hit from the beginning. So you’re getting a great burger made with great meat. You’re also getting a really cool, kinda fun vibe when you come to J.G. Melon. So if you’re a first-timer to J.G. Melon, I suggest getting just a classic cheeseburger. It comes with onions and pickles. I wouldn’t suggest bacon on your first time. It kinda distracts.

Emily: I have heard of this place actually, and I’ve been wanting to come here a long time, but Herrine’s really the burger expert, and I don’t get out as much as she does, so. Shake it? Oh, god!

Emily: I don’t think I’ve ever had something that’s so simple yet so rich all at the same time. I might eat the whole thing, Herrine.

Herrine: So, I’ve been to J.G. Melon before, and the last time I was here, I ordered the classic version that Emily had. So this time around, I’m gonna try the bacon burger with all the fixings.

Herrine: You want me to smash it? OK. I still don’t think it’s gonna fit! How’d I do?

Emily: Good.

Herrine: It’s the type of burger that you would want to come back to because it is so familiar and it tastes just like home. If I had to come back and reorder this, I think I’ll stick to the cheeseburger though. I think the bacon was a little overwhelming.

Herrine: Our second stop: Emily.

Matthew: Emily restaurant is a pizza restaurant in Brooklyn, and we are known for our burger. The burger was created one day when I was bored of eating pizza and I wanted a different special on the menu.

Customer: I love the burger. It is the chocolate cake of burgers.

Customer: This is hands down not just the best burger in New York City. This is crème de la crème.

Customer: I’d say best burger in the world.

Customer: Wow.

Matthew: I think the hamburger’s so popular because we just don’t really follow any tradition of what a burger should be. We do our own thing the same way we do with pizza.

Emily: There’s tons of caramelised onions and Grafton cheddar.

Herrine: It’s served on a pretzel bun.

Emily: And perhaps the dealmaker of this whole burger, the restaurant’s signature secret condiment: the Emmy sauce. All we know is that Kewpie mayonnaise and gochujang, a Korean red pepper paste, goes into it.

Herrine: Yes, yes, I… Yes!

Herrine: I already know that I love this burger because it has ingredients that I grew up with and I know and love. I love Kewpie mayonnaise. I love gochujang. As everyone has pointed out, I have a very small mouth, and therefore, I have a small bite. So I haven’t really gotten in to the middle of it. And it’s like the perfect combination of, like, fat, sweet, heat, and, like, savoury all in one bite. How do I look?

Emily: So I have lived in this neighbourhood now for two years, and I have been desperate to try this burger. Either there’s been a huge line or the burger’s been sold out, so this is an amazing moment. Oh no, oh. Oh d—, that was good. I’ve been waiting for you for two years. The juiciest burger I’ve ever had not just… I’m covered in sauce. People comment on these videos and talk about how we definitely don’t eat the whole thing, but I’m here to say that I’m here to eat this whole burger right now.

Herrine: This is a burger that isn’t like the first bite is the best bite. It just keeps getting better and better the more you eat it. I don’t know, man, I think I’m gonna beat Emily.

Emily: I don’t think so. You still have more to go.

Herrine: It’s so saucy. So saucy. OK, I can’t do it.

Emily: Our third stop: Peter Luger Steakhouse.

Customer: I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. This is one of the best burgers in the city.

David: I think the Peter Luger hamburger is indicative of who we are as a restaurant. It’s simple but delicious. It has a real steak taste to it, and it’s just, in my opinion, one of the most delicious hamburgers in New York.

Herrine: The patties are ground fresh daily using a combination of dry-aged steak and prime beef.

David: The burger started as a chopped steak, and it’s been on the menu since time immemorial, as far back as we can remember. I think roughly 25 years ago or so, they turned it into a hamburger, put a bun on it, and it’s been on the menu ever since.

Emily: David recommends getting the burger cooked medium-rare.

Herrine: The only choice for cheese is American, then the burger is dressed with a slice of raw white onion.

Herrine: It looks very simple, but I can already tell that the patty is gonna be just phenomenal.

Emily: This is the first time that we’re seeing a burger really, truly made from scratch. Just right here, in-house. It’s gonna be like, oh. Oh, my God. The thing about this burger is that it’s buttery. Like the meat itself, you just bite through it like butter. It’s so rich. I’ve never experienced a flavour like it in my life. Oh, my God. It is so stinking good.

Herrine: Whenever you look up Peter Luger’s burger, they always say that it’s a steak burger, and I’m just stating the obvious here: The patty tastes more like steak. It’s everything that you love of a burger, just like elevated but still keeping its simple roots. Oh, man. I almost don’t wanna like this burger so much. I think it’s ruining my standard of burger now. Thank you. Everything tastes better with mayo.

Herrine: Our last stop: The Happiest Hour.Jon: The most popular thing on the menu is definitely The Happiest Burger.

Customer: I like The Happiest Burger the best because it tastes amazing. Like, I don’t need any sauces. I don’t need to add any extra mayo, extra ketchup. It just comes right.

Jon: The burger can be compared to some sort of combination of an In-N-Out burger and Shake Shack burger.

Emily and Herrine: The Happiest Hour is made with two patties, onion confit, American cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, and secret sauce.

Emily: So I am super excited for this burger, and actually, I’ve always wanted to try this burger because I crave In-N-Out every single day of my life. I’m a California native, and In-N-Out is my favourite food on the face of the planet. It’s also said to be a little bit like a Shake Shack burger. In-N-Out is in fact better than Shake Shack, but I…

Herrine: It really sounds too good to be true, like In-N-Out and Shake Shack mashed up together in one beautiful burger is like a dream come true, so I’m really excited to try this out. For me, I like both. I’m impartial to both. I’m really excited about the sauce. I’m very excited about the sauce. I wanna say that, visually speaking, it looks a lot like a Double-Double at In-N-Out.

Emily: It tastes like the gourmet version of an In-N-Out burger. It tastes like an In-N-Out burger at, like, a fine establishment.

Herrrine: I love the sauce. I mean the burger itself is so delicious, but the sauce, I don’t know, it tastes… It’s definitely more mustardy than In-N-Out.

Emily: God, that sauce? OK, I am a sauce girl, like, to my core. Like, I put sauce on everything, like, even if it’s not supposed to have it. So a heavily sauced burger is the way to go for me, and this absolutely ticks that box.

Herrine: After visiting all four spots, it was time to pick our favourite.

Herrine: So without further ado, it is time to say our favourites.

Emily: It’s like picking a favourite child.

Herrine: Yeah, all four of them. OK. I’ve thought long and hard about this.

Emily: I have thought a lot about this, and that’s not just because I think about burgers a lot. It’s also because I’ve been really taking my time to decide what I think my favourite burger is, and I think I’ve come to a conclusion.

Herrine: You’re not gonna like my decision.

Emily: I’m a little nervous. I have no idea what you’re about to say. She’s writing a lot of words. Are you writing all of them? OK.

In unison: Three, two, one.

Herrine: Oh, interesting.Emily: Wait, you can’t have two.

Herrine: Listen, I knew that you were gonna say this, and I know that a lot of the viewers may think this way, but here’s my rationale. Hear me out. The Emily burger is this new age thing that just, like, on any day is delicious. I’ve been to Emily three times after we filmed the first time, so it is no surprise that I love this burger. However, I would be doing an injustice, and I would be lying to our viewers, to you, and to myself if I didn’t include Peter Luger as my best because that is the burger that I just, it’s more than I ever dreamed of.

Emily: We’re gonna…

Herrine: They’re twins. You can’t pick.

Emily: If you can’t decide, we should never have pitted them against each other in the first place, you know? Listen, I’m sorry. I’ll tell you my personal preference. I am a millennial, so I went with the new age Emily burger.

Herrine: Yeah, but you can’t take away from the perfect…

Emily: But which one did you personally enjoy more?

Herrine: I loved both of them. Also, let me just point out, Emily, Emily. That also could be seen as unfair.

Emily: Herrine loves Emily, loves Emily.

Herrine: You can see the bias here. It’s not just me?

Emily: OK guys, Herrine has something that she’d like to say. Herrine.

Herrine: I won’t do any ties in the future.

Emily: Why?

Herrine: Because it’s “Best of the Best.”

Emily: It’s “Best of the Best,” Herrine.

Herrine: Yeah.

Emily: No more ties.

Herrine: No ties.

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