May 28th is officially National Hamburger Day, and it couldn’t come at a better time of year. Right on the cusp of summer, everyone’s breaking out their grills post-MDW or maybe you just want to chown down outdoors with the warm sunshine on your face and a microbrew in hand.
Although restrictions on dining-in are still in place, there are still a ton of options for ordering takeout or delivery locally—”quarantine style.” (Sorry, In-N-Out.) Do you prefer a traditional charcoal grill preparation or patties crisped on the griddle with craggy edges? Ketchup, onions, pickles? How about a brioche bun? Whatever your ideal burger formula may be, here are eight Hudson County burger joints to try right now.
1. Dark Side of the Moo
A favorite local food truck you might’ve spotted at Pier 13, Dark Side of the Moo also has a brick-and-mortar restaurant in The Heights that we visit quite often. Their burger menu caters to both adventurous eaters—think exotic game like kangaroo, camel, bison or alpaca—and sticklers for the classics with angus beef patties. A meal wouldn’t be complete without a side of fries (seriously, they’re the best) that you can get salted, Cajun-style with crumbled bacon, pickled jalapenos and Moo sauce or with truffles, sea salt and pecorino romano.
For the time being, they’re also offering burger kits with everything you need to recreate a Moo burger at home.
2. White Star Bar
With two locations (230 Brunswick St and 179 Warren St), there’s a reason that White Star Bar’s website says that they serve “Jersey City’s Best burger.” They start off with an 8oz. Pat La Frieda burger and top that with American cheese sandwiched between a Balthazar bun. Depending on which White Star you’re ordering from, they also sell other craft burger creations from turkey or veggie to bacon-topped and dry-aged.
3. Diesel and Duke
Diesel and Duke has to be the most Instagrammable spot we have on this list. They’ve got your standards and them some, like a peanut butter bacon burger or a Smokeshow with onion rings and barbecue sauce. Pair any of these with a side of their hand-cut fries or a milkshake to wash everything down and you’ve got yourself a meal.
4. White Mana Diner
While not the most glamorous Hudson County burger joint by any means, Jersey City’s White Mana has been in the burger business since 1946. So you know it has to be good. Their burgers are the epitome of simple. Petite in size, although bigger than White Castle. Fresh, never frozen. And hand-patted every day. Inside, the diner-esque eatery has a retro vibe and the cheap prices will make you feel as if you’ve been transported back in time.
5. Left Bank Burger Bar
I’ve never had anything at Left Bank that I didn’t like—from buffalo wings to fried mac and cheese pops and tasty craft cocktails. Their burgers are hefty in size and come with equally outrageous toppings. (I’ve definitely made it a fork and knife situation.)
Per their Instagram and in celebration of National Hamburger Day, order direct and use code “BURGERTIME” for 10% off
6. Zack’s Oak Bar and Restaurant
Not a Hudson County burger joint per se, but that doesn’t mean Zack’s doesn’t know what they’re doing—quite the contrary. Due to the pandemic, they’ve been offering a limited menu, however, our favorites have luckily made it on. The Bec (available mid-afternoon), is a brisket blend burger topped with American cheese, bacon and a perfect fried egg. For dinner, you also have the option of ordering the Brisket Blend Burger topped with bacon, roasted tomato, cheddar, provolone, pickled red onion and a cornichon aioli.
Bareburger has long been the answer to organic, sustainable and grass-fed burgers that appeal to the meat-lovers as well as “veggie-heads and gluten-haters” alike. Even though over one-third of their menu is vegetarian and plant-based, the meat offerings stand alone. Each of their toppings are also made from all-natural ingredients. It’s definitely a burger you can feel good about eating.
For National Hamburger Day, they’re offering a special BOGO deal today—American or Original (v)—from 2pm to 4pm with the code “BRGRDAY.” (Can be redeemed for two of one variety or one of each variety.)
8. The Shepherd + The Knucklehead
Not only is The Shep dedicated to great beer, great burgers aren’t far behind. It’s the perfect pair, after all. A section of their menu is reserved for “their infamous burgers,” all of which come with a brioche bun and a side of hand-cut french fries. There are two different offerings that are buffalo-inspired, and we’re not complaining, while additional burger toppings include the likes of cheddar cheese, bourbon onions or bacon.
And if you don’t feel like ordering out from any of these Hudson County burger joints, check out this video by Bon Appétit to learn how to make your own “Smashburger” at home.