Joy Burger Bar

The Secret is in the sauce… and the 8 oz. hunk of meat in your gut.

Burgers Ordered: Matt – The Garlic Mayo Maxi; Brad – The Spicy Mayo Maxi.

The Experience: In the home stretch of a long work week, Matt and Brad couldn’t recruit any guest Burgermeisters to dine with them. Weak and weary they ventured north from their typical Upper East Side stomping grounds to the southern tip of East Harlem for what promised to be a quick burger leading almost directly to a necessary food coma.

The Joy Burger Bar, which also has a location in the West Village, is your typical throwback corner burger joint. Both the south and west facing walls open up, creating a fantastic air flow that allows you to experience outside breezes without having to worry about your napkins blowing into the street. Also, for guys like Brad and Matt who work outside all day, sometimes you just want to eat somewhere that has a ceiling. The short-order cooks are friendly and helpful, always smiling despite standing next to a sweat-inducing grill all day.

Though there was virtually no line when we got to the place we were still given a “number” that would be called when our burgers were ready. Joy Burger Bar uses a deck of cards for this, and cutely call out things like “10 of hearts” and “seven of clubs” when your order is up. Matt and Brad took the opportunity to have fun with their cameras.

Waiting for your meal, Vegas style.

Root beer and burgers: A perfect combination on a summer day.

Presentation: Both Matt and Brad ordered the Maxi, Joy Burger Bar’s jumbo burger. Other options available are the Much and the Midi, a three and five ounce burger, respectively. The Maxi looms large at eight ounces of meat. Both men ordered their burgers medium rare as per usual.

At the Joy Burger Bar you build your own burgers. Matt built his Maxi with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and garlic mayo. The joint’s slogan, “The sauces make the difference,” had us hoping that they’d be out of this world. Matt anticipated his mayo to be heavily seasoned.

Brad’s built his Maxi with sautéed onions, fresh mozzarella cheese, a pickle and spicy mayo. Last week the spice from Brad’s Spicy Stumbler left him with indigestion and the hiccups. He remained unfazed in the face of danger. He and Matt shared an order of homemade fries and both got themselves a bottle of root beer.

Taste: The burger patties were so big that it was hard to find the bun. Meat protruded from the perimeter to the point that our Burgermeisters couldn’t help but get their hands greasy. Matt sped through his massive burger, saying it was cooked to perfection and caring little about the fact that the garlic mayo would certainly keep his girlfriend from coming near him later.

Brad found the spicy mayo to be powerful enough, yet not so much so that his stomach’s chemistry changed at all (unlike last week). Though he found what he called “pockets of perfection,” in his burger patty, overall he lamented that the burger was prepared medium and not medium well. He did find the meat to be well flavored and enjoyed the zest that his sliced pickle added to the experience.

Both men left totally full. There was no room for the beer they’d previously agreed to get after dinner.

The Verdict: This is how short order burgering should be done. Pleasant line cooks, a short wait, a huge burger cooked to order with a variety of options for personalization; these are the calling cards of an excellent dinner on the go. Top that off with the fact that these guys deliver (though the Burgermeisters NEVER recommend getting a burger delivered to your home) and the low cost of a burger, fries and a root beer for around ten dollars per person and you’ve got yourself a home run. Don’t be afraid to venture north for this quick bite at a fair price.

Joy Burger Bar is located at 1567 Lexington Avenue on the corner of 100th Street.

Article by Brad Garoon

I run this burger joint.


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