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Mr. Bartley's worth it?

I'll be up in Boston for a short vacation in a couple months, and for me, it's never too early to start planning the food portion of the trip!

One of the days I'll be in/near Kendall Square around lunch time. I've received some help and recommendations for food around there, but I was wondering if it was worth it to go a little out of the way and visit Mr. Bartley's?

Reading some reviews online it seems the experiences there are pretty varied, from amazing to disappointed. I don't need something amazing for lunch since I'm looking to stay around or below $15 per person, but I certainly don't want to be disappointed during one my few lunches on the trip. What are the opinions of all the trustworthy CHs?


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  1. If you want a burger and are going to be in Kendall Square, I'd just go to Catalyst. No need to over complicate things.

    1. I don't think it's worth a special trip to go to Mr. Bartley's. If, however, you are in Harvard Square, stop in an get a lime rickey to go. Bartley's makes one of the best in the area because they make their own syrup and are generous with the limes. It's a very refreshing drink on a hot day.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Velda Mae

        Thanks, now I'm craving their lime rickey and have no way to get to Harvard Sq!!! Best Lime Ricky I ever had.

      2. Whether or not it's "worth" it depends totally on what you're looking for. The atmosphere/environment is fun, and likely to be worth going to with a group if you want that experience, but it's unlikely that anyone who went out of their way specifically for the food would find that to be worth it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: FinnFPM

          To put it another way, they brag that they don't season their meat. IMO that's about all that needs to be said if one's purely asking about food quality.

        2. It's definitely not worth a special trip given the good food in Kendall and across the bridge

          1. Thanks for saving me from disappointment everyone!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Lefty721

              I doubt you would've been disappointed, Bartley's has plenty of fans here.

              1. re: Lefty721

                If you'd have expected an amazing burger or an amazing experience, sure, you would have been disappointed. But if you just wanted to check out a venerable old-school burger joint with (arguably) some of the best burgers & lime rickeys in town, in a spot with tons of character and local flavor... you'd have a good time.

                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  OP: "I don't need something amazing for lunch".

                  That said, I think Bartley's burgers and rings are as good as anywhere in town and it is definitely a unique Boston experience.

                  1. re: Gabatta

                    Bartley's burgers are as good as any other in Boston? That is a bold statement.

              2. Or you could go to Miracle of Science for a good burger at the $10 price point if you are craving a burger

                1. Not worth a special trip, but if you're in the area it's a good stop.

                  1. Put me in the "worth making the trip" column. Multiple combinations will give you whatever you are looking for in a burger. I get the blue burger. The rings and lime rickeys are must sides. You can stroll through Harvard Yard, also a must if you've never been, then exit through the gates on either side of the library and you are there.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chuck s

                      Despite my maligning their burgers, I also would put it in the "you should go there at least once" camp. It works well as a tourist spot. The lime rickeys are great and I dig their onion rings. It has a vibrant atmosphere.

                      Their burgers aren't *terrible*, it's just that the days of them being anywhere near the conversation of "best burger in town" are *long* gone.

                    2. The burgers definitely aren't fancy, but I do think it's a great experience! I actually really enjoy the burgers. Obviously it isn't the Craigie on Main burger, but they have a variety of fun toppings and the lime rickeys are pretty good too :)

                      1. I love Bartley's. It is sui generis. I'm sure there are better burgers, perhaps more convenient, but this is a great and tasty way to experience the old Harvard Square.

                        1. It seems that I have a decision to make then! Thanks for the continued input. The CH boards never disappoint.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Lefty721

                            I work in Kendall, one day a group of us decided to walk to Bartleys, for fun and a good burger. It was a long walk, we had a blast and felt like we walked off some of the calories. There were 10 of us and we were all generally pleased with our choices ( there are LOADS of choices!) it's a great overall experience.

                          2. Here's an article from one of my favorite Boston centric burger blog about Mr. Bartley's.....he goes by Rchudy on this board, and I trust his opinion on burgers, as he's pretty comprehensively gone and calalogued some of the best in town....check it out....


                            1. I think I'm going to check it out for myself and see what the debate is all about. Thanks for the suggestions!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Lefty721

                                I haven't been in awhile, but we order blackboard cheese burgers alacarte and a side of rings and lime rickeys. Not sure, but it used to be a more affordable approach if you don't want one of the specialty burger platters.