Charlie's Hamburgers, Folsom, PA


Burger Archive

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No-Bull Burger Purist, born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Evergreen Dairy Bar, Southhampton Township, NJ

The Evergreen Dairy Bar, 1643 New Jersey 70,
Southampton Township, NJ 08088 (609) 654-8585


The burger was close to a 6oz beef patty (I'm guessing) with lettuce, 2 slices American cheese, full slice raw white onion, pickle, fresh Kaiser roll.

This makes two great old-fashioned burger joints in one week I've visited. The first was the Farm Stand in North Jersey and the very next day I'm now at the opposite corner of the state inside the Evergreen Dairy Bar (about 30 miles east of Philly on Rt.70). There is nothing better, and I mean nothing better than a quaint, family owned and operated AMERICAN restaurant. Homemade soups, salads, sandwichs, pot pies, and burgers and dogs. Um Um Um. The burger you see below was not a fancy Pat Lafreida blend or a pampered Kobe or Wagu beef, it was just a good old-fashioned American beef burger cooked to medium/rare perfection with fresh toppings in a neighborhood surrounding that you just can't easily find anymore. God knows how much I miss joints like this. The double cheese took it's time to melt, but it got there soon after I dug into the burger. As for the other toppings; I'm so sick and tired of burger joints that over-think burger toppings. Most places nowadays have made the switch to red onions from white onions. That's why this thick slab of sweet white onion along with the tartness of the dill pickles made this burger even more delicious and refreshing for me. And since most people my age grew up with Iceberg lettuce, I was more than happy to see it on my burger as well. Romane lettuce on a burger (or any sandwich for that matter) is just not the same, so-what if there is no redeeming nutritional value with Iceberg lettuce? (I'm eating a burger for Pete's sake) Who gives a damn? When most of the US population was raised on Iceberg lettuce, why change it up? It's the perfect topping; it's fresh tasting and adds that crispy/crunchy texture without adding flavor which would take away from my burger. 8/10.

Great job to the folks at Evergeen, can't wait to get back there. (I'm really kicking myself for not ordering a cup of the days special: Cream of Asparagus Soup).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Farm Stand, Closter, NJ

Where: The Farm Stand, 100 Old Hook Road, Closter, NJ
What: The Farm Burger
Build: 8oz Angus beef patty, lettuce, tomato, American cheese, raw onion, dab of mustard, fresh egg roll. 
Comment: Can you say "JUICY"?  Holy crap I could have used a full length apron while eating this burger! But I'm getting ahead of myself, check out my photos of one of the coolest burger joints in Jersey. If this place was in Kansas, Auntie Em would shop here. I landed here via a tip from a coworker who lives near the place. From far away this place looks abandoned, but to my surprise it's not only an active farm stand, they are cooking all sorts of homemade comfort foods inside. As we pulled up to the place the skies darkened adding an eerie sort of feel which made things even more interesting and by the time we passed by the outdoor seating (full of little pumpkins and cast iron pot-belly stoves), I knew we were in for some really good food.  Our Hostess Michele could not have been nicer which made the whole experience even better. Upon entering, you are surrounded by homemade pies, jams, tomato sauce, honey, cakes, cookies, mac & cheese, hot dogs w/sauerkraut, chili, steak sandwiches, pot pies, etc. The items list is stunning for such a small place.  There are a few country-style wooden kitchen tables for seating that take the down-home country feel you got walking through the door even further.  We promptly ordered our burgers and off Michele went.  The delivery came soon after and it had us all staring open-mouthed, marveling at these burgers. The tomato and lettuce was fresh from the garden and the roll appeared to be fresh baked. When I finally picked it up I was floored at the weight of it, it was a healthy 1/2 pound after cooking! And all burgers were a perfect med/rare when delivered. The flavor of this coarse ground loosely packed patty was amazing and juice flowed endlessly until the very last bite. My black cherry soda complimented my meal perfectly and I left with a smile that lasted hours. This is hands-down a solid 10/10 burger. If you want the full experience get to the Farm Stand in Bergen County, but remember they are only open Wed-Sun from 11am to 5pm. I'm taking home bags of their fresh made goodies next time. (I've got my eye on the homemade chicken pot pie!) Can't wait to get back there...   

Friday, October 25, 2013

Taphouse Grille, Wayne, NJ

TapHouse Grille on Urbanspoon

Where: Taphouse Grille, Wayne, NJ
What: Santa Fe Burger
Build: 80z Angus beef patty, Cheddar cheese, Smoked Paprika Carmelized onions, Bacon Chipotle Mayo, Briosche. 

Comment: Sorry about the crappy photos, but once again I found myself sitting in front of a great burger with only my wife's iPhone. Better a few crappy photos than none at all. If you are in the visintity of Wayne, NJ on a Tuesday night, be sure to stop by the Taphouse for the special (Tuesday only) burger menu.  The burgers definitely live up to their names. My selection this week was the Santa Fe Burger and aside from great fresh toppings and meat, it was cooked to perfection.  9/10

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Beach Haven Fishery, Long Beach Island, NJ

*Special Edition: "Lost Archive Burger"
Where: The Beach Haven Fishery, Long Beach Island, NJ
What:  The Muffaletta Burger
Build: 1/2 pound Black Angus Beef, 2 slices American cheese, roasted eggplant, diced onion, diced portobello mushroom, minced garlic, toasted Ciabatta roll. (I'm missing an ingredient, but at least I found the burger photos).
Comment: This was one of those burgers that got lost on my hard drive because of an extremely busy burger tasting week this summer. I do my best to keep things organized, but sometimes a burger review will go missing, not because it was bad, just because I've got waaaaaay too much going on (all the time).  Thankfully, I stumbled onto this great tasting burger again. I was told by Chef Pat back in August that he had been wanting to try this new idea for a burger and I was to be the test-palette.  I all but denied the offer when I heard the ingredients, they really didn't appeal to me at all, but I have to say, the flavor of the finished product taught me to once again, "keep an open mind".  I was surprised at how closely this burger resembled the flavor of a Muffaletta sandwich even with it's lack of olives and deli meats. The ingredients and spices that  were used, along with the heavy char of the meat all blended well and delivered a very nicely done pseudo-Muffaletta burger.  8/10.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

5 Guys Burgers & Fries - Nanuet, NY

Where: 5 Guys Burgers & Fries - Nanuet, NY
What: Cheeseburger 
Build: 2 - 3.3 ounce, 80/20 ground chuck - high quality ground beef containing only Steer and Heifer meat (at least that's what their website states). Raw onion, pickles, 2 slices American cheese, lettuce.
Comment: I have no idea why it's taken me so long to write a blog about 5 Guys, after all, for me, they are the one burger joint that stands out in my mind for being the first to kick-off the whole "slow food" burger craze that is currently sweeping our nation. I will continue to take advantage of these fierce burger wars until things settle down and the weaker of the chains falls into receivership and the strongest will go on to become the new rulers of the burger world. I'm still unclear as to how this is going to play out, especially when it comes to the original "fast food" guys; will they be able to keep their heads above water with all their mystery meat ingredients? Or will they be forced into making some major menu changes including switching to higher quality meat selections? Again, I don't know, and I don't care, I'm just having a great time sampling some great burgers from joints that are popping up all over the NY Tri-State area. Which leads me to another question people are asking of me more and more lately...  "Why are you rating so many burgers with 9's and 10's?" Hmmmmmm. Isn't it obvious? The burger wars are in full swing across the country and with each new joint comes stiffer competition which means we don't have to be slaves to whatever Mickey D's and BK has to offer anymore. I'm also receiving more suggestions for restaurants with "great" burgers so that's also pushing recent burger ratings up. In fact, it's getting very difficult to go back to fast food burgers of any kind (*) after sampling some really good burgers like: Jake's Wayback Burgers, 5 Guys, Bobby Flay's, Bucu Burgers, East Coast Burgers, Shake Shack (just to name a few) and the East Coast still has yet to see the likes of true burger giants of the West Coast such as In-N-Out Burger. I maintain, I am not a snob, not to fast food or any other type of unnatural or chemically produced product and I will always try new things as the science of food evolves. This is not to say I don't understand the "all natural" preferences of some people, I get it, fresh, indigenous, "real" foods are great, but again, I'm no snob (Anthony Bourdain) when it comes to culinary experiments. As for American cheese, yeah, it's fake, but it has its place in the world. Nuff Said. 
5 Guys continues to deliver a good tasting burger and believe me, I never thought I'd say that about a well-done burger, but 5 guys 80/20 patties push out just enough rendered fat to save the day. Another attraction for me is the simplicity of the menu, there are not 50 to 100 items, there are very few and it's the ease of decision making which I find refreshing. The burgers are always very tasty, never too salty (like Smashburger) and you can expect a consistent product no matter what location you walk into. 5 Guys is a great example of keeping it simple and of how "less" really can be more.   9/10

(*) White Castle remains in a class by itself.