A homemade staple in backyard cookouts, a quick meal from fast casual joints or a craft specialty at an artisanal restaurant, burgers have a reputation for being versatile. And with so many ways to spruce up a burger, why stick to just cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickles? To spice up a favorite dish for meat lovers, I rounded up some unique yet delicious toppings on the menus of NYC and Long Island’s prime burger spots.
Mac & Cheese
What better way to enhance comfort food than by adding a heaping pile of more comfort food? Burgers topped with mac and cheese are like two meals in one—and a perfect way to satisfy a growling stomach. Some might call it unhealthy, but I call it the ideal balance of protein, carbs and dairy. Treat yourself at Vauxhall in Huntington, where the kitchen sink burger is complete with mac and cheese, short ribs, bacon and bbq chips.
It may sound like an odd combination, but burgers and peanut butter taste delicious together. The smooth nuttiness of the peanut butter complements the juiciness of the beef, and also pairs well with bacon. Just ask the folks at Whitman’s in Manhattan—and be sure to stop by for the PB&B burger during your next city outing.
As if burrata wasn’t incredible enough already, but who knew this Italian appetizer would be a tasty addition to a burger? Apparently, the creamy, milk cheese delicacy no longer needs bread and crackers to be scooped up—now it’s got a brioche bun to do the trick. The burrata caprese burger at The Ainsworth is a must try. It’s topped with basil pesto, heirloom tomato and balsamic.
Dress up a veggie burger with slices of this sought-after superfood or give it a Mexican twist by throwing on a scoop of guacamole. Check out LT Burger in Sag Harbor. Its Mexican burger has chili, jalapeño and guacamole and the plant-based veg-vgan burger is complete with avocado, wheatgrass and barbecue sauce. It even offers a no buns burger topped with avocado with lettuce replacing the bread.
As it turns out, maple syrup isn’t just for drenching pancakes, waffles and French toast, though that is still highly encouraged. It’s also for drizzling onto burgers to make for a delectable sweet and savory combination. The fried goat cheeseburger at The Grayson in Manhattan does exactly that. Complete with arugula, maple bacon, fried goat cheese and splashed with maple syrup, this treat has mouths watering.
Hummus is often associated with pita wraps, shawarma and tzatziki, but Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beer in Manhattan is challenging that. Its menu sports a Mediterranean-inspired falafel burger with tahini, pickled onion, Greek feta and, of course, hummus—a delicacy that even the most ardent meat lovers would delight to indulge in.
Nothing says breakfast like a fried egg, and draping a burger with one makes for the ultimate first meal of the day. Zinburger at the Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station is serving a breakfast burger stacked with avocado, bacon, cheese and fried egg—and it’s hard not to fantasize about the yolk running down the side. But it doesn’t have to be breakfast; upgrade your burger with an egg any time of day for an extra burst of flavor.
Truffle fries are already a must, so why not have a truffle burger to go along with them? New York City’s 5 Napkin Burger offers a truffle burger, complete with Taleggio cheese, porcini ketchup, fried egg and black and white truffle butter. Who says burgers can’t be trendy, fancy and delicious all at once?
While the question of whether or not pineapple goes on pizza is a controversial subject, pineapple on burgers is a little more clear: it definitely belongs. Not only is it a fool-proof way to up fruit intake, but its sweet, tart flavor also provides a nice contrast with the burger. To indulge in a Hawaiian burger with bacon and teriyaki sauce, head over to The Burger Spot in Garden City.
Give me thin, crispy fries over thick, fluffy ones any day. While that might not be a popular opinion, it’s impossible to disagree that shoestring fries work not only as a side dish, but also as a topping. Crunchy, salty fries and a juicy burger in the same bite…why didn’t anyone think of this sooner? Well, Bar Sardine did—and crispy potato goodness awaits.