The Baroness

by Kate

LONG ISLAND CITY — The Baroness beckons from across the East River, tempting only the most faithful of burger followers into the wilds of Queens. 

The experience proved worth the trek when a three-member contingent of the New York City Burger Club convened at the Crescent Street restaurant for the September 2016 gathering. President Comisar called the meeting to order with beer, certain cans of which can be had for $4 during happy hour.

The burger selection is extensive, spanning 14 different options all named after women seemingly from the 19th century Western frontier. The Trixie ($15) came topped with goat cheese (creamy, as advertised) and a sweet and spicy pepper slaw. The meat was deliciously cooked, the buns did not yield to sogginess.

One of the Baroness’ many bizarre quirks is that it does not offer french fries. Instead you chose from several sides, included in the price of the burger, that range from mac-and-cheese to carrot-cucumber-celery slaw. The bourbon baked beans were sweetly satisfying.

There is also the option to add sides at additional price, such as bacon for $1.50 or sautéed onions for $1. At the end of the list is the option to add a bottle of champagne for $70, which was not on the agenda for this particular Burger Club meeting. 


The atmosphere of the Baroness is difficult to describe, because it combines high-end, Western-themed burgers with sabrage. Our membership did not observe any swords in use on this particular trip. Our waiter, however, was friendly and attentive.

Although a bit pricey for a Queens burger joint, The Baroness did not disappoint. 


The Happiest Burger Club

I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was about The Happiest Hour until someone else said it: it’s like an upscale MacDonald’s. That’s EXACTLY what it was. Classy-kitch decor, thin patties with super soft buns, american cheese and “special sauce.” Also, as Meghan put it: it’s like they put 100 midwestern dads in a room and asked them for their favorite songs, and that’s how they came up with the playlist.

I’ll back up here because I’m a little afraid that I’m under-selling this place. The food was DELICIOUS. My burger, The Happiest Burger, came with something called “confit onions” that was just out of this world. You can’t control the temperature of your burger because the patties are so thin, unless you’re willing to go for one of the off-brand (i.e. not-happy) items on the menu, but does it matter? You can’t order medium rare at Shake Shack either, and I don’t see anyone filing complaints with Danny Meyer!

Happiest Hour_Angel

Welcome back, Angel! Also, note the palm tree wall paper.

Walking into this relatively unassuming storefront on West 10th street, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. There’s a suited bouncer at the door checking IDs and a massive bar that takes up the front area of the establishment. You have to worm your way through the crowd to the back, where yes, there is actual seating, in fun, retro circular booths. A true non-threatening party atmosphere.

If there is a downside to The Happiest Hour, it is the terrible service. While the seating area was riddled with bussing staff, none of them were actually allowed to do anything other than take our plates. The business of ordering, bringing the check, and paying the check was left entirely to the one lonely server in the entire place. She was very pleasant, the issue wasn’t demeanor, it was time. We sat at 7pm and didn’t manage to get someone to take our order until nearly 7:30pm–slightly stressful considering that we had an 8:30pm movie to catch, and anyone who knows me knows that the prospect of being tardy makes me seize with anxiety.

WHICH IS ALL TO SAY, that I would definitely go back–not right away, and not when I had plans after–but I would go back for another burger, and a cheap beer. Where else in the village can you drink a Miller High Life with no shame?

Happiest Hour_BurgerBeer


I am sorry to say that I’ve been delinquent in my BURGER CLUB duties. I’ve been planning and enjoying fine outings with mostly delicious burgers and a delightful crew of ladies…and then not reporting back on them.  In order to remedy this, here is a brief overview of where the NEW YORK BURGER CLUB has been over the last several months.

Emily at Donovans
The face of a BURGER CLUB Prez who’s very sorry she hasn’t been posting

A surprising delight of a burger. The dessert wasn’t worth the calories.

Too much meat, not enough flavor.

Great downtown vibe. I’m excited to try to other things on the menu as well.

Super solid greasy dive burger.

Surprisingly disappointing. But the bacon part was good.

A tad pricey, but solid.

Another good greasy burger. Less of a dive than Blue 9.

Solid burger, not terribly memorable (for better or worse).

Unique recipes, worth a try!

Good cheap burger with creative toppings.

Well, we should have known to go for the pierogies and not the burgers.

Mixed responses from the ladies but overall decent burgers in a cute part of Queens.

The mother of all surprises. SO rich in flavor, so juicy. So not what we were expecting from the burger place at World Wide Plaza.


Cuban Flavor

Leave it to BURGER CLUB to take an outing to a 24-hour Cuban diner and order the only hamburger on the menu.  But when it comes to Coppelia, our very special kind of dedication truly paid off, as the ladies savored what turned out to be one of the most flavorful burgers the CLUB has experienced thus far.

Case in point: this is the face of a recovering vegetarian…

Diana @ Coppelia

The burger was rich in flavor, the bun ACTUALLY HELD UP, and the choices of fried sides kicked the meal into high gear with a taste of Cuban flavor (the wait staff recommends the yucca fries, and frankly, so do I).

Really, the only downside was the atmosphere.  The dark lighting and high volume made it a difficult environment in which to casually enjoy the company of fellow BURGER CLUB members.  Perhaps the high-traffic dinner hour isn’t the best time to go.  But not to fret–there are 23 other hours in the day to choose from.

Out With a Bang OR The Dutch(ess)

How does one even BEGIN to mark an event like the transition in Burger Power that took place at the most recent meeting of the New York BURGER CLUB.  Said BURGER CLUB, which has been so valiantly led by founder Kathryn ever since its inaugural meeting in August 2009, lost that founder to another, more exotic place.

NO, SHE’S NOT DEAD — she’s just moving to Europe to live a more fabulous, potentially more Euro life.  Maybe or maybe not as a Dutchess.

No better way to wish her well and Bon Voyage than a trip to The Dutch (a reservation for which she was forced to fight tooth and nail.)

In true BURGER CLUB fashion, we began the meal with an order of fried chicken — perhaps the best any of the ladies had eaten (within the borders of New York City).  Before long emotions ran high and the burgers were flowing, along with the fries and the bloody marys.  Let’s face it, I know it was delicious, you know it was delicious: would we go again? ABSOLUTELY.  But that’s not what counts, what counts is that we all got the chance to say a final, meaty good-bye.  Fearless leader, you will be missed.

kathryn 2 ny burger co

Welcome to The Brindle Room

I’ll be honest, with it’s super-trendy location on East 10th Street, The Brindle Room made me feel a little old.  While the 24-year-olds of New York City were loudly chatting over boozy brunches, the ladies of BURGER CLUB had already moved on to a very non-alcoholic lunch.  BURGER CLUB: March 2014 Edition was the third in a line of speciality weekend meetings, designed to protect those of us who have lost our weeknights to busy work and grad school schedules.

And so we descended upon The Brindle Room to sample Sebastian’s Steakhouse Burger, a savory treat indeed.  The consensus was quickly clear — the rich flavor of the meat patty ranks high among the burgers that have yet been consumed by the club. HOWEVER, we were not without our gripes: the primary one being that the seasoning of the meat overwhelmed all of the other toppings on the patty, including and especially the cheese and caramelized onions.  WHAT IS THE POINT??? We asked OF CARAMELIZED ONIONS, IF YOU CANNOT TASTE THEM??? Maybe they’re for texture, but then again, that seems like a waste of kitchen time.

As for the bun, it is by now an expectation that it will never hold up to the juiciness of the meat, as one again proved to be true.  AS LONG AS WE’RE BEING DRAMATIC: I hereby issue a challenge to all NYC-based burger purveyors to MAKE A BETTER BUN.  I guarantee you that we’ll gladly partake.

Brunch Burgers

Who says the rules aren’t meant to be broken?….Well, no one, actually.  This month, BURGER CLUB broke the first Wednesday night rule in favor of a first Saturday brunch.  So, who says you can’t eat burgers before noon?…Come to think of it, I’ve never heard anyone say that either.  Anyway, brunch burgers it was, and for that we headed downtown to Little Prince where the burger options are the French Onion Burger or no burger at all.

The atmosphere is classy, a place you might not expect to find ground beef on the menu (maybe MAYBE if it were spelled boeuf).  After a few mishaps with a few slightly over-priced and inadequately prepared morning beverages, and after and gentle but firm request to turn up the heat (for the love of all that is holy, it is January after all!), burger eating went underway.

What the say about the burgers?  They were juicy, they were unexpected, they were flavorful to say the least — especially that surprise shot of horseradish that’ll send flames up the back of your nose (don’t pretend like you don’t know EXACTLY what I’m talking about).  The entire gastro-experience was overall fairly decent considering the cost of the meal.  Would we go back?  Sure.  Would we go back for burgers?  Maybe not.  Would we ever eat burgers again before noon???  Definitely.


Whomami? Umami is defined as “a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates, esp. monosodium glutamate.”  To the ladies of Burger Club this month it was also defined as “Ohhh, holy shit, that’s good.”  That was the unanimous reaction to November’s BURGER CLUB outing to Umami Burger down in the village.

I’ll begin at the beginning, for it is important to keep in mind that this place is SUPER-popular and as a result, SUPER-hard to get into.  We showed up around 7:15 and had to wait an hour to to get a table for 6.  By the time we sat, we were so hungry that we let our stomachs do the ordering.  Beginning with a round of potatoes, we gorged ourselves on rich, delicious, and often greasy but oh-so-tasty foods.

The smushed potatoes were a delightful surprise and probably the most flavorful of the sides.  The sweet potato fries came in a close second, with a sweet surprise of a crunchy coating of cinnamon and sugar.  The regular old fries were fine, nothing to write home about.  What was especially delicious, however, was the array of dipping sauces — led by the truffle ketchup — that accompanied them.  Yum.

By the time the burgers came out, our stomachs had already been loaded down with fried goodness, but that was not going to stop us.  Everything about these burgers are made in house, from the meat to the buns to the cheese, and all of the elements are absolutely soaked in flavor.  Perhaps this is what they mean by “umami.”  In the first few bites, the fullness of the flavor washes over you.  Depending on the particular toppings on your burger, it might wash over your hands as well.  By the second half of the burger, I was too full to finish, and the saltiness of the cheese had started to overpower the rest of the flavors on the bun.  That said, I heard no similar complains from my dining companions as nearly everyone finished their burgers entirely.  A burger club success to be sure.

Bottom line: this is absolutely worth going once, then you decide whether you have the stomach to go again.

Not For the Faint of Heart

You may recall that a number of months ago, the ladies of Burger Club made some valiant attempts to partake of the fried buns enveloping the burgers at Korzo Haus on the lower east side.  It turned out that the place was SO POPULAR that we couldn’t get in.  Well, this month we had them beat.  That’s right, BURGER CLUB VP bit the bullet and arrived nearly an hour early for dinner to secure a table and guarantee red-meat-victory!

There are four distinct options for burgers at this establishment and each offer the burger with the bun grilled or fried.  Needless to say, the staff there requires that you order correctly (read: fried).  Being a relatively healthy eater, I was skeptical to be sure, but when a tall, imposing, Eastern-European waiter tells you to get it fried, you GET IT FRIED.

Two words can describe this gastronomic experience: deliciously rich.  So rich, in fact, that I was entirely unable to finish my burger (a rare experience for an experienced BURGER CLUB member).  Sides were tasty, although entirely overwhelmed by the burger itself.  It should be noted that condiments are not your typical fare: that thing in the red squeeze bottle?  That’s Beet Ketchup.

So is this meaty-fried-meal the top of the list?  Maybe not, but the entire experience makes it 100% worth the visit.

BURGER CLUB Goes Down Under

Becca in Sydney
Becca might not be in New York anymore, but she hasn’t quit her burger habit.

When New York BURGER CLUB member Becca returned to her homeland in Sydney, Australia earlier this year, she became the founder of the very first BURGER CLUB franchise! The first week of October brought with it the inaugural Sydney BURGER CLUB meeting at Mary’s.

Becca reports: Mary’s was a super fun, atmospheric ‘first’ restaurant choice with nice staff, fab wine, soft, shiny buns but relatively average patties (I thought anyway…). 

We miss Becca here, but we’re so proud to see her carrying on the burger tradition.  Stay tuned for more news from our sister club down under!

Fritzl’s Dinner Box

Miranda-Fritzl'sM&Ms be damned, I’m officially stealing their trademarked slogan to describe the burger at Fritzl’s Lunch Box, which melts in your mouth, not in your hand.  HOLY CRAP, I may have just found my new favorite burger (sorry, Shake Shack, but this Bushwick joint is giving you a run for your money).  I pray that nobody writes about this place so it stays as quiet and low key as it was the fateful July night that the ladies of BURGER CLUB descended upon it.

The meat was well flavored, the bun sturdy, and the french fries — well, they were french.  The strawberry rhubarb pie (brought in from Pies n’ Thighs) wasn’t half bad either.  Good cheap beer to accompany the meal.  Nothing better on a hot Summer night.

There was but one complaint and, unlike most BURGER CLUB complaints, this one was unanimous: the meat was undercooked.  That is to say, ladies who ordered medium got their burgers medium-rare, and those who ordered medium-rare got them mooing. But really, that’s easily adjusted for — next time I’ll just order mine medium-well.  Problem? SOLVED!

The moral of the story?  If you can hop on the L train on a day that it’s actually running properly, get yourself out to Fritzl’s.  And don’t forget about the pie!Pie-Fritzl's

Pleasant Surprises in a Town Called “Goat”

group @ goattownThis month we were supposed to have gone somewhere else, somewhere in the East Village with a teeny dining room and a reputation for deep-fried buns. But we didn’t, alas, the dining room was too tiny and not even the charm of five lovely ladies could free up enough seats. So instead we ventured to the place that hosted a small small burger club meeting once many moons ago: Goat Town.

Even at 9pm the place was packed, but we found our way in with just enough seats at the bar, impressing the bartender who claimed to host an “all-male eating club” of his own. But down to more important business, the burger and how it was.

There is, in fact, only one burger on the Goat Town menu, and a burger with a reputation it is! The meat was heavy and rich, well seasoned, and did I mention heavy? At least two BC members were forced to turn to knife and fork for the size of the sandwich. I, on the other hand, dove right in. To my surprise and delight, the bun (a quality that I often bemoan in other burgers), held up to the meat! Actually, add a double exclamation point to that one!! I actually said it out loud at the bar, mouth full of beef and all.

burger @ goattownWhat a relief after a long night of waiting for food.

The toppings and fries were standard, the ambience was reminiscent of pretty much every new restaurant that has opened in the last year or so: dark and “artisanal,” dare I say “Williamsburgy.” And yes, that applies to the hyper-styled bathroom as well.

The lesson? Don’t be afraid of your fallback, it can surprise you! (Feel free to extrapolate this one to other parts of your life, ladies).

Pork Slope

menu @ pork slopeDoes it get any better than a good pun? Actually it does — Pork Slope happens to be the home of a surprisingly delicious cheeseburger. That’s right, it only appears on the menu con queso.

Put simply, the ambiance was remarkably cool for a neighborhood known for being traditionally family friendly and the burger itself was definitely mmmm-worthy. Available however you want it–the BC Prez may or may not have ordered it topped with pulled pork, bacon, and a fried egg to make up for a completely burgerless month from the last BURGER CLUB meeting until this one. The table was also outfitted with a number of different sauces and condiments to fit your taste and mood.

The theme of the night being “choices,” Pork Slope also has a variety of sides from which you may choose to accompany your burger — unfortunately, they are produced on a scale of varying quality: tater tots – thumbs up; mac & cheese – meh; garden salad – why bother at an establishment called “Pork Slope”?

burger @ pork slopeHere is my only complaint (literally my only complaint): the wait time on the food was on the long side, or at least it felt that way to our group of weary, hungry travelers who had trekked all the way to (bum bum bum) BROOKLYN! It seems to me and a bunch of burgers cooked medium should really take almost no time at all, especially if we’re talking a semi-dive-y bar with only a moderate number of customers at tables. That’s all I’m saying.

That said, the other thing I’m saying is: definitely go to Pork Slope — it’ll be worth the train ride.

Burger Club at Shake Shack

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire

by Emily C

diana blue smokeCan anyone say: “flame grilled?”  I know at least five New York ladies who can (and did!) at April’s BURGER CLUB outing to Blue Smoke on 27th street.  And no, we weren’t talking about the very attractive waiter-in-training serving our table…at least not when we said “flame grilled.”

The place is known for it’s BBQ — in fact it only has one or two burgers on the menu — but you all know why we were really there: for the pulled pork.  Just kidding, it was the burgers, we were there for the burgers, and apparently also for the plethora of sides that you can substitute (for free!) in place of the french fries.  Also on the table that evening were brussels sprouts and mac & cheese.  Mmmmmm.  The servings of sides were small but rich, enough to fill you up and leave you dreaming of your next visit.

This was a restaurant to delight all of the senses, and in a large piece of midtown real estate to boot!

By the end of the night, our complaints were only two.  The first is a common issue among burger restaurants, alas and alack, it was the bun.  A device mostly flavorless and without the staying power to hold up the “flame grilled” meat patty.  We see this problem time and time again, and at each bun-failure we utter “But WHY!” when there are so many excellent and hearty bread recipes in the world.

burger @ blue smokeThe other issue was that of restaurant overcrowding.  First of all, don’t even think about trying to get in during the dinner rush without a reservation.  Are you thinking about it?  Stop it, stop it right now, because its not gonna happen, honey.  Even with a reservation, and everyone arriving on time, we still had to wait 15 minutes for our table.

Luckily, it was worth the wait.

Breaking Down the ShackBurger

Burger Club at Shake Shack
The Original BURGER CLUB photo. Look how young we are!

Those whose meat-hangovers aren’t too overpowering may remember alllllll the way back to the first Wednesday of August 2009.  That infamous date marked the first ever meeting of the BURGER CLUB at the one and only Shake Shack in Madison Square Park.  The mouth waters just thinking about it…

ANYWAY — in honor of Burger Week 2013, offers a breakdown of the anatomy of the one and only ShackBurger.  Get out your notebooks ladies, there will be a quiz after this.