Hot From The Kettle: Best Burger Brainstorm


People are passionate about their meat – especially when it’s sizzling hot and slapped between a bun.

Hot From The Kettle is brainstorming to compile a list of the best burgers in northern New Jersey.

The list will be transformed into a Baristanet poll containing the eight most frequently mentioned burger joints.

Here are the rules:

1. For purposes of this poll, North Jersey is north of the Raritan Bridge.

2. There will be no discriminating between “Sliders” and full sized burgers.

3. As much as I love a Quinoa burger, for puroses of this list, the burger must be 100% beef.

Here are a few to get you started, Pal’s Cabin in West Orange, McGovern’s in Newark, White Manna in Hackensack . . . You do the rest


  1. Tierney’s is my all time favorite, though Raymonds is good, and Smashburger is good though a bit too fatty–I fear my husband’s heart wouldn’t survive more than about half a dozen of those in his lifetime.

  2. The Cloverleaf in Caldwell makes a very good burger, as does the Shannon Rose in Clifton. Holsten’s burgers are surprisingly tasty too, because they are a mix of beef including some USDA Prime from Mastriano’s, across the street. If you are grilling burgers at home, which we do 12 months a year, try the hamburger blend from Mastriano’s — you will not regret it.

  3. (This is like the 3rd or 4th time a “Burger poll” has been conducted. Check past posts on Elevation Burger, 5-Guys and Smash and you will find folks talking/arguing about their favorites or the best.)

    But if repetition is the sincerest form of flattery, I will add to those who put Smash on top. 5 guys is a mess.

    However, for some, I’ll invite you over to my palatial estate in UPPER Montclair to try one of my bison burgers, or beef burger from “Rambo” the cow I purchased a few years back. DEE-LISH-US!!!

  4. So many noted humans are named after ground up beef entrails and muscles ! Makes one ponder the Infinite….
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Burger may refer to:
    Beef mince, or minced meat/ground beef used to make hamburgers
    Hamburger, a hot sandwich
    Patty, especially in the United States
    Veggie burger
    Burger diagram
    Die Burger, a South African newspaper
    Hamilton Burger, fictional district attorney
    Burger (grape), a Californian wine grape
    Gouais blanc, a French wine grape that is also known as Burger
    Elbling, a German wine grape that is also known as Burger
    Chicken Sandwich, a piece of cooked chicken between two pieces of bread

    Adolf Burger, Holocaust Survivor involved in Operation Bernhard
    Anna Burger, U.S. union leader
    Anthony Burger,
    Anton Burger, concentration camp commandant
    Cody Burger, U.S. child actor
    Ernst Peter Burger, a German saboteur during World War II
    Eugene Burger, U.S. magician
    Ida Burger, U.S. dance hall girl and prostitute
    Hermann Burger, Swiss writer
    Jean Burger, member of the French Resistance
    Warren E. Burger, former Chief Justice of the United States
    Bernie Burger, Namibian
    Louis Burger, Namibian cricketer
    Sarel Burger, Namibian cricketer
    Pieter Burger, Namibian cricketer
    Jan-Berrie Burger, Namibian cricketer
    Schalk Burger, South African rugby player
    Fritzi Burger, Austrian figure skater
    Heinrich Burger, German figure skater
    Hubert Burger, Italian luger
    Todd Burger, U.S. American football player
    Karl Burger, German soccer player and coach
    Burger Lambrechts, South African shot putter

  5. Perhaps Market will join the fray with a $45 burger, consistent with their $125 tasting menu? Apart that, got to give Smashburger extra points for their service, way better than one should expect for a casual burger joint. Also Bobby Flay, combos that work and commendable service.

  6. 1-Tierney’s, day in and out it’s always cooked to perfection and not loaded will fillers.

    2- Pals Cabin – Always a strong choice. Regardless if its a burger or cheesesteak or chops, Pals been doing it a long time and its always crowded for a reason.

    3- Calandra’s, West Caldwell , Kevin is correct , it really is a great burger. Probably the best thing on the menu.

    4- Zagursky’s, Whippany, you have to try it.

    I’ve been meaning to get to Krug’s in Newark and landmark in Livingston, I hear they both have a great burger.

  7. hmmm.. i really like 5 guys a lot. they have great fries but the quality is sometimes inconsistent, as well as the service. zinburger was a huge expensive disappointment.

    i think i would have to go with smashburger. they are always very pleasant in there and the burgers are smashed! i want one right now. i just drooled on my keyboard typing this. yea i have to eat now. i may not be able to type another sen

  8. Agree about Zinburger being a disappointment – went there, spent there, was not burger-satisfied there. I do like their logo though.

  9. Discovered Smashburger in Florham Park a couple months back. There are a few of them around now. Burgers taste great and the toppings are perfect, if you don’t mind a sloppy burger. I love a sloppy burger and these are my current favorite. A close second for me: 5 Guys. And its completely different, but I have to agree with the mentions for White Manna in Hackensack.

  10. Tierney’s still has the best burger in town, IMHO. Smashburger is damn good for a “chain” burger joint, tho.

  11. Here are my top 4:

    1. Krugs
    2. Gaffer’s Pub (surprised to not see it has been mentioned yet)
    3. Tierney’s
    4. Pals

  12. Smashburger – burgers as big as your head.

    I guess this is why they are sloppy.

  13. Tierney’s is consistently great, and you can have a beer.
    Had White Castle the other day for the first time in years and they’re great.
    Charlie’s Aunt in Chatham used to be great, but sorry to report, has declined in my opinion.
    Need to re-visit the Landmark after over 20 years. Been driving by there lately.
    Curious about the Orange Squirrel. Expensive?
    Curious about White Manna in Hackensack. Nondescript little building?
    Need to try Smash and Zin, but not on the same day though.

  14. Tierney’s and the Cloverleaf.

    But I will tell you that the best burger I ever had was at Conan’s while watching football the Friday after Thanksgiving back in 2008. He used the Mastriano’s burger blend. Damn, that was a burger.

  15. That reminds me of a book of cartoons by Kliban (I think) called “Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.”

    The best cartoon in the book was a man, seated at a restaurant with a giant fly, telling the waiter: “Bring me a bottle of your best Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and some sh*t for my fly.”

  16. Best: Tierney’s

    also good: 5 Guys, Smashburger

    acceptable alternative: our backyard grill

    to try in the near future: Orange Squirrel & Krug’s

    worst/most-overrated: Pal’s Cabin – serving charred overpriced hockey pucks – there are better ways to remember “the good old days”

  17. Regardless of whether or not you like Elevation, I find interesting that they aren’t even on anyone’s radar. Says a bit about how tough a restaurant town Montclair can be.

  18. In response to rpnewton, I love Elevation Burger. They use the best ingredients, and the food there tastes fresh. Smash is salty, 5 guys leaves me feeling awful. Tierney’s is very good. But you are right. Montclair is a tough restaurant town. Glad we have the options we do.

  19. Garage vote here too. We live in Millburn and go there often. They have a smaller burger that I have them add their pizza sauce to. No cheese. Extra lettuce. Through in a side of sweet potato fries and I’m happy.

  20. Took a bunch of friends to The Garage after basketball in town. Everyone loved the burgers with pizza sauce and are still asking to go back.
    Tierney’s can be a little dry sometimes.

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