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Dec 10, 2009 10:42 AM

New Jersey's best burgers: Where Are They Now?

The best burgers I've ever had were in NJ. I grew up there but have been living in CA for the past twenty years.

Some of the places I recall having great burgers(remember, this was 20 years ago. Things have probably changed):

What's Your Beef: Rumson
Ichabod's: Sea Bright
Hook Line and Sinker: Rumson

Various small neighborhood taverns around the state, who's names I can't recall, that had a grill behind the bar and the bartender would cook them, or in tiny kitchens off the bar; they always seemed to have the best burgers. 6-8 oz. of beef, preferably on a kaiser roll with simple toppings like sauteed mushrooms and onions, bacon, cheddar cheese sauce, bleu cheese.

So where are NJ's great burgers now? Not the fancy-schmancy stuff like expensive Kobe beef topped with gourmet cheeses and other nonsense that seems to be so common these days. Just your good old fashioned basic burgers with basic toppings.

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  1. Tabor Road Tavern, Morris Plains. Lunch only though.

    PJ Finnegans in Westwood is pretty good.

    DB Bistro in the city is the gold standard, though.

    1. The Iron Horse in Westwood has Great Burgers they have these stuffed ones that are amazing. They were voted the best in Bergen County a few times.
      There is a diner in Butler on Main Street that would give the Iron Horse a run for its money on Stuffed burgers. They are not only great tasting but they are very big and filling.

      There is also White Mana in Hackensack for mini slider type burgers. Those are fabulous as well.

      8 Replies
      1. re: NJfoodLover

        "There is also White Manna in Hackensack for mini slider type burgers. Those are fabulous as well."

        Yeah. I saw that place on CBS Sunday Morning segment a few weeks ago. The sliders looked really mouth watering and a bargain at only 5 for $5!

        1. re: NJfoodLover

          Agreed Iron Horse in Westwood has great stuffed burgers.

          But, I'd rather go to Rutt's Hut for the deep fried hot dogs and special relish.......

          1. re: Ken H

            Iron Horse Burgers are ok, but the fries are those big honking steak fries right out of the freezer. Where is the best burger with fresh peeled fries? That's what I want.

            Oh yes...a nice cold ale or microbrew would complete the perfect meal.

              1. re: tommy

                Thanks's on the list. Great review of the place on your blog.

                1. re: tommy

                  Was there not that long ago and enjoyed it. A friend had a burger and he liked it very much.

            1. re: NJfoodLover

              What is the name of the diner? I do LOVE great diners. Thanks.

              1. re: phDuh

                Sorry I never saw this but a year later here is your answer. It is the Butler Family Diner and Restaurant. I have been back a few times since this post and the burgers get better each time. There is a Broccoli and Cheddar Burger that is amazing!

            2. The Montville Inn in Montville has an Applewood Smoked Bacon & Blue Cheese Burger with Crispy Potatoes on their Lunch and Tavern menus


              Dinallo's in River Edge also has a very good Bacon Blue Cheese Burger with Fresh Cut Fries

              7 Replies
              1. re: fourunder

                I was very surprised -- went there for a business lunch and my friend who is a regular there strongly recommended the burger. Long story short -- it was very good. Good flavor, substantial, meaty, etc.

                1. re: ELA


                  which place did you go to Montville Inn or Dinallo?


                  1. re: fourunder

                    Dinallo's. It's right around the corner from my office. I used to go there a lot when it was Boodles...back in the day, LOL. I haven't been to the Montville Inn in a couple of months, and the last few times I was there, I didn't have the burger. I've had it before though.

                    1. re: ELA

                      Thanks for coming back.....someone will be very disappointed to know you had an enjoyable experience there. Boodle's does bring back fond memories for me as well. The Sunday Brunch was a favorite for Bloody Marys.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        Coming back? Well, I never really left, just didn't go, LOL. I used to go there after work, for dinner, to meet friends, etc. Was friendly with owners and staff. After it was reincarnated to Dinallo's, like with many places, things change. A few other places became the more go-to spot or whatever the case might be. The crowd changed a bit too -- got to be an "older" crowd, simply "older" than it was previously.

                        Why will someone be disappointed to know I had an enjoyable experience? I know several people who go there several times a week for business lunches. Since my lunch there with my business associate -- I've gone back there again and brought about 5 of my associates.

                        1. re: ELA

                          Coming back?

                          I meant as responding to my query. I am not affiliated with Dinallo in any way....other than being a satisfied patron.

                          Why will someone be disappointed to know I had an enjoyable experience?

                          There is someone who likes to denigrate restaurants she's obviously never been too, and I have caller her out. I have recommended Dinallo's on more than one occasion and have stated I am a regular there. Very petty. And yes, the crowd is older. If you are under 60, you are truly only a baby there.

                          1. re: ELA

                            btw....if you haven't tried the Sliced Steak Sandwich at Dinallo yet. give it a go. It's even better than the burger. My other stand by is the Veal Milanese over Arugula topped with the house made fresh mozzarella and chopped tomatoes. They usually serve it with an Italian dressing, but I ask for the Olive Oil and fresh lemon wedges instead. The secret house sandwich is veal and broccoli rabe....sort of like the Philly special.

                            Sunday is always Braciole

                2. Was in Westwood last weekend so this thread gave me the idea of stopping in at Iron Horse, where I hadn't been for 10 years. Well, it will be at least that long until I get back there again!

                  There was something about the place that seemed unclean. that combined with a seemingly endless parade of waiters and bus help carrying cans of garbage past our table, and it was only 7:30PM! The coleslaw that they offer before the main course arrived was straight out of a tub, the processed supermarket variety. The minestrone soup we ordered was Campbell's or the like. The burger was only fair.

                  Finnegan's, just 2 blocks away, blows the IH away. It's clean, they have homemade soup, and the burger is better and juicier.

                  Iron Horse, bah humbug!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: menton1

                    I have to agree with you. We stopped going during their version of Oktoberfest.
                    Yuch!!! We found it dirty looking too.

                  2. Very good burgers in Jersey City at Light Horse Tavern and at Edward's Steak House (in the tavern room).