There's nothing like biting into a juicy, perfectly grilled burger with just the right combination of toppings. We rounded up some of the best places across New York State to get your fix of this national treasure. Warning: reading this blog will definitely make you hungry.
Mama’s Boy Burgers, Tannersville (Catskills)
Photographer: Mama's Boy Burgers
Mama’s Boy Burgers promises “great food in the great outdoors” and boy, do they deliver. All of the ingredients are super fresh, and most are sourced from local farms—like grain-finished black Angus beef that comes from grass-fed cows raised just 1.5 miles away. Choose one of the house favorites or build your own burger from classic beef, organic ground turkey, truffled portobello, and falafel patty options and unique toppings like goat milk gouda cheese, jalapeno bacon, etc. Save room for dessert and try one of 26 flavors of frozen custard and frozen yogurt—German chocolate cake or butter pecan soft serve, anyone? Grab an outdoor picnic table and enjoy that fresh Catskills air.
Druthers Brewing, Albany & Saratoga Springs (Capital-Saratoga)
Photographer: Ashleigh Cerrato
Just like you should visit both Albany and Saratoga Springs to get the true "Cap-Sara" experience, you really should visit both locations of Druthers. The Albany location, housed in an old warehouse dating back to 1901, offers not two, not three, but eight burger options ranging from the classic “Druthers Burger” to the “Chicken Parm Burger,” a mash-up we can definitely get behind. Then head over to the Saratoga Springs location, where you can listen to live music and dine alfresco on a nice day, to try the “Breakfast Burger,” which is basically all of your breakfast-for-dinner dreams served up on a doughnut bun—juicy patties are topped with fried hash browns, a fried egg, caramelized onions, and bacon.
Marble + Rye, Buffalo (Greater Niagara)
Photographer: Marble + Rye
What do you get when you combine fresh, locally-sourced ingredients with inventive flavor combinations and hip vibes? Well, the “M+R Burger” at the trendy Marble + Rye in downtown Buffalo, for starters. Featuring a patty crafted from house-ground brisket, chuck, short rib, and bone marrow, and topped with fried leeks, triple creme cheese, and mission fig jam, the “M+R” is sure to satisfy. Toppings change seasonally so it’s a good excuse to plan multiple visits to the "Queen City", where there are plenty of things to do and see to keep your crew busy.
Craft Burgers and Brews, Lakewood (Chautauqua-Allegheny)
Photographer: Craft Burgers and Brews
Locals rave about the oh-so-good flavor combos at Craft Burgers and Brews. Whether you choose a house favorite combo or build your own, prepare to be wowed. A juicy sirloin-brisket blend patty is complemented by your choice of seven types of cheese and more than a dozen toppings. All burgers come with a side of hand-cut fries or tots (!). Chautauqua Lake is only a short stroll away, so be sure to save room for prime lakeside sunset viewing.
Livingood’s Restaurant & Brewery (Adirondacks)
Photographer: Livingood's Restaurant & Brewery
Livingood's burgers are sinfully good, so it’s not surprising that each of their “7 Deadly Burgers” is themed after one of the seven deadly sins. Feeling extra hungry? Try the “Gluttony,” featuring two half-pound patties made from locally farmed black Angus beef topped with cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato...and more bacon. Be careful not to be out-ordered by your dining companions or you could find yourself “Lust”-ing for a perfect patty topped with sharp cheddar, fried onion petals, bacon, and LG’s BBQ sauce served on a shapely brioche bun. This kid-friendly restaurant is near activities that the whole family is sure to love, like tubing, climbing, and biking at the Ausable Chasm (AKA the Grand Canyon of the Adirondacks) and berry-picking at Rulf’s Orchard.
Crazy Otto’s Empire Diner, Herkimer (Central NY)
Your kids (and inner kid) may giggle at the concept of a burger called the “Loose Caboose” at a place called Crazy Otto’s, but this burger is no joke. Grab a booth at this family-oriented 1950’s style greasy spoon and ask for an extra napkin or two because things could get messy. Honored as the best burger in the region, the “Loose Caboose” is topped with thinly sliced prime rib, cheddar and jack cheese, a fried egg, 1000 Island dressing, and mayo. Whether you’re in town digging for treasure at Herkimer Diamond Mines or just passing through (the diner is three minutes off the NYS Thruway), this is an experience you simply cannot miss.
Blazer Pub, Purdys (Hudson Valley)
Photographer: Blazer Pub
The Blazer’s extra thick, juicy burgers have been making it on “best burger” lists in Westchester Magazine, Zagat, and Yelp for years. Topping combos like bacon and cheese bring it back to the basics—good, simple food cooked well. Run by the same family since 1971, this old-school family-friendly pub features throwbacks like Yankees memorabilia, arcade games, and a jukebox. Tip: bring cash as credit cards are not accepted.
The Wine Bar at Mirbeau Inn & Spa, Skaneateles (Finger Lakes)
Photographer: Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Featuring a patty made from ½ pound of prime black Angus and topped with gruyere cheese, a roasted portobello mushroom cap, caramelized onions, and mixed greens on a house-made bun and paired with hand-cut truffle fries, the “Mirbeau Burger” is one fancy burger in one fancy location. The Mirbeau Inn & Spa is one of New York’s loveliest resorts, so treat yourself to a night or two and a spa day while you’re at it.
Ale 'n' Angus Pub, Syracuse (Finger Lakes)
Photographer: Ale 'n' Angus Pub
“The Power Play Burger” at the Ale ‘n’ Angus Pub in Downtown Syracuse has racked up repeat wins including the 2018 “Best New York Burger” contest sponsored by the New York Beef Council and judged by Yelp Elites. This meaty crowd pleaser features a juicy 8-ounce Angus patty topped with strips of slow-cooked prime rib, American cheese, lettuce, and tomato served on a grilled Kaiser roll. Diners praise the family-friendly pub’s cozy, casual vibe, and excellent service.
DB Bistro Moderne, New York City
Photographer: NYC & Company
With several Michelin stars to his name, Daniel Boulud is one of New York City’s most celebrated chefs and his luxurious spin on the humble burger is one of its most iconic. What makes the DB burger stand out is its filling. Cut open the juicy sirloin patty and you’ll find a decadent stuffing of braised short ribs, foie gras, and black truffle. Though it comes on a perfectly baked parmesan bun, you’ll want to use your fork and knife for this one!
Tillie’s, Montauk (Long Island)
Tillie’s Restaurant at Gurney’s Montauk Resort serves up inspired American cuisine with a spectacular ocean view. “Gurney’s Burger” is cooked to perfection and topped with cheddar, bacon, onion rings, pickles, and BBQ sauce. Walk off the burger on the white sand beach, then treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment at the resort. Now that’s a vacation!