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Squires Briarcliff--Overrated Burgers in a Cavelike Atmosphere

Locals rave about the burgers at this neighborhood favorite, which features a tired bar with 2 flat screens and a windowless stuffy, cramped dining room behind it with a low lit, dark wood trimmed nautical theme.

I went last night, after my wife refused to cook, given that she had cooked for Thanksgiving crowds in previous days. Even on a cold, rainy night, the dining room was full, the air smoky with smoke that escapes the tiny see through kitchen in the back of the dining room.

We figured it would be a good Bear Market Sunday NIght Dinner.

The prices are right. At 895 for a good sized cheesburger and fries, you will get out cheap. Squires also serves seafood from a specials menu on the wall, but I did not see anyone in the room ordering fish.

The " triple cheese medium" cheese burger I ordered came out over cooked on the outside and rare on the inside, with the 3 kinds of cheese slices not melted.
The roll not toasted. Fries were fine, but the burger, while edible, was nothing to go back for.

The dining room is in desparate need of a cleaning. Everything has a layer of dust or grime on it. Now I like a dive as much as the next guy, but this place is over the top. Service willing but understandably rushed.

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  1. Overrated? In comparison to what?

    4 Replies
    1. re: dolores

      Compared to other burger joints in the area.

          1. re: steelydad

            Oh, I see what you mean. Their food is okay, but it's no Squire's. And I am not impressed with Michael's ambience either.

            Mmmmm, wish I had a Squire's cheeseburger and fries right now.

    2. Everyone has a right to thier opinion however, if your burger was not cooked properly you should have sent it back. The staff would have been happy to re-do it. Squires just recieved a glowing right up from the New York Times and thus business has been booming. You obviously miss the point of the decor and I have never seen the place dirty or dusty. I have been going there for the last ten years and the food has been consistently excellent, yes the seafood too. I would not describe the bar as tierd, but full of lively freindly, people who are happy to sit, chat and enjoy while watching a game. Perhaps you will give the place a second try, but if not there will be one more table or bar stool available for those who know good food and service and appriciate it.

      1. I've always been happy with the burgers at Squires - it's the only thing I come for! The mushroom and swiss burger is my fav. Definitely agree with Bridget - they'd be more than willing to accomodate if your burger wasn't to your liking. Do give the place another try before writing Squires off completely.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sra. Swanky

          I agree. I'm still not sure exactly what places the OP prefers.

          I like Squires just fine.

          1. re: dolores

            Right on, Dolores! My DH and I drive there from White Plains whenever we need a soul-stirring, juicy burger fix. I've even had other food there, which was quite good as I recall.And I love the way the place looks -- it's as cozy and homey as the Cabin is trying to be...but isn't.

        2. I grew up in Briarcliff and I think Squires' burgers are pretty good, but don't understand the raves they get. I think they're actually a bit small, but that's probably b/c most other places serve gigantic burgers. Their cajun chicken sandwich is also good. Haven't tried any of the fish entrees. The atmosphere doesn't bother me, but I agree in that it's pretty good, not great.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Solstice444

            >>>most other places serve gigantic burgers.

            Seriously? Such as?

            I'm still waiting for the places against which Squires is overrated.

              1. re: dolores

                Places such as Chili's that serve huge burgers. Chili's and those chains aren't great restaurants of course, but they serve large portions. I think that the burgers are the best things on their menus, so I'm used to larger burgers. Of course those burgers are oversized and you don't need to eat that much, but sadly that's what I've gotten used to. Maybe Squires does serve larger burgers than local non-chain burger places, so I'm sorry for the confusion.

            1. After having not been to Squire's in a long time, we returned tonight for burgers. I very much disagree with steelydad's review--indeed our burgers were great (smothered burger and Mexican burger--both nicely charred and cooked medium rare as ordered, with melted cheese), service was excellent, and the 'dive' was quite clean! No smoke odors, and people at the next table had fish, which looked really good. We also had to wait awhile for an available table, apparently others disagree as well. As far as everything having a layer of dust or grime on it, wow, saw no evidence of that. And the 'tired' bar was packed with very friendly, animated people.

              1. The best burger in the New York metropolitan area, period. Edges out Broome St. Bar's (corner of Broome and West Broadway), a close second, or Big Nick's or J.G. Melon's which at least in my book are tied for third. Miles better than Blue Smoke's, Donovan's, Burger Heaven's, Jackson Hole's, Shake Shack's, or P.J. Clarke's, or the rest of the places that people like to claim serve exceptional hamburgers but, more often than not, are simply perpetrators of fraud on a bun. (Michael's in Pleasantville has nice onion rings, but I'd rather snort with a straw the detritus that has collected along the bottom inner seam of my wallet than eat the burger.) If you set aside the fried burgers, and the burgers with inferior or spice-doctored beef, and the burgers cooked to a gray homogeneous mass that leak juices but are otherwise indistinguishable from the left hand of the person sitting across from you, there aren't a ton of contenders left, and Squires beats them all with a truncheon. I suppose we all know that by some accident of language, Squires and Chili's both find themselves serving an item known as a burger, but I don't eat burgers at Chili's for the same reason I don't like being lied to. And traducing Squires as "tired" or "smoky" or "grim[y]" misses the point entirely, in the same way that vilifying Blue Hill as "unelaborate" or McDonald's as "commercial" might. Look, if you've been to Squires, you know, for good or ill, and need no words. If you haven't, Squires is a gem, induplicable, invaluable, every facet worn down to perfection by the decades. (And the service sucks enough that I once rose from my table to retrieve my burger from the kitchen window after experiencing a full minute of agony imagining the air ravishing the heat out of that beautiful object with every passing second, but I don't go to hospitals for the coffee, concerts for the conversation, or dives for the service. Also, do the rings, not the fries, which are substandard.) But the burger is the best. I'm telling you.

                Squires Restaurant
                N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

                5 Replies
                1. re: chowbound

                  Amen to your post... Squires is what it is - fantasic burgers (and decent other food) in a setting that lets you focus on your food. We've had several enjoyable evenings there, including dinner at the bar 2x when the dining room was too busy. Bar tender was very friendly and made a wonderful Bloody Mary. We haven't been for awhile, so I'm inspired to go tomorrow! Thanks!

                  1. re: chowbound

                    Another amen!! I'm jonesing for a burger now...maybe *after* all the holiday treats - something to look forward to!

                    1. re: chowbound

                      Dang, Chowbound! Well said!.. We live around the corner and NEVER have I been disappointed by the burgers at Squires. When you want a great burger, that is the place to go. "nuff said.

                      1. re: mikey77711

                        Amen. Couldn't agree more for those of us in northern-ish Westchester.

                      2. re: chowbound

                        I still prefer Chili's burgers to Squires, and I certainly don't feel like I'm being lied to when I eat there, but to each his/her own. If everyone liked the same things, then the world wouldn't go round would it?

                      3. i've been to squire's a number of times, and mostly the food was ok. the last time i was there we had a very bad experience -- they took forever to seat us (staff stood around yakking, pretending that we weren't there, while a number of tables stood empty), service was slug-slow, burger was still-kicking raw (i'd asked for medium rare), and the waitress had a post-doc in `surly`. on the strength of what i've read here and elsewhere, part of me wants to go back; but another part says `even just once, that kind of bizarre treatment & attitude warrants crossing them off the list forever`.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: hubBubba

                          HubBubba I highly doubt you were at Squires. The service at Squires is friendly and polite. The owner is almost always there making sure thngs go smoothly and he is often in the kitchen cooking when it gets busy, which is pretty much every night. If the line backs up to the door each night it must be for a reason. I am sure the reasons are that the food is awsome and the burgers are the best. It was no accident that it was written up in the New York Times and Westchester magazine.

                          1. re: BridgetC

                            It was madness there on Friday night about 7:30pm - couldn't get in the door, so we sighed and went off to Landmark Diner. Burger was good but it wasn't Squires.

                            1. re: Nancy C

                              Got there before the rush on friday. Burger couldn't have been better and the waitress was nice as could be and real helpful. It can get crowded but I've yet to have a bad burger or a bad service experience. And this thread just keeps making me want to go back and have another burger, mmmmm

                            2. re: BridgetC

                              BridgetC... u'd be highly wrong / just sayin ☺

                            3. re: hubBubba

                              Hubba Hubba Bubba--- Glad to see that someone else has had the same experience as I. Chowhound-- sounds like you lived in Manhattan for long enough to sample burgers at some of the finest burger joints in the city. I understand the local pride in the food, but the gnarly, grimy dining room in the back has negaitve charm. The last time i was there, I sat about 10 feet from the kitchen door, and 3 feet away was an open garbage can for dirty napkins. Now you tell me, is that local charm or just not giving a rat's ---s about the decor because you know your customers are loyal and will show up anyway?

                              24 N Main St, Port Chester, NY 10573

                              1. re: steelydad

                                Have you been back to Squire's in the 2 years since you initially reviewed? If not, what is your purpose in dredging up this thread to bash the joint again?

                                1. re: Marge

                                  I didn't realize you weren't allowed to dredge up old threads. Sometimes you notice a thread you never replied to and you'd like to do so, despite it being awhile later.

                                  1. re: Solstice444

                                    Who said you weren't allowed to dredge up old threads? I was asking if the purpose for doing so was to update relevant information, or to pile on more bashing regarding an experience two years ago.

                                    1. re: Marge

                                      I was being sarcastic. I was trying to make the point that maybe he wasn't dredging up old threads to bash it again, but that he was replying to two people's posts in this thread that perhaps he hadn't seen until recently.

                                      1. re: Solstice444

                                        Oh, I see, but I don't get why you responded rudely to my question of Steelydad... whatever...I lack the sarcasm appreciation gene...

                                2. re: steelydad

                                  Steelydad, I'm kinda glad you "dredged up" this thread cause I can now add my 2 cents without feeling like I was the one who dredged it up. I've always felt Squires' burgers were way overrated. The dining room always seemed dirty and looked like the inside of an old packing crate. If you aren't a local, you often get indifferent service and find items missing from your order. Their burgers are just OK - not "amazing" . And for anyone who asks "Where can you get a better burger?", my answer is that you can throw some good ground beef on your grill or into a frying pan and cook up a better burger than what is served at Squires.

                                3. re: hubBubba

                                  little confused by your post:
                                  "i've been to squire's a number of times, and mostly the food was ok."
                                  "on the strength of what i've read here and elsewhere, part of me wants to go back;"

                                  so you've been a number of times but part of you wants to go back based on what you read here? If you've been a number of times, sounds like you're in position to decide on your own? How many times is "a number of times"? Why would you go back if the food was "mostly ok"?

                                  1. re: vinouspleasure

                                    (a) yes
                                    (b) sounds can be misleading
                                    (c) 9
                                    (d) because "mostly ok" is lots better than "blech!", and because it's conveniently located.

                                    Squires Restaurant
                                    N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

                                4. Blazer Pub kills the burgers at Squires.
                                  Squires is decent, but nothing special, and the dining room is indeed off-puttingly in need of renovation.

                                  Blazer Pub
                                  RR 22, Purdys, NY 10578

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: weedy

                                    That may very well be re: Blazer's Pub, but for now I'd rather drive 10 minutes for a very fine burger at Squires than 30+ minutes to Purdys, unless I happen to be over that way for some reason.

                                    That said, I agree, they make enough $ at Squires that it's time to invest in a rehab of their 1968-era space (looks like the basement rec room renovation my dad did back then). Wish they'd take over that large empty storefront in uptown Croton where the Wondrous Things used to be!

                                    1. re: weedy

                                      So glad to see that others' opinions of the decor ( "The dining room always seemed dirty and looked like the inside of an old packing crate. "....."the dining room is indeed off-puttingly in need of renovation." ) and the service ( If you aren't a local, you often get indifferent service and find items missing from your order. ) are in line with mine.

                                      Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to All. May we all find some new worthwhile dining spots in the desert of Northern Westchester in 2011!!!

                                      1. re: steelydad

                                        We don't go there often enough to be recognized as a "local" but have never had a problem with the service. We had a particularly nice dinner one night by sitting at the bar, ordering our burgers, and having a VERY good bloody mary stirred up by their skilled bartender.