Poppy's Burgers & Fries
184 Main Street, Beacon NY 12508 (map); 845-765-2121; poppyburger.com
Burger style: Fast food–style, griddled burgers
Want fries with that? Yes. They're hand-cut, crisp, fluffy, and nicely cooked
The short order: Poppy's is a gem of a place that serves single- or double-patty, grass-fed, local-beef burgers. They could use a bit more moisture, but the flavor and texture of the patty is excellent and the sandwich is well-balanced
Price: Single burger, $6; double, $9 (both come with cheese and diced onion)
If I lived in Beacon, New York, I would be hesitant to talk about Poppy's. After all, why blow up my spot just 'cause the burgers are hot? As it stands, the small Hudson Valley city is already inundated with day-tripping New York City residents making art pilgrimages to Dia:Beacon. There'd be no reason I'd want to turn out-of-towners onto this local gem.
So maybe that's why we had to hear about Poppy's from AHT'r Seth Brau. A fellow Gothamite, he had no qualms about telling us how great the place was. And now I'm here to confirm it.
As Mr. Brau noted, the burgers at Poppy's, which come in single- and double-patty models (4- and 8-ounce, respectively), are fast food–style — burgers that seem to take their inspiration from fast food burgers but that are much better.
The beef is sustainorganical—locally grown, grass-fed, humanely raised. I've never been the biggest fan of grass-fed-beef burgers because they're often too dry due to the leaner lifestyle they once led in their former lives as cows. And that's my only complaint about Poppy's: I wish they were a little bit juicier. Sure, there was enough moisture there, but there were times I found myself dipping the mustard a little hard.
The flavor, though? Great. These coarsely ground, loosely packed burgers had just enough funky, deeply beefy flavor, a subtle minerality. And whoever was cooking them was not afraid of seasoning them with a good amount of salt. As for texture, the patty surface is a beautifully craggy study in random crispness, and the bun is well balanced. Mr. Brau mentioned Martin's potato rolls in his email. On the single, the bun appears to be Martin's. On the double, it's some sort of custom job that's a little drier but nonetheless does the job well. On a double, what Poppy's calls its "Classic Big," the cheese is melted mid stack.
I'd recommend the Classic Big to the Classic Little. Though both are tasty, the Classic Big is hearty enough to satisfy without being overwhelming. I'd imagine the smaller single burger would leave me wanting more.
Which, I suppose, might be what fries are designed for. At Poppy's, they're worth eating. Hand-cut from russet potatoes, even a small bag is pretty damn big. And pretty damn good—crisp exterior, fluffy soft interior, lightly salted, not too greasy. I'm not a huge fry fan, but I ate more than my fair share of the order. (Sweet potato chips are also available, but they were out when we visited.)
Another reason to love Poppy's? Mexican Coke. And—cough, cough—it's only $2. (Oh, and the awesome eye-rolling squeeze bottles.)
Poppy's is on Main Street in Beacon, about a 20-minute walk from Dia:Beacon, if you're taking the Metro-North up and on foot. By car, it's about two minutes.
Before I leave you, I want to pass on some pro tips:
- Poppy's has a small garden in back. Grab a table out there if it's nice outside
- Service is pretty prompt — about the time it takes a moderately skilled pinball player to play a game and a half of the silver ball. Pinball! Yes!
- The awesome little ice-pop shop Zora Dora is across the street. I'd tell you to save room for an unusually refreshing dessert (like this cucumber-chile-mint paleta), but, hell, there's always room for iced treats — they just melt around what's already in your stomach
In conclusion, I apologize in advance to Beaconites for sending any AHT meatheads to mob your local. And I thank Mr. Brau for the tip.