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Apr 25, 2010 07:46 PM

Jfood back to Cherry Street East - Great Burger & Onion Rings in New Canaan, CT

“Déjà vu all over again” – Yogi Berra

In April 2006, Cherry Street East (affectionately called CSE) suffered the greatest catastrophe that can strike any business when it became engulfed in flames. A total loss, ten years later, with the building rebuilt to its former glory the legendary burgers continue to draw crowds on a daily basis.

Jfood is glad to send people to CSE. The 8-ounce burgers are ground daily on the premises and then hand formed taking great care to keep the integrity of the meat intact, you still see the grind of the meat. The half-pound size allows for a nice thick presentation, and it is fully capable of handling any of the numerous combinations of toppings that include traditional tomato, lettuce, grilled peppers and onions plus guacamole, jalapeno peppers and salsa. Upon the delicious first bite you will understand why people love the Cherry Street East burger. Jfood religiously orders the Vermonster with American cheese. The meat has a great flavor, full, rich, reminiscent of all the burgers you love when you grill at home. While the Kaiser roll is the standard fare, Jfood recommends the English muffin. The additional flavor of the muffin adds a little sharpness to the burgers deep flavor.

The other item that Jfood loves at CSE are the house cut onion rings. Each morning pounds of onions are hand cut and readied for the day. The coating is light and crispy and the onions are soft and wonderful. They arrive unsalted, but each table is equipped with individual salt and pepper grinders. A lunch of a burger and onion rings in this friendly establishment is one of the best ways to spend a lazy afternoon.

The delectable burgers, onion rings, and fries can be accompanied by a selection of six beers on tap including Bass, Bud Light, Guiness, Sierra Ale, Smithwick’s Ale, and Stella. In addition, several choices of beer are available in bottles. And when Jfood orders his normal glass of water, his order is always well received. The always occupied bar offers three strategically placed TV’s broadcasting sports, CNN, ESPN or MSNBC. Jfood also likes the extremely relaxed, engaging and friendly atmosphere. The staff has been there for years and treats everyone like a member of the family.

Cherry Street East is a destination spot for a great hamburger. If you are in the mood for a great hand formed, perfectly cooked burger with a side of fries and some house prepared onion rings, then Cherry Street East is a great place to satisfy your craving. A fuller review with photos can be seen at

Cherry Street East
45 East Ave, New Canaan, CT 06840

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  1. yogi is one of my favorite people on the planet. he once said, "you can observe a lot just by watching." his words apply to cherry street east.

    are the burgers great? no. are they pretty good? yes. is sitting at the bar, reading the paper and watching life go by a fine way to spend a lunch hour? oh yeah.

    13 Replies
    1. re: steve h.

      What in Fairfield County would you rank ahead of CSE? Have you found any that you would consider "great"?

      1. re: foleyd7

        Howdy foleyd7,
        There are no "great" hamburgers in Fairfield County. CSE's effort is pretty good, as is Brennan's. I visit both with some regularity. Rory's, too. Napa trumps them all but it's pricey and doesn't afford the same opportunity for people watching.

        1. re: steve h.

          We made it to CSE tonight for dinner with out kids for my Birthday. (Dinner with my wife (and no kids) comes on Saturday in Westport).
          We went to CSE about 8 years ago before kids and my faint recollection was: I don't recall hating it, but I don't recall dying to get back.
          So how did this long awaited return fare? On paper, there were more bads than goods.

          The bads:
          everything breaded: the zucchini sticks (for kids), the fried mozz (for kids), and the onion rings (for me and wife). The breading was way too thick for my liking (though not overly heavy or greassy). Personally, I liked the thick cut of the onion rings, but they were burried in breadding. I like thick cut onions with a very light batter.
          the red sauce for the zucchini and mozz and kids pasta: chunky and pasty and a touch sweet/sugary. It may have been fresh but didn't seem so. I bit of crushd red pepper and oil to thin it out would have been much better.
          The description of the bun: on the menu it stated "hard roll" which I don't like at all for burgers. JFood's review above noted a Kaiser roll and I shoudl have trusted his memory - - - for it was served on a soft Kaiser roll. I choose an English muffin (good) but would have preferred the Kaiser.
          The doneness of the burgers: I ordered a burger on Eng muffin with tomato and dijon mustard prepared med rare. My wife ordered a burger with cheddar on (Kaiser) roll served med. Mine came out with almost no discernable pinkness and my wife's came out brown through and through.

          The good:
          The meat and the grilling (crust / char). The meat had a very good flavor and the crust and char were exceptional for a burger cooked indoors. This alone made the trip worth it. Even being over cooked to our specifications, these were not at all dry and had good flavor.
          The fries. As JFood mentioned, give them a twist of salt and dig in. These were served piping hot with a good crust and a good fresh-cut potato flavor.

          While the bads seemed to outweigh the goods from my visit, I would say it was still a good visit overall because the burgers and fries (which were the reaon we came) were the stars of the night. We'd definetly go back - - - but we'd stick to just burgers and fries and order them a bit more undercooked.

          PS: These were among the best "dining out" burgers we've had in a long time. I wouldn't choose them over my own home made charchol grilled rendition - - - but for a casual dining out (with kids) burger option in Fairfield County, I can't think of anything that would beat Cherry Street East.

          Cherry Street East
          45 East Ave, New Canaan, CT 06840

          1. re: foleyd7

            I'm a fan of Cherry Street East, warts and all.
            Is their burger great? No. Will I return for lunch at the bar? Oh yeah.
            I enjoyed your summary.

            Cherry Street East
            45 East Ave, New Canaan, CT 06840

            1. re: foleyd7

              well well well, the jfoods were there as well tonight for a vermonster, sweet potato fries and onion rings. interesting in that jfood thought the rings were a little over-breaded tonight, thanks for confirming. burger was great though and the english muffin was way better than the soft roll. mrs jfood's comment..."how come they do not grill the roll?" that's why jfood recommends the english, yup its toasted.
              there is still no better burger within 8 miles. now you see why the reviews focus on the burgers, fries and rings.

              1. re: jfood

                Good to see that "great" has been edited out.
                Well done.
                At the end of the day, burgers are subjective things. Dining out is mighty subjective, too as foleyd7 makes clear.
                I'm glad CSE rose from the ashes. CSE, Rory's, Brennans, others are neighborhood traditions that should be treasured. Colony, too but that's another story.

                1. re: steve h.

                  "Steve H and jfood agree on how to approach thisplace. It's a very good, not great burger (everyone knows where the better ones are), but sitting there and ready the paper, evesdropping on others lie about a bunch of stuff and watch people is a New Canaan experience."
                  ---January 14, 2010.

                  1. re: steve h.

                    Anyone tried Fraiche in Fairfield? Supposedly has a great burger too.
                    This place has been on my list for some time and it's just a couple miles from me but I haven't sampled it yet. This will have to be my next burger stop.

                    Fraiche Restaurant
                    75 Hillside Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824

                    1. re: foleyd7

                      I'm not sure, but I drove by a week ago on the way to work, and there seemed to be some sort of For Sale sign on the window.

                      I'd try to give them a call before heading over.

                      1. re: foleyd7

                        Are they still open? I heard they had closed. We've been there many times in the past, but the food was kind of slipping and there was just something off with the FOH in general. Always had a weird vibe.
                        That being said, the burger there was very good, on par with some other top burgers in Westport and Stamford.
                        They also opened FraicheBurger in Bridgeport, but I haven't been.
                        Let me know if you find anything out!

                    2. re: jfood

                      I must confess that the rings weren't really bad, just not my style. These rings seemed to be of the beer battered style in which they are 100% engulfed in the coating (such that you can slice the ring, pull out the onion, and be left with an intact coated shell). Some people really like that style. I prefer mine very lightly breaded with onion actually exposed. Flipside does their breadding this way, but they do shoe-string cuts instead of fat cut onions. If I could take the fat cut onions from CSE and have Flipside coat and cook them, I'd be in heaven.

                      PS: my daughter had a brief 10 minute whining episode when we first arrived around 5:30 because she was overly hungry and didn't want to wait for her mozz sticks- - - hope that didn't disturb anyone who may have been there last night!

                      1. re: foleyd7

                        take a look at the photo on the rings last night were different than those in the photo and which jfood is used to. btw - did not arrive til after 6 so not there during your event.


                        1. re: foleyd7

                          really good onion rings are hard to find. I like thin, thin slices soaked in buttermilk, lightly tossed in seasoned flour and fried for a short time.
                          having said that, i'll take large, fresh onion slices, battered and fried with some measure of expertise any day over so-so fries.
                          i like string fries, too. go figure.

              2. Read your ctbites article this morning. Nicely done. My mouth was watering, but I prefer buns. Although english muffins come in a very close second.