Yes, living in NYC is kinda super really insanely OH MY GOD THIS BEER IS HOW MUCH? expensive, but no, that doesn't mean you can't still get a good, cheap burger. Case in point, here are 15 different, and all totally delicious, $10-or-less burgers in NYC.
Brass tacks: 1) we didn't include tax in the price, and 2) we didn't include extras (like cheese, bacon, a fried egg, etc.), but you should still definitely add all of those anyway.
Hamburger - $10, +$1 for cheese, but you won't need it
Fritzl’s chef and owner Dan Ross-Leutwyler serves the most flavorful beef of any burger on this list. A 6oz griddled patty is topped with extra-sharp cheddar, "Special Sauce" (it's a charred miso aioli), and homemade relish, all between a sesame-studded "Big Marty" bun. These are all nice accoutrements, but it’s the rough-ground beef and beef chuck -- that’re the stars.
Cheeseburger - $5.00
From his little truck all the way out in Mill Basin, Chef and owner Andrew Zurica makes a case for one of the best burgers in the city (cheap or otherwise) with an extra-fatty blend of freshly ground chuck. Served on a Martin’s Potato Roll, the burger sports a dark sear from Zurica’s griddle. Ask for sautéed onions cooked in bacon fat (and get some of that bacon, too). Zurica recommends a single patty, but the double and triple burgers both still come in under $10.
Double Cheeseburger - $6.75
Though still relatively new, Blue Collar has settled into a comfortable groove, serving one of Williamsburg’s finest bun-patty-bun options. Kinda, sorta Shake Shack-ish, the rich, fatty patties have a strong sear and are served inside a toasted potato roll. The toppings -- bright slices of tomato, raw onions, lettuce, and pickles -- are fresh and the prices are hardly objectionable. A single cheeseburger ($4.95) will fill you up, but the double ($6.75) will fill you up... TIMES TWO.
Shackburger - $4.95 and up
Shake Shack (which actually started as a hot dog cart) still makes one of the best burgers in town. With a new location near Barclays Center, the distance you have to travel for a Shack Burger in any direction continues to diminish exponentially. Ubiquity has its benefits.
Frisco Melt with fries - $5.49
Thank the storied Midwestern chain for opening a labyrinthine, loss-leading flagship in the tourist heart of Midtown and then having the guts to charge barely over $5 for a burger and fries. Go for the Frisco Melt, a utilitarian pair of burger patties on barely-sour sourdough with "Frisco Sauce". No greenery or tomato, just meat, bread, and sauce.
The Classic Burger - $8.04
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is the buzzy draw at Gotham West Market, which is great 'cause it keeps the line short at incredible burger-making Genuine Roadside. Thin patties develop a dark sear on one side before being flipped and topped with American cheese, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and a pickle. The secret sauce (it's kinda like a Thousand Island) provides a pleasant tang and a bit of spice without overwhelming the other ingredients. Also note that the double (pictured) is barely over $10.
Lower East Side
Sliders - $10 (for three)
Slider nirvana can be achieved in sunny Essex Street Market, where the line is long (but worth it), and the sliders sport a remarkable char from Shopsins notoriously hot griddle, and are balanced by onions and melted cheese. Be advised, 10 bucks doesn’t get you far at Shopsins, and it’s advisable to splurge, especially since you’re likely to get ridiculed for such a petite order, but these still technically make the cut.
Pimento Cheeseburger - $8.00
With the optional (not for you, but, like, other people) pimento cheese topping, the 1/3lb burger at the recently opened Carroll Gardens spot from the Seersucker team goes from solid cheap burger to solid-est cheap burger. Get. The. Pimento. Cheese.
Chimi Mundo - $6.50
An improvised shack meets broken-down food truck, Chimi Mundo sits on a busy section of Myrtle Ave where it isn’t open during the day, but instead on nights and weekends. Their Chimichurri (shortened to "Chimi") Mundo tastes like a Big Mac filtered through a Dominican lens -- a thin beef patty (you can get a second for $1 more) is topped with tomato, mayo, ketchup, lettuce, and American cheese (plus bacon and hot sauce!), all layered between two halves of a griddled roll commonly used for tortas.
Upstate Burger - $7.00, +$1 for cheese
Fresh vegetables. Whitmans' tomatoes, Bibb lettuce, and seared onions -- those're what make this burger a burger worth getting. Oh, and the $7 thing. Oh, and also the special sauce. Last thing, we swear: the sirloin-heavy blend. (And it's only $1 to add cheese, OK WE'RE DONE FOR REAL.)
Two8Two Burger - $9.50
With roasted poblano peppers, cheddar cheese, and "Two8Two Sauce" (basically Thousand Island), this is a serious local version of New Mexico’s green chile cheeseburger (and sometimes they even have the real thing!). Best for lunch, when you can actually get a beer and a burger for less than $10.
Slider - $2.75
If you want sliders, go to Mark. It’s as simple as that. No one does a better rendition of the classic griddled onion slider than this narrow St. Marks spot, plus you can rack up three for less than an Alexander Hamilton.
Green Chile Cheeseburger - $7.49
The chile has a gentle heat that mixes well with the liquified cheese blend for a small, but satisfying burger.
House Burger - $10
Do you like DuMont Burger? If so, this young Ridgewood restaurant produces an admirable tribute, down to the sweet bread and butter pickles and fries. For exactly $10, your belly will go home with a massive grilled burger topped with cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and red onions. Brioche doesn’t always work with burgers, but here it stands up to the meaty juices.
Cheeseburger - $7.95
This Canadian chain recently opened its first New York City location on Seventh Ave in Chelsea, serving char-broiled burgers that taste suspiciously like fading Southern franchise Backyard Burger. They do smoked Canadian cheddar on their cheeseburger, which comes sparsely topped with a tomato, plus sides of poutine which you are basically required to order because, well, poutine.
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Noah Arenstein is a practicing lawyer, freelance writer, cook, and co-founder and managing editor of Real Cheap Eats, a site dedicated to finding the best dishes under $10 in NYC. In 2013, Noah founded the “Global Jewish Sandwich” stand Scharf & Zoyer. He also produces food events and pop-ups, including the Crow Hill Supper Club.
1. Fritzl's Lunch Box173 Irving Ave, Brooklyn
2. Hard Times SundaesAvenue U, Brooklyn
3. Blue Collar Burger160 Havemeyer St, Williamsburg
4. Shake Shack11 Madison Ave, New York
5. Steak 'n Shake1695 Broadway, New York
6. Genuine Roadside600 11th Ave, New York
7. Shopsin's General Store120 Essex St, New York
8. Wilma Jean345 Smith St, Brooklyn
9. Chimi Mundo1550 Mrytle Avenue, Brooklyn
10. two8two Bar & Burger282 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
11. Whitmans406 E 9th St, New York
12. MARK Burger33 St Marks Place, New York
13. Schnipper's23 East 23rd Street, New York
14. Ltauha Restaurant55-50 Myrtle Ave, Ridgewood
15. Big Smoke Burger70 7th Ave, New York
From the ravenous mind of owner Dan Ross-Leutwyler, whose bonafides include time at Roberta's, Fatty 'Cue, and The Breslin, FLB is a hidden gem off the Dekalb L stop. This tiny, slender spot seats guests side by side along one wall and in the warmer months has a great little back patio illuminated by Christmas lights at night. This place is best known for its $10 burger with chopped pickles, onions, and special sauce (it's charred miso aioli, shhh) on a toasted sesame bun. The pillowy, beer-battered broccoli is equally delicious, as is the palace fried chicken on a roll. Stop by for brunch to savor unique menu items like the Spicy Crab Cake Omelet and the Morning Beer, which is house-made kombucha with Founders IPA.
Andrew Zurica serves some of the best and cheapest burgers out of his truck in Brooklyn. Even though Zurica recommends a single patty, we think the double or triple burgers are the way to go, and both still come in under $10.
Blue Collar is one of Williamsburg’s finest bun-patty-bun options. The best part? They've got tons to eat for under $10!
Long before Shake Shack was an international chain with outposts as far as Dubai, it was a hot dog stand in Madison Square Park. The original location is still in the park, but instead of a roaming cart, it's a large kiosk surrounded by a sea of outdoor tables. There are two lines, an express one reserved for cold orders (that would be the frozen custard and concretes -- get them, they're good) and a regular one for everything else, which includes the signature ShackBurgers, crinkle-cut fries, and flat-top hot dogs.
Because the Midwest's super-high-end slow-casual joints don't really translate to the city, one of their most popular fast-casual ones is making inroads instead, planting a counter-service flagship in Midtown to purvey both "favored originals" (Classic Steakburgers w/ toppings from spicy chipotle to "Wisconsin melted butter") and completely new offerings such as the Signature Steakburger, made from "the top grade of the finest cuts" like Rib Eye and NY Strip.
Everyone knows the best part of road trips is the diner grub, and Genuine Roadside capitalizes on this shameless indulgence with classic American fare done up with a gourmet twist. Come in for spicy smokehouse burgers, shrimp tacos, and vanilla bean ice cream sandwiches, and -- if you're not driving -- pair your meal with a cold beer or specialty cocktail.
Not only can you eat the best breakfast in New York here, but we'd go so far to say that Shopsin's has some of the best breakfast dishes in America. The tiny Lower East Side diner boasts a 900-item menu filled with things like mac & cheese pancakes and donut sliders...need we say more?
Armed with Southern hospitality, Wilma Jean in Gowanus serves up stackable portions of double cheeseburgers, fried bologna sandwiches, fried pickles, and its signature fried chicken, the latter of which is served atop a potato bun, on a stick, and in half-portions. Run by a husband and wife duo, the counter-service spot is a solid option for brunch, happy hour (its daily beer and wine deals are an added bonus), or for a late dinner, with the kitchen open until 10pm seven days a week.
This Bushwick food truck offers a Dominican-style burger (topped with bacon and hot sauce) for $6.50 that is perfect for late-night dining.
This Cobble Hill bar offers up some of the best burgers in Brooklyn, made with Los Paisanos ground beef, with the option to do double patties or the 9 oz "Pub Burger".
Famous for its rendition on the Juicy Lucy -- a burger with a cheese-stuffed meat patty, for you amateur gluttons -- Whitmans delivers on the American Dream with indulgent burgers and rich sides like deep-fried crack kale, fried pickles, and sweet potato fries. The ground-floor counter service is grab-and-go, but the downstairs dining area offers a more intimate and leisurely setting in which to court your peanut butter-bacon burger.
This modern, subterranean burger den on St. Mark's Place features a chalkboard menu of binge-worthy bar food like in-house ground chuck/short rib/sirloin sliders, cheese fries, and Guinness milkshakes. Outfitted with simple cushioned banquettes/stools and a 20-seat bar made of wooden beams reclaimed from the building, the vibe is casual yet hip. This spot stays open late (til midnight most every night) and is cheap.
Paying particular attention to America's heart(attack)land to make your own middle as big as our country's, the team behind Schnipper's scoured the continent for the best in fast-casual dining, resulting in their second location's Americana-inspired steez backdropping new chompables like a bleu cheese/crispy onion/hickory BBQ/Schnipper Sauce hamburger, a green chile cheese dog w/ roasted poblanos, the Mac & Joe (cheese & sloppy), and a slew of handcrafted shakes.
This is a great spot to fill your stomache, especiall if you're looking for a burger: for $10, your belly will go home with a massive grilled patty topped with cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and red onions on a brioche bun
This Chelsea burger joint builds handcrafted burgs with fresh (never frozen) ground chuck, and loads em up with fresh ingredients, from their classic cheeseburger with Canadian cheddar, to their signature Big Smoke Burger, with horseradish mayo, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar, tomato & lettuce.