From X2O to some of our smallest joints, a mighty fine burger is never far. But, for the adventurous eater, sometimes it’s not all about the Kobe beef or the slow-toasted bun. Sometimes, the odd can trump the artisan. Here, we list the most creative, obscure, or downright dangerous burgers being made in Westchester today.
140 Grand St, Croton-on-Hudson; 914.271.1127
Led by an experienced Westchester chef, the Croton-on-Hudson restaurant makes a name for itself with house-smoked meats and decadent desserts, but the burgers are where this menu really shines. Each is a unique feast, like the classic (lettuce, tomato, onion), the thick-cut pork belly with tomato relish and caramelized onion and mayo, the French onion with melty gruyere and a huge onion ring, and the fig and bleu cheese with homemade jam. Yet the standout star has to be the peanut butter burger.
Topping a fat, tender beef patty with onion jam and and house-cured pork belly seems obviously delicious, but adding creamy peanut butter to the mix sounds almost sacrilegious. And yet. Call us blasphemous, hot-take heathens, but this is one of those “shouldn’t work but does” food combinations. We may eat the entire thing in our car before we get home to hide the evidence, but you better believe there won’t be any evidence left to speak of.
265 N Central Ave, Hartsdale; 914.949.2900
Bareburger’s first location opened circa 2009 in Astoria, Queens, with the goal of bringing a variety of organic burgers to the masses. How wide a variety? Take your pick of beef, bison, chicken, turkey, or multiple distinct veggie options, and go from there. You can customize your own burger from patty to pickins, or choose from a selection of house-made offerings like the Supreme — organic beef and Colby with smoked bacon, chopped fries, onion rings, organic lettuce, and special sauce on brioche — or the Sweet Bison Blues — all-natural bison and bleu cheese with smoked bacon, caramelized onion, bacon jam, and Meyer lemon honey on the bun of your choice.
There are plenty of other wild choices, too, and, with three locations in Westchester County and two more in neighboring Ridgefield and Stamford, you won’t have to travel too far to get there.
Rye Ridge Shopping Center, 176 S. Ridge St, Rye Brook; 914.305.6700
Ridge Hill Mall, 228 Market St, Yonkers; .914.358.9400
The classic Elevation Burger doesn’t have a lot of fancy bells or whistles, and it’s not made from any obscure meat like elk or wild boar — just good, old fashioned, organic, grass-fed, free-range beef patties. A lot of them. As many as you want, truthfully; 10 just seemed like a good limit to Westchester and Rockland franchise owner Daniel Magnus. That’s why if you order the “Vertigo 10,” servers will know just what you want.
“We sell a lot,” he says, “the bulk of them three to four patties. Between the two locations in Westchester and the Palisades Mall, each one of those stores probably sells between four and 10 [10-patty stacks] in any given week.”
Magnus says it’s typical to see a group of three or four patrons order the towering burger; there’s a competitive eating element for some people, after all. But some prefer to go it alone.
“Believe it or not, but there’s one guy who comes in at least five or six times a month—he weighs about 145 pounds—and he orders a Vertigo 10 every time he comes in,” Magnus says. “And he eats all 10 patties. That’s 10 patties and 10 slices of cheese. And he never gains weight!”
49 Main St, Tarrytown; 914.631.2228
Pinning down just one burger at Little B’s can be a Sisyphean task; the restaurant is known for its build-your-own program. Choose from a selection of five buns (or four greens and six dressings, if you’d like to make it a salad); 11 patties including Angus beef, bison, chicken, turkey, tuna, and multiple vegan/veggie options; then top it with any of 11 cheeses, any four of 21 toppings, and two of any 20 sauces. (We’re not even getting into the sides.) By our math, that’s a little over…13.5 billion possible combinations.
Start with bison, and you’ll get a burger with a luxe, savage character that oozes gamey juice all over its nearly sweet, brioche bun. For those overwhelmed by so many options, special burgers with set toppings also typically grace the menu — think a Greek burger that’s a combination of ground gyro meat and beef — and change out monthly, so there’s always something new to try.
1882 Pleasantville Rd, Briarcliff Manor; 914.226.3647
This national chain made a splash when it opened its only New York location outside of Times Square in Westchester County, and its selection of piled-high burger, dogs, sandwiches, and accompaniments has kept it on even our typically chain-averse radar. Case in point: The “Hamburdog.” Part of the brand’s “secret” menu — can it really be a secret if you put it front and center online? — the Hamburdog is an Angus beef patty topped with a Hebrew National hot dog, cheddar cheese, bacon, jalapeños, frizzled onion strings, and ketchup on a non-GMO bun. It’s got 935 calories, 62 grams of fat, and about 106 percent of our daily recommended sodium, but wow, if it isn’t utterly delicious.
391 Old Post Rd, Bedford; 914.234.8900
The organic, whole-wheat tortilla makes an effective and appropriate wrapper for the juicy grass-fed beef patty at this Southwestern cuisine restaurant off scenic Route 22. It’s not overwrought with complicated toppings; some creamy guacamole and a melty sweep of Cabot Jack do the trick. The pile of expertly salted hand-cut fries spread alongside is even that much better liberally dipped into some of the best ketchup around.
124 Pondfield Rd, Bronxville; 914.652.7407
Totally vegan, the polenta and quinoa burger comes tucked into a soft, herb focaccia roll, delicately dolloped with tomato red pepper jam, pickled carrots, arugula, and tomatoes. Lightly dressed, tossed salad greens are a nice touch on the side. As far as veggie burgers go, this one won’t win any points for trying to convince us it’s actually meat, but it does get points for honesty and for being truly delicious in and of itself.
38 N Division St, Peekskill; 914.293.7550
We’ve seen some wacky, massive, and intense burgers in our day, but when it comes to house-standard, “regular” orders, the Up the River Burger might as well be a life sentence. Sporting two house-blend patties with cheese and — deep breath — thick-cut candied bacon, house-made beer cheese, fried shallots, and sriracha aioli atop a toasted brioche bun and then served with a mountain of crispy, delicious house fries, this burger is a beast. It is also, we assure you, worth every penny. (There’s a reason Whiskey River was voted our Readers’ Choice Best New Restaurant of 2021. [Hint: It’s the burger.])
16 Division St, New Rochelle; 914.278.9432
It’s no surprise that this former Westchester Magazine Burger & Beer Blast champion has more than a few choice patties on its menu. From the classic Balboa with mushrooms and double Swiss on garlic bread to the intimidatingly named “Grease Truck” — beef, fried pickles, fried onions, tots, and mozzarella on Texas Toast — there’s plenty to order, but, as simple as it sounds, nothing is more of a challenge (and delight) to get through than the stuffed grilled cheese, a chopped burger with heaps of mac and cheese on Texas Toast.
It’s big, it’s cheesy, and it’s more carbs than we dare to think about, and it’s one of our best friends.
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