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Bartley's burgers -- currently in 2nd place

y
yumyum Sep 15, 2005 11:50 AM

As a hound and a meat lover, I'm a little embarrassed to say I'd not been to Bartley's Burger cottage before yesterday but the stars aligned and so I was able to check it out. Executive summary: I liked it well enough but it didn't fog my glasses or anything. Sullivan's in Somerville still wins my vote for Best Burger in the Boston area.

I got the Laura Bush (bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato) and it was perfectly medium rare, as ordered. My friend got the Condaleezza Rice and it was basically the same but with jack cheese and some red onion. We each opted for onion rings over fries. He had a lime rickey (delicious) and I got iced tea, basically instant Lipton, not brewed. I liked the burger and the quality of the meat seems superior to Sullivan's. But only the merest bit, and after the upgrade to o-rings and drinks it ended up being a $15 lunch. The rings were good, but not worth a $1.75 upgrade or the extra calories.

So, for now I think I'll stick with the Sullivan's "price point" when I need a burger fix which is about once a year. On the other hand, with the reopening of Tim's I could do a horizontal (literally!) test while it's fresh on my mind. And Charlie's looks good too. I need to revisit.

And by the way, the bearnaise burger doesn't exist anymore and hasn't for quite some time so the person who recently talked about that option must have been there a while ago.

  1. p
    Prav Sep 15, 2005 11:57 AM

    I've heard good things about Sullivans' burgers. What makes them so great? I'll definitely have to go check one out.

    24 Replies
    1. re: Prav
      y
      yumyum Sep 15, 2005 12:02 PM

      Prav, I think it depends on what camp you are in, burger wise. Sullivan's burgers are humongous, taking close to 30 minutes to cook. Some people would say they are too big, but I am not one of them. The toppings are good and varied, and they are cheap. Plus, you can get beer and watch the scary bar-fly regular who draped herself over the next table the last time I was there.

      1. re: yumyum
        h
        Howie Stelzer Sep 15, 2005 12:13 PM

        re: Mr.Bartley's... I love those burgers, though the Republican propaganda has started to bother me. I do give the Bartley's folks credit for being proudly right-wing in the middle of Cambridge, MA. I'm sure I'm not the only Massachusetts liberal who sheepishly tunes out aspects of the decor and sandwich names in order to enjoy the food. The smell of those burgers still calls to me whenever I walk by Harvard Square....

        re: Sullivan's... my friend is a huge fan of thier burgers. To me, they're very good, but not amazing. The onion rings and fries, on the other hand, are fantastic at Sullivan's.

        I remember hearing about some burger place that's supposed to me good in Watertown...? Anyone know what that could be?

        1. re: Howie Stelzer
          h
          hiddenboston Sep 15, 2005 12:37 PM

          I assume everyone is talking about O'Sullivan's, not Sullivan's, which is at Castle Island in Southie and has decent burgers in their own right (though not as good as Mr. Bartley's or O'Sullivan's),

          Yup, these are two of the best burger places in the Boston area, though others may say Tim's Tavern in the South End beats them both.

          Personally, my favorite is Mr. Bartley's by just a little bit, but I go to O'Sullivan's much more often, mainly because parking is easier, the people who work there are truly great folks, and they have other items that are excellent, including the steak and cheese and the chicken BLT sandwich.

          Oh, and yes, there are some regulars at O'Sullivan's who are true characters. After all, this used to be a real local hangout before Somerville became trendy!

          1. re: hiddenboston
            t
            twentyoystahs Sep 15, 2005 02:35 PM

            Yikes, I would not even BEGIN to compare a Sullivan's (on Castle Island) burger with Tims, Bartley's et al. In fact, I just tried one of these morsels last night, and while it was a cute little burger it's more in the McDonald's/BK league than the Tim's one. Don't get me wrong, it was a great little experience walking around Castle Island along the water and then stopping at Sullivan's for a cheeseburger, piping hot fries, and small soda (all for under $5)...I sat on the grass and looked over the water, enjoyed the salty air and the sea breeze and all in all I really enjoyed my little treat. But certainly not a destination-spot for a prime burger....

            1. re: twentyoystahs
              y
              yumyum Sep 15, 2005 02:36 PM

              Totally agree. No one is confused about Sullivan's and O'Sullivans. I thought hiddenboston was joking. Maybe not.

              1. re: yumyum
                h
                hiddenboston Sep 15, 2005 04:04 PM

                Uh, at first I was joking, then I saw how EVERYONE was calling it Sullivan's and I started to get really worried that I had entered the twilight zone and everyone was indeed talking about the burger joint in Southie. :-)

                Although I do like going out to Castle Island and ordering a burger to eat out on the rotunda on a hot summer day...

                1. re: hiddenboston
                  l
                  Like-Go-Eat? Sep 16, 2005 04:32 AM

                  I have been reading from L.A. and I have never been to Sullivan's or O'Sullivan's. I have been to Bartley's. Now if it is true that Bartley's is #2 then is it O'Sullivan's that is claimed to be #1 or Sullivan's? I would like to visit myself but am unable to find either on the web. Can anyone help with a address? Finally, I am bringing my 10 yr. old graddaughter to Boston in April. Is this an OK place for her? My concern is the, "scary bar-fly regular." My Thanks, PA

                  1. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                    l
                    Linda W. Sep 16, 2005 09:24 AM

                    Burger #1 would be from R.F. O'Sullivan's in Somerville. And I think your granddaughter will be fine there.

                    Link: http://www.rfosullivan.com/

                    1. re: Linda W.
                      h
                      Howie Sep 16, 2005 10:23 AM

                      Reading these posts about burgers got me, somehow, craving a burger. But i live in Jamaica Plain. so i decided to check out a bar/restaurant on Centre St that i hadn't been to before, and... WOW it was good! Costello's, which is just across the street from the also dependably good Galway House, had a TERRIFIC burger and really great fries. Plus, when I asked for medium rare, I actually got medium rare! Many places will second-guess you and cook it medium... but no BS here. Terrific food, I was impressed.

                      1. re: Howie
                        t
                        twentyoystahs Sep 16, 2005 10:48 AM

                        Yes, Costello's is a great little hole-in-the wall, and as far as I'm concerned, has one of the top 5 burgers in the city. I've mentioned that before on this board. Definitely worth checking it out. It's also very "Tim's-like" in atmosphere; one of the last old-time neighborhood bars still standing in JP.

                        ps. the other 4? tim's; audobon (tho the no fries thing kills me); o' sullivans; bartley's.

                        1. re: twentyoystahs
                          b
                          brad brown Sep 16, 2005 07:10 PM

                          Super suprised about costello's it was a great burger. No one has mentioned Eagle's deli. I have to say that all gimicks aside, they do have a really good burger, sandwiches too. It may be lacking in the "high end " toppings but the flavor is there.

                          brad

                          1. re: brad brown
                            r
                            rxrfrx Sep 19, 2005 02:22 PM

                            I'll second the Eagles suggestion. It appears that Eagles has recently begun using very fresh meat (I think it was usually or always frozen in the past) and is producing a really good burger. The caveat: if you want rare, make sure to demand that it's really rare, and remind the cook during the cooking process that you want your burger pink and bloody in the middle. They do tend to overcook if you don't ask.

                          2. re: twentyoystahs
                            b
                            brad brown Sep 16, 2005 07:10 PM

                            Super suprised about costello's it was a great burger. No one has mentioned Eagle's deli. I have to say that all gimicks aside, they do have a really good burger, sandwiches too. It may be lacking in the "high end " toppings but the flavor is there.

                            brad

                        2. re: Linda W.
                          LovesFoieGras Aug 6, 2008 08:24 AM

                          http://www.rf-osullivan.com/ is the web....

                        3. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                          h
                          hiddenboston Sep 16, 2005 09:43 AM

                          O'Sullivan's is at 282 Beacon Street in Somerville. Beacon Street is the road between Porter Square and Inman Square that straddles the line between Somerville and Cambridge. Star Market is across the street from it.

                          And no need to worry about the barfly guy. He's not so bad, and definitely harmless. Although I'm not crazy about his choice of music when he goes to the jukebox. :-)

                          1. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                            l
                            Like-Go-Eat? Sep 16, 2005 01:42 PM

                            Thanks for the help.

                            R.F. O'Sullivan & Sons, Pub and Grille (Best Burgers in Boston)
                            282 Beacon Street
                            Somerville, MA 02431
                            (617) 492-7773
                            11:am to 1:am
                            http://www.rfosullivan.com/
                            Beacon Street is the road between Porter Square and Inman Square that straddles the line between Somerville and Cambridge. Star Market is across the street from it.

                            Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage (Second Best Burgers
                            )1246 Massachusetts Ave
                            Cambridge, MA 02138-3820
                            (617) 354-6559

                            1. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                              r
                              robertlf May 6, 2009 06:01 PM

                              I will offer an opposing voice... I went to O'Sullivans once and never thought about returning. Bartley's is a grease burger.

                              Flat Patties is my choice and one the Globe rated as Best Burger in Boston. Uburger is also good for the McDonald's style burger. Bouchee on Newbury St. makes a great burger with fries too - more upscale.

                            2. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                              a
                              AmandaRG Aug 8, 2008 05:00 PM

                              O'Sullivan's will be perfectly fine for her. My parents have taken my family there for years. But just remember the burgers are huge and when I was young I always had to split one with my mom

                    2. re: Howie Stelzer
                      t
                      Taralli Sep 15, 2005 12:48 PM

                      Maybe Donohue's on Bigelow. Their burgers are huge.

                      Link: http://www.donohuesbar.com/

                      1. re: Howie Stelzer
                        a
                        Ali G Sep 15, 2005 03:00 PM

                        Maybe it's Wild Willy Burgers you are thinking about in Watertown? Been once, decent burger, but nothing special. Sort of a Fudrucker's type place, but I'd give the nod to Fud's over Willy.

                    3. re: Prav
                      d
                      Dax Sep 15, 2005 01:16 PM

                      The burgers at Sully's are 1/2 lb vertical burgers, meaning they're very tall - and I mean VERY at about 2.5 inches or so high - but they're not very wide and do not hit the edge of the bun. My main problem is that since they're so tall, when I order medium rare, the outer layer gets charred while the inside remains very bloody and spongy. Underdone spongy.

                      The 3/4 burgers are Tim's are only about and inch or so tall but nearly overlap the edges of the gargantuan buns (which are too big IMO). 90% of the time, my medium rare burger was spot on and when they are on, they are on like no other burger I have ever tried. Fries and o-rings can't hold a candle to those at Sully's. Beer selection is also weaker at Tim's but I don't care.

                      I have never actually been to Bartley's because I think beer and burgers go together like peanut butter and chocolate and I like both together (not peanut butter/chocolate with beer and burgers). However, for the sake of science, I will try them soon.

                      Burgers at Audubon Circle and Anam Cara are distant second places finishers to the Tims/Sullys first place duo (with Tim's getting the edge IMO).

                      Charlies burgers are ok but nothing special. Same with Thornton's in the Fenway.

                      Dax

                      1. re: Dax
                        t
                        twentyoystahs Sep 15, 2005 02:31 PM

                        Hi,

                        Agree with Dax on all counts, esp the beer & burger combo. And I also prefer a Tim's burger over an O'Sullivans....

                        1. re: twentyoystahs
                          b
                          BK Sep 18, 2005 07:25 AM

                          I had the same "wow that's rare" reaction to my medium-rare burger at O'Sullivan's. Plus, their fries suck. I'll have to order my next one medium and ask for onion rings on the side.

                          Personally, I still like Bartley's better. Slightly smaller burgers, pretty good fries, great rings, and damn good frappes.

                          BK

                          1. re: BK
                            b
                            brianBOFH Sep 21, 2005 04:42 PM

                            Agreed.

                            The only burger I've had from O'Sullivans was medium and ended up purple in the middle(pretty unappetizing, i.e raw).

                            If you want the best burger, Bartley's is the quality - been there over twenty times and never had a raw burger or needed to send anything back. The milkshakes and onion rings are outstanding.

                            If you really need booze with your food, then go to O'Sullivans.

                            Bartley's now has the Arnold Schwarzenegger, two burgers with swiss. Terminated

                    4. b
                      Bob W. Sep 15, 2005 12:57 PM

                      Well, I'm not surprised the bearnaise burger no longer exists. With a pile of onion strings (a great sponge for the bearnaise sauce) you're talking about a true heart attack on a plate.

                      But damn was that a good meal!

                      1. v
                        VP Sep 15, 2005 09:20 PM

                        I haven't been to Bartley's or Sullivan's, so I can't make a proper comparison, but a friend recently took me to the Blues Cafe in Melrose. Had a surprisingly tasty burger there...perfectly cooked, just the right size, and served with homemade potato chips right out of the fryer. Certainly one of the best burgers I've ever had. Anyone been to the Blues Cafe who can compare the burgers to Bartley's or Sullivan's?

                        1. c
                          chris Sep 16, 2005 09:46 AM

                          Just had a bacon burger at audobahn circle and it was definately top two in the city, although ive never had tims and refuse to go to bartleys

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: chris
                            l
                            Linda W. Sep 16, 2005 10:39 AM

                            Why do you refuse to go to Bartley's?

                            1. re: Linda W.
                              p
                              phoebek Sep 16, 2005 06:30 PM

                              we don't go there because 1)it's usually too crowded and 2) they don't have beer or wine. . .

                              1. re: Linda W.
                                c
                                chris Sep 19, 2005 07:39 PM

                                Are there burgers fried? Plus i like more of a pub seen beer and burger

                              2. re: chris
                                c
                                chuck s Sep 16, 2005 04:04 PM

                                Not to be argumentative but to compare burgers is hard if Bartley's and Tim's are off the table. I personally like Bartley's. Been going there for about 35 years. I like it for the variety of toppings. My favorite is extra blue cheese. And also great sides including the cole slaw and rasberry-lime rickey. They do some nice non-burger dishes also like the turkey plate and the meatloaf sandwich. Great place to take kids and it is definitely a unique place. Tim's also is a unique Boston place, but I've never really taken to their burgers. Great combo plate of rings and fries though.

                              3. h
                                horrible Sep 16, 2005 10:58 AM

                                Another burger for the rankings: Atasca

                                It's a good sized, hand formed patty with Portugese cheese. It's not one of those monsters from O'sullivans and not as crumbly as Bartleys. Everytime I go it's perfectly juicy and tasty. Plus, it comes with their awesome fried potatoes.

                                It's in my top 3. When i want interesting toppings, I go to sully's. #2/#3 is a toss up between bartley's and Atasca. Although, I usually end up at Atasca to avoid the crowds at bartley's.

                                1. l
                                  Limster Sep 16, 2005 07:41 PM

                                  I think it depends on which style of burger and the price point.

                                  Bartley's tend to be juicier and dribbly (and more pricey). O'Sullivan's has a thicker patty and tends to be slightly drier, but meatier. I think of Tim's as a compromise between the two.

                                  Was happy with the one from Audobon Circle recently, reasonably moist, nice beefy flavour, even if it's not in the top league imho.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Limster
                                    o
                                    observor Jun 20, 2008 11:23 AM

                                    I had a bartley's burger recently and it was alright, no where near as good as Audubon Cir. in my opinion. And the fries are nondescript. My companion had a Greek salad that was sad.

                                    1. re: observor
                                      g
                                      Gabatta Jun 20, 2008 12:53 PM

                                      Was this in 2008 or 2005??

                                      1. re: Gabatta
                                        o
                                        observor Jun 21, 2008 11:02 AM

                                        "Recently"

                                      2. re: observor
                                        h
                                        heypielady Aug 1, 2008 01:18 PM

                                        I used to really like the Audubon Cir burger (used to being 2001-2002) but I had it Wednesday night (7/30) and was kind of disappointed. First, I ordered medium rare and it was medium well to well done. I don't care how good your burger could be if you can't cook it right. Second, and this might be a result of the over cooking but the meat just didn't taste good and was too hockey puck like. I like a more free-formed burger as opposed to the pre-formed ones.

                                        All this discussion makes me want to give Bartley's and R.F. another taste test. I used to really like R.F.'s but Bartley's never did it for me. It was the opposite of the audubon problem. The meat was scary raw and cold inside when I ordered a medium rare. Also I agree with other that I really want a pub atmosphere (and beer).

                                        Finally, a shout out to River Gods- LOVE their burger and to Eastern Standard.

                                    2. t
                                      tennisboy Aug 1, 2008 05:33 AM

                                      Bartley's is very over-rated. Burger way too meaty, and the service is awful (rude and arrogant). Onion rings unexciting. Milkshake average. Atmosphere fun, but it was freezing.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: tennisboy
                                        Bob Dobalina Aug 1, 2008 06:36 AM

                                        What exactly does "too meaty" mean?! I wouldn't want a burger that was "less meaty."

                                        1. re: tennisboy
                                          k
                                          kok229 Aug 4, 2008 05:40 AM

                                          Rarely have four words made so little sense. A friend and I went to Bartley's. He and I are from CT and Western MA respectively, and we do not like people in our "space". This was a challenge from the very beginning as it was lunch time. While we calmed ourselves down, rubbing elbows on both sides with the neighbors, we ordered our burgers and waited, appreciating the frenzied vibe and the varied decor about the place. The burgers and rings were great, but I still give the edge to RF's. As for service, I think part of the charm of places like this is the "tough love" service. Reminds me of a lunch at Pepe's Pizza in New Haven when I overheard a woman ask the waitress if they had salad. The waitress curtly replied. "No, just pizza". There's a reason why these places grow legendary, for the simple expertise of a great burger or pizza and not the service.

                                        2. m
                                          macadamianut Aug 1, 2008 06:48 AM

                                          I ate at Bartleys a couple of weeks ago. The burger was amazingly juicy and flavorful. I kept telling my husband how inexpensive I thought it was for the amount of food that comes on your plate. The cheeseburger was piled high with sweet potato fries and onion rings. I also had a delicious lime rickey. I felt as though they delivered a great value and it is important in that area because you have many college students and families.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: macadamianut
                                            t
                                            twentyoystahs Aug 1, 2008 07:09 AM

                                            I think Bartley's has a great burger and I love those sweet potato fries. But I wouldn't exactly call the place cheap. You have to order your fries separately, as well as your drink. By the time you order it all you're looking at a $10-15 lunch, plus tip. Yes, I think it's worth it, 'cause it is good...but you can certainly get a good burger, fries and drink for less.

                                            1. re: twentyoystahs
                                              marcusnaz14 Aug 1, 2008 09:07 AM

                                              Better off going to Neptune and spending that much. Better Fries, Bigger Burger (with Fried Oysters). They have my favorite burger in the city. I was very dissapointed by Bartleys.

                                              1. re: marcusnaz14
                                                t
                                                twentyoystahs Aug 1, 2008 10:02 AM

                                                Agreed. Or Eastern Standard.

                                                Re the fries. I remembered that you had to pay extra for fries but maybe that was if you wanted sweet potato instead of regular or maybe onion rings instead of regular....

                                              2. re: twentyoystahs
                                                Dea Aug 1, 2008 09:13 AM

                                                I think you mean order your onion rings seperately? Everytime I've gone the fries have been included with my burger.

                                                1. re: Dea
                                                  Joanie Aug 1, 2008 10:28 AM

                                                  And one or two of the burgers come w/ rings.

                                            2. TrishUntrapped Aug 1, 2008 11:58 AM

                                              I don't usually go to a restaurant for a burger because I can make my own (My ideal burger has a few carmelized onions on it, a slice of garden-picked tomato, one leaf of lettuce and salt and pepper). I'm a cheap Yankee that way.

                                              But the few times a year we come up to visit Boston, I usually want to go to Mr. Bartley's for lunch. I think the burgers are very good quality and juicy, and the Raspberry Lime Rickeys and frappes are terrific.

                                              The lunch crowd has never bothered me, they do a good job making sure the crowd moves along and you get seated as soon as possible. Also, I never found the service rude.

                                              This thread is great for opening up other burger ideas, thanks!

                                              1. Karl S Aug 2, 2008 08:16 AM

                                                Flat Patties should not be omitted from this discussion given that it's only 3 blocks from Bartley's. Yeah, it's in a lousy location, but then again I hate Bartley's plastic bucket seats. Thus I only do take-away from either. Flat Patties makes fantastic fries, and it's burgers are also great.

                                                O'Sullivans is good when it chooses to be so, which is far from always. It's way too inconsistent and unreliable.

                                                1. o
                                                  observor Aug 4, 2008 03:30 PM

                                                  I found Audubon to be superior to Bartley's...very flavorful, and potatoes that are superior to the nondescript fries of Bartley's. I don't think environment should necessarily be assessed when considering food, but Audubon's atmosphere is much more pleasant than Bartley's. I also don't think degree of doneness is something to be considered when considering the food...you can have the food be redone, though I have a hard time believing that medium-rare came out "medium-well to well done" at Audubon per heypielady, and if it did it may have just been an accident or mistake and should not result in the product being condemned based on that...

                                                  I think the casual environment of Bartley's can result in poor burgers. I also dislike the cutesy names for the food, when it makes it hard to know what you are looking at. Are five different names for burgers necessary when the only variation is a single topping?

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: observor
                                                    b
                                                    Blumie Aug 5, 2008 08:31 AM

                                                    I find it funny that you don't deduct points for atmosphere or preparation, but you do for the names on the menu! I hate cutesy names, too, but I love Bartley's burgers. (I always get the cheddarburger deluxe, so I get to avoid the cutesy names.)

                                                    1. re: Blumie
                                                      o
                                                      observor Aug 5, 2008 03:42 PM

                                                      I do deduct points for environment and preparation, I just think they shouldn't be given too much accordance. If Bartley's burgers were amazing, I wouldn't have a problem sitting in that atmosphere, but since they aren't that special, I wouldn't want to sit there. I just think since this is about *chow* I's not sure why people harp on atmosphere before they even talk about the food. As for the titles, I just find it aggravating when you can't even discern the menu because they are so enraptured by their "specialness"...since it pretty much just amounts to relatively standard topping variations.

                                                      1. re: observor
                                                        b
                                                        Blumie Aug 6, 2008 06:57 AM

                                                        I've come to appreciate how vitally important environmental factors (and other externalities) are to one's enjoyment of food. I am absolutely convinced that there's no such thing as "pure" deliciousness. That said, I find Bartley's burgers to be delicious!

                                                        1. re: Blumie
                                                          o
                                                          observor Aug 7, 2008 01:34 PM

                                                          I think environment is much more of a consideration when you are having a true dining experience (aka spending money), but I don't think about it so much for the casual place (and one can always get take out)

                                                          1. re: observor
                                                            b
                                                            Blumie Aug 8, 2008 04:28 PM

                                                            I disagree 100%, but this is not the place for the debate.

                                                    2. re: observor
                                                      Dax Aug 5, 2008 09:08 AM

                                                      I tend not to write off a place that screws up degrees of "doneness" once or twice, or at least is consistent in what "doneness" means to them (ie Tim's medium rare was still likely to moo so I tended to order medium there, which was closer to medium-rare at most places). However, overcooking a burger is not something I will tolerate with any regularity. It's very rare (snerk!) that I will send back a +/- $8 burger to be recooked to order so I only tend to go places I know are consistent.

                                                      1. re: Dax
                                                        o
                                                        observor Aug 5, 2008 03:47 PM

                                                        Each place should probably discern on their menus what doneness is to them (as I have seen before), and if they are not accurate in their execution, then I can understand how a place should be given off points for that. But I think the execution needs to be consistently poor to warrant dismissing a place...a one-time poor execution to me is not enough to justify publicly harassing them.

                                                        1. re: observor
                                                          Dax Aug 5, 2008 05:05 PM

                                                          "a one-time poor execution to me is not enough to justify publicly harassing them." Agreed, but 3 out of 3 was enough for me to write off Intermission Tavern just before I moved. Medium well burgers are not even close to medium rare; that char is unmistakably off-putting.

                                                    3. t
                                                      twitchology Aug 5, 2008 07:20 PM

                                                      I'm one of those folks who never orders a burger when I'm out - I'm too happy with my own, although occasionally I'll order a bistro-style burger at a high end restaurant when I hear there's something unique about it (although I'm usually disappointed. I did this with the Radius burger).

                                                      I didn't make it to Bartley's while I was in Cambridge. Is it really a must-do in the area, or is it more or less just another burger when you get down to the food? Does it have a nice crispy outside and a nice rarish inside?

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: twitchology
                                                        Bob Dobalina Aug 6, 2008 05:25 AM

                                                        53 replies to this thread (one of many) speaks for itself, don't you think? :)

                                                      2. k
                                                        kristinayee May 6, 2009 06:50 AM

                                                        This post is a tad old, but I thought I'd resurrect it given that I just went to Bartley's this past weekend. And I think we are just now coming down off of our glorious meat high. A Cambridge landmark since the 1960's, we discovered Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage while in college and never looked back. To this day, it is our go to location for 70z. of fresh ground, choice beef. Kitsch, long lines, scrounging for parking, cash only, snarky staff, no liquor, no bathroom - it's all worth it for what Bartley's has to offer; No frills, efficiency, greasy diner, good ol' burger yumminess.

                                                        Choose from a list of quirky, fun named burgers, all with different toppings and condiments, grab one of their thick malted frappes and you're good to go. Oh, don't forget to try the onion rings, they're delicious. If you can't decide between the fries or the onion rings, get the Burger Deluxe, it comes with both! My most recent try was the "Dice K", with garlic and teriyaki sauce. It had such great flavor, I am going to try to duplicate it at home. Not great for the breath, but no worries, Bartley's offers sprigs of parsley at the front counter just for freshening up the breath!

                                                        www.thevitullos.blogspot.com

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: kristinayee
                                                          hiddenboston May 6, 2009 07:09 AM

                                                          This thread is old, so just a reminder that it's O'Sullivan's (not Sullivan's) in Somerville. Sullivan's is the name of a burger/hot dog stand in Southie (and also a dive bar in Charlestown).

                                                          Having said that, I'm thinking that my favorite burger in the Boston area right now is either Five Guys in Dedham, Zon's in JP, O'Sullivan's in Somerville, or Mr. Bartley's in Cambridge. And add to that list a really obscure one (Cappy's Tavern in Readville).

                                                          1. re: hiddenboston
                                                            Dax May 6, 2009 08:20 AM

                                                            Well if you are getting technical, it's RF O'Sullivan and Son or just "Sully's" amongst our crew (when I lived there). And unless the Dedham Five Guys is an anomaly when compared with the other chain locations, no way in hell is Five Guys nearly as good as Sully's or Barley's. I mean it's an ok burger but not a destination based on my observations from eating at the Atlanta and Birmingham locations. Might fine fries though, much better than the hunks o' tater at Sully's.

                                                            1. re: Dax
                                                              jgg13 May 6, 2009 01:47 PM

                                                              That must mean that Five Guys really isn't very good if it can't compare to Bartleys & O'Sullivans :)

                                                              1. re: jgg13
                                                                BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 6, 2009 04:19 PM

                                                                It's such a pointless comparison that it's not even worth making. Kenji Alt's recent coining of "west coast" and "east coast"-style burgers is useful nomenclature. Five Guys, like Flat Patties or Uburger, does thin, griddled patties. Bartley's and O'Sullivan do fat grilled patties. They're two different things, and claiming one style is better than the other is merely proclaiming one's personal taste.

                                                                I mean, I think Bartley's absolutely sucks, but that's because I think they do a wretched version of their style of burger, not that I don't like that style of burger.

                                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                  t
                                                                  twentyoystahs May 6, 2009 06:06 PM

                                                                  I agree; can't compare Uburger with, say, Eastern Standard, across the street. They are both good, in their own way, but very very different.

                                                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                                    r
                                                                    robertlf May 6, 2009 09:23 PM

                                                                    Ditto. Love the style. Hate the Bartley's version. Have you tried the burger at Bouchee'? The "Hamburger w/pomme frites" not the Bouchee foie gros burger. BTW - I'm getting hungry as I type this...

                                                                    http://www.boucheebrasserie.com

                                                                    1. re: robertlf
                                                                      ellen4441 May 6, 2009 09:35 PM

                                                                      what is it about Bartley's burger that some of you don't like?
                                                                      I love a charbroiled burger; is Bartley's charbroiled?

                                                                      I do HATE to hear that Bartley's has no bathrooms !
                                                                      That is not cool!

                                                                      Also, tell me about some good charbroiled burger joints around Boston; I love homemade fries, as well !!

                                                                      1. re: ellen4441
                                                                        BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 6, 2009 10:44 PM

                                                                        As many have already said, the Bartley's burger is a grease bomb. Its adherents claim it's a "juicy" burger, but it's not so much juicy as it is simply sodden with grease. I have never had the bun on a Bartley's burger last much beyond the third bite -- it just dissolves from the onslaught of half-melted fat. And the worst of it is that even though the burger is so unappetizingly wet, it actually tastes little of beef. (Why do you think they pile on the toppings so freely? To keep people from noticing how flavorless the burger itself is!)

                                                                        Bartley's has its fans, unquestionably. But I think it's a lousy, lousy rendition of the style.

                                                                        1. re: ellen4441
                                                                          jgg13 May 7, 2009 07:28 AM

                                                                          I actually "don't dislike" Bartleys. I don't mind eating there, I just don't go out of my way to do so. I really wanted to like O'Sullivans when I was first pointed there and I've had some good burgers there but gave up due to underseasoned meat and wildly inconsistent cooking. If I always order "medium rare" I should at least get relatively the same thing every time (preferably that same thing would be medium rare)

                                                            2. TrishUntrapped May 7, 2009 04:55 AM

                                                              I very rarely order burgers when I am out because I can make them at home better...

                                                              and yet...I really like the Bartley's burger.

                                                              Different strokes....

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped
                                                                yumyum May 7, 2009 07:44 AM

                                                                I like it too, Trish. I think the meat they use is superior, and while some call it greasy, I call it juicy. Clearly not everyone agrees -- and that's fine with me.

                                                                1. re: yumyum
                                                                  Dax May 8, 2009 09:04 AM

                                                                  My thoughts too. Griddled burgers tend to seem a lot greasier to me and not being able to specify doneness to order is just plain silly.

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