The genesis of the beef-on-bun combo known as the hamburger might be forever shrouded in mystery — there are at least six different people that claim to be responsible for its invention — but regardless of who came up with the burger, its appeal is undeniable.
Throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey, burger options abound, from pared-down smashburgers topped with a simple combo of lettuce, tomato and onion, to patties finished with bacon and eggs designed for brunch-time enjoyment. Up and down the New Jersey coastline and into Philadelphia, these are the spots serving can’t-miss burgers.
SouthGate (Graduate Hospital)
SouthGate’s fun take on Korean-American fusion makes for a menu full of creative pub fare such as twice-fried soy wings, crispy Brussels sprouts tossed in a kimchi vinaigrette, and fries topped with garlic and gochujang aioli. The spin on a burger is no exception — it begins with a bulgogi-marinated beef patty finished with sautéed kimchi, bacon, cheese, aromatic perilla leaves, and Kewpie mayo.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and sidewalk seating are available.
Takeout: SouthGate’s full menus are offered for takeout and delivery.
Booker’s Restaurant and Bar (West Philadelphia)
Named for Booker Wright, a server featured in the documentary Booker’s Place: A Mississippi Story, this West Philadelphia American restaurant offers a quartet of burger options for vegetarians, pescatarians, and everyone in between. A salmon burger is glazed with chipotle honey, a black bean burger comes with white cheddar and sriracha aioli, a turkey patty is garnished with spring mix, tomato, red onion and cilantro, and the Booker’s burger is 100 percent angus rounded out with caramelized onions, blue cheese and bespoke special sauce.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining is available.
Takeout: Booker’s menu is available for takeout and delivery.
Village Whiskey PHL (Rittenhouse)
Celebrity chef Jose Garces’s recently revamped burger and cocktail bar has been putting out two of Philly’s favorite burgers since 2009. The Village Burger gained a fast following with a thick patty served with Thousand Island dressing on a house-made bun, and those looking for something a bit more decadent could upgrade to the Whiskey King, a serious burger that sees the addition of applewood-smoked bacon, Roth Moody blue cheese, maple bourbon cipollini onions, and seared foie gras. The newly updated menu includes turkey and beef smash burgers as well as a black bean and lentil veggie burger with guac and pickled cabbage.
Dining at the restaurant: Village Whiskey is offering indoor dining in its newly expanded space.
Takeout: The full menu is offered for takeout and delivery.
This Rittenhouse institution is responsible for kicking off Philadelphia’s fancy burger revolution. Going strong for the past 23 years, the recipe for the park-facing restaurant’s namesake burger has remained unchanged — a juicy beef patty sandwiched into a soft brioche roll with lettuce, tomato, housemade pickles, Gruyere, and sweet caramelized onions.
Dining at the restaurant: Dine indoors or choose a garden table overlooking Rittenhouse Square.
Takeout: Full menu available for takeout.
Frankie (Jersey City)
Frankie is Jersey City’s stylish ode to international cuisine and natural wine. The restaurant’s two burger options include a straightforward Frankie burger with double patties, pickles, and cheddar served with fries seasoned with Australia’s favorite seasoning, chicken salt. Vegans can go for a burger made with quinoa, chickpeas and sunflower seeds. No matter which you choose, pair it with a glass of the restaurant’s standout wine.
Dining at the restaurant: Frankie’s tropical dining room is open to welcome diners for dinner and weekend brunch.
Takeout: Frankie’s full menu is available for takeout and delivery.
Laree Adda (Jersey City)
Inspired by the tea houses of India and Pakistan, Laree Adda offers a menu of curries, roti, and naan, along with street food options such as kati rolls and Chapli, Pakistan’s take on burgers. While the Chapli might look like a classic burger complete with lettuce, tomato and onions, this one sets itself apart with a richly spiced patty and green chutney.
Dining at the restaurant: Dine in Laree Adda’s exposed brick and reclaimed wood dining room.
Takeout: The full menu is available for takeout and delivery.
Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen (Morristown)
Jockey Hollow brings together four dining concepts: a brasserie, beer hall, cocktail bar, and fine-dining destination. The brasserie area, The Oyster Bar, has a solid lineup of seafood-centric options, plus a popular burger complete with Jersey Girl Scamorza, onion jam and special sauce, served with a side of salt-and-vinegar fries.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining are available, with patio seating overlooking Jockey Hollow’s scenic pool.
Takeout: Call the restaurant for takeout.
Predictably, Princeton’s premier destination for new American fare doesn’t disappoint. Instead of the usual pancakes and eggs Benedict, Mistral thinks outside of the weekend daytime dining box with a menu that runs from croque madame and pan mee ramen, to a big-time brunch burger garnished with bacon jam, garlic aioli, and a runny fried egg.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor dining options are available.
Takeout: Mistal offers its full menu for takeout.
The Swine Bar (North Wildwood)
This raw bar and barbecue spot overlooking a marina in North Wildwood knows that surfers can’t survive on shrimp cocktails and oysters alone. Its patty lineup of includes a barbecue burger finished with pulled pork and Swine Bar’s signature sauce; a South-of-the-border-inspired Baja burger with avocado, jalapeños, and chipotle mayo; and a protein-packed option
for those who need to recharge after a morning of riding the Wildwood swells. The Surfer burger comes with bacon, Swiss, salsa, and a fried egg.
Dining at the restaurant: Indoor and outdoor seating is available at The Swine Bar.
Takeout: The full menu is offered for takeout.
Deal Lake Bar + Co. (Asbury Park)
This sizable outdoor dining destination channels big beach town energy with buckets full of beers, prosecco, and splits of rosé alongside a menu of crowd-pleasing items with plenty of burger options. “On the DL” is Deal Lake’s series of smashburgers, with choices of classic beef, turkey, or Impossible Meat. Deal Lake’s to- tier burger is a Waygu patty stuffed with brie and topped off with a fig aioli.
Dining at the restaurant: Deal Lake Bar + Co. offers seating in the restaurant’s dining room as well as a sizable outdoor seating area.
Takeout: A full takeout menu is available.