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Feb 21, 2014 11:56 AM

Burgers in Central NJ

Just moved to the Edison area and looking for a decent burger place. I'm originally from NNJ and spoiled by the plethora of burger joints (smashburger, bobby's burger palace, shake shack). Is there anything, that is comparable to the places I mentioned?

It doesn't matter if it's a chain or not. I know there is a 5 guys and red robin, but I'm not a fan.

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  1. There's a Fuddruckers in Bridgewater. 25 Burgers in New Brunswick you might like.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ebchower

      Fuddruckers is a chain and does not serve a good home made patty. Kind of like Chucky Cheeze for burgers. The one on Route 1 in New Brunswick closed and I would not drive to Bridgewater for one of those. There are better picks closer.

      If you like big and thick, a quick shot down Route 1 in North Brunswick is Arthur's tavern:

      While they are known primarily for massive steaks and burned potatoes, they have an absolutely awesome burger.

      In Edison itself along Route 1, the Skylark Diner also has a good burger:

      It's a little more upscale than the average jersey greek diner and has been featured on triple d on the food channel.

      Sadly, the Rutgers grease trucks have all been relocated from the College Avenue Parking lot due to the squashing of free enterprise in an omnivorous land grab by the STATE University. The best of these was RU Hungry which has moved to the Douglas/Cook campus:

      If you aren't too tempted by all the other goodies (fat darrel!)on the menu give the fat cat a shot. It is an awesome package of (halal) burger goodness.

      Finally, Stage Left as noted has a delishus but upscale burger. It is kinda dressy so would not wear the sweat pants on a Friday or Saturday evening.

      PS. Bobby's Burger Palace is also a chain and sucks.

      PPS. White Rose is good, but it is basically a bigger slider with minimalist service (think lunch counter no tables). If you are in the mood for that, go for it.

      1. re: vikingkaj

        The OP asked for burger joints, not restaurants with a burger on the menu. About the only non-chain one I can think of is Blitzburger in New Brunswick.

        1. re: ebchower

          It all depends, does the "decent" in "decent burger place" refer to the place or the burger?

          This being chowhound I went for the burger. Btw, I don't see how you could construe a Rutgers grease truck as a restaurant...

          1. re: vikingkaj

            What grease truck did I mention? He asked for something "comparable to smashburger, bobbys, shake shack." Fuddruckers and 25 Burgers are much more comparable to those than Stage Left.

            1. re: ebchower

              It's definitely not limited to burger-only joints. But any non-burger only joint, I tend to avoid ordering them, especially if it's my first time at the establishment.

              The only exception is that I know ahead of time that they are known for having a good burger, either through a review or recommendation by a friend.

      1. re: coldsolderjoint

        I've never eaten at any place the OP mentions and I would gladly forego ever doing so, as long as I can always know that White Rose is out there for me.

        1. re: MGZ

          I would _enthusiastically_ agree with you, except that the rolls they use for their burgers these days are much worse than the great, classic Kaiser rolls they used to serve their burgers on in years gone by.
          The rolls they now use are just too dense for the kind of burger they serve.

          1. re: The Professor

            I guess I need to head back to HP soon and check on this - been a while, it seems. An excuse to divert to European Provisions too

            1. re: MGZ

              Is that the one in East Brunswick? Around the holidays, I waited in line 15 minutes for a sandwich only to be told "no sandwiches today."

              1. re: ebchower

                Yeah. I think that sounds like something that might happen at EP close to Christmas or Easter.

                I'd say give it a try again before you let that experience sour you completely. Bring home some goose liverwurst for me?

                1. re: MGZ

                  I'm 1 for 3 there. First time I found out they don't take credit cards. If you factor in the times they were closed, I'm probably 1 for 10. You might be waiting a while for your liverwurst.

            2. re: The Professor

              I find that with White Rose's rolls you really need to get a double. That evens out the ratio much better.

              Still one of my favorite burgers ever.

                1. re: coldsolderjoint

                  A-men. That's how I like it. Double bacon cheese with the onions. Pickles. No tomato or lettuce or anything like that.

          2. re: coldsolderjoint

            I will definitely try White Rose. I used to live down the street from this tiny hole in the wall place White Manna. I wonder if there is any relation?

            1. re: poshjoss75

              No relation. But back in the day it was determied that putting "white" in the name suggested cleanliness. Hence White Diamond, Rose, Manna, Castle...

              As you probably know, White Manna is always crowded. Last time I went to White Rose there was no line and only one other person in the place.

              1. re: ebchower

                Are the burgers at the White Rose chain comparable to the style and taste of the burgers at White Diamond in Clark?

                1. re: cke25

                  White Rose isn't really a 'chain'...they have two locations: the original long established Highland Park one, and a relatively new one on Easton Avenue in New Brunswick.

                  Only ever been to White Diamond once...a LONG time ago, so I can't really compare the two. I'm told that the preparation is similar, but don't know for sure.

                  1. re: cke25

                    Haven't tried White Diamond. I'm sure others here have tried both who can comment.

                    1. re: ebchower

                      Both White Diamond and White Rose burgers are lousy IMHO. White Rose had too much bread in their roll and a small tasteless patty with mostly lettuce and tomatoes. The White Diamond was a little larger burger, pretty tasteless, and nothing I'd ever eat again.

                      These are items you eat after a long night of drinking when anything tastes good as long as you put enough condiments on it. My mistake was eating them during the day when I was sober.

                      1. re: scrappyone

                        White Rose didn't always have too much's just the crappy rolls they've been using in recent years.
                        As mentioned earlier in the thread, once upon a time they used really great kaiser rolls (aka "hard rolls") that were readily available and made by just about every local mom & pop bakery in NJ. They had a crisp, eggshell thin outer crust and a soft, airy interior that didn't overwhelm the type of burger WR makes.

                        I like the burgers. If they ever went back to the type of rolls they once used, it would definitely be my favorite burger joint. There are still a couple bakeries in central NJ that make a decent, traditional hard roll...I wish WR could be convinced to source from those places.

                        Interesting to note, though, that whenever I've driven past the White rose and 25 Burgers places on Easton Avenue, the White Rose is ALWAYS busier. LOL

                        1. re: scrappyone

                          Point well taken. Thank you. I guess I'll stick with Barnicle Bills in Rumson or The Globe in Red Bank.

                          1. re: cke25

                            I live in Monmouth County and Barnicle Bill's is my favorite. Globe is also VG. They are in a different league than White Rose and White Diamond.

                            1. re: scrappyone

                              They are totally different style burgers. I don't think one is necessarily superior or inferior to another. BB and Globe are putting out pub style 8+oz off the grill burgers that're intended to be consumed medium/medium rare.

                              White Rose/White Manna are doing sliders - small patties cooked over onions. They both have their place and are delicious in their own way.

                              White Manna unfortunately screwed up their bun to meat ratio - which is critical for sliders. So now I go with a double. And bacon.

              2. There's a Bobby's Burger on Route 1 in Princeton / West Windsor at the Market Fair Mall.

                In New Brunswick is the Stage Left. Great burgers served at the bar and lounge. A little more foo foo, but worth it.

                In Rocky Hill, down Route 27 to 518 is the Rocky Hill Inn, casual neighborhood eatery, great burgers and a very good selection of beers on tap.

                1. Chris Michael's Steak House on Rt 9 in Woodbridge has an excellent burger. It is offered on the lunch menu only. Price was around $10. with fries, cold slaw and a pickle.

                  1. There's Rossi's in the Chambersburg section of Trenton. Get there soon as they're moving to somewhere in Hamilton Twp. in the near future. Better yet, wait until they do move as you'll be a lot safer there.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: TomDel

                      I wouldn't necessarily think of Rossi's as in the "Edison area", but it's certainly worthy of the designation of "destination-worthy burger". I think a trip to the original location is well worth a rush. I'm sure I'll go to the new spot in the future, but I reserve the right to sigh loudly, upon entering the first time, just before gruffly muttering to my wife, "It's so damned aseptic. . . . You were right, I shouldda showered, Honey."

                      1. re: MGZ

                        I know, but I don't think of Edison as "Central NJ" as every Northern NJ'er does. I-195 divides the state geographically, Trenton is Central NJ, Edison is not.

                        You're right about Rossi's building and location. It has a certain "Je ne sais quoi" that'll be hard to replicate in a new modern building. I especially liked the phone booth they had in the dining room back in the day. I think they removed it sometime in the 70's or early 80's.

                        1. re: TomDel

                          Last time we went for dinner, Vic's in Bradley Beach still had a telephone booth in the main room by the bar. Not sure if it was still equipped with a working payphone but the booth was there in all its splendor.

                          1. re: TomDel

                            Central Jersey cuts a huge (for New Jersey) geographic swath. As one who has lived in Camden, Middlesex and Union Counties for a combined total of almost 25 years, and who often drives north as far as the New York State border to pick up the Thruway, I feel safe in placing Edison in Central Jersey.

                            1. re: albinoni

                              Funny thing is I consider Edison to be North Jersey. Crossing the Driscoll means more than going into a different county.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                A lot of people use RT 22 as the dividing line. But I figure if you use EWR then you are in Central NJ.

                                I stop at the Clark White Diamond whenever I change tires. They opened and then closed one in Rahway, too.