Dear AHT: A Ton of Reader Recommendations

Dear AHT

Recommendations, reviews, and more from the AHT inbox.

We receive lots of recommendations in the AHT inbox, recommendations that I've shamefully neglected to share with the rest of you over the past...few months. :( So I've rounded them all up and put this in this mega-Dear AHT post. Thanks to everyone who contacted us! You can drop us a line at [email protected] with all your recs and comments.

New York City

Dear AHT, Letters From Our ReadersYou need to try Mel's Burger Bar, which just opened up recently on Broadway between 110th and 111th Street. It's essentially Shake Shack as a more formal restaurant. The burgers are prepared the same way, with Pat LaFreida beef, on potato buns, and served in the same paper pouches. I haven't been there much, but boy were the burgers good. Plus, the milkshakes (including a lot of spiked ones) were also fantastic! They also serve some barbecue stuff (brisket/ribs etc), but I haven't gotten around to trying them yet. I highly recommend this place, it's easy to get to and well worth the trip.

- Ben S.

Mel's Burger Bar

2850 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 (map) 212-865-7100;‎

I'm a burger lover who enjoys reading your column. I've eaten burgers in NYC pretty much anywhere and everywhere, from the highbrow $15 burger along with all the lowbrow $4 -7 burgers.

One place that has a really good inexpensive burger is in the Olive Tree Cafe in the West Village. I usually get it with bacon and cheddar. It's always cooked (on a flame grill) to a perfect medium rare.

It is what it is, a really good decently priced burger in a place you wouldn't expect one.

- Lee

Olive Tree Cafe

117 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (map) 212-254-3480;

I am sure you get tons of recommendations...but I must say that the Fort Defiance (Red Hook, Brooklyn) Pat LaFrieda short rib burger is really, really spectacular.

Not crazy about the place getting too much press and becoming overrun, but it's really my favorite kind of neighborhood restaurant: no lines, good food, great coffee and cocktails, cute room.

- Debbie

Fort Defiance

365 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY 11231 (map) 347-453-6672;‎

Las Vegas


[Photograph: Fukuburger]

Here in Vegas there's this burger truck in particular that has amazing eats called Fukuburger; if you get a chance try it out. One of the best burgers I've ever had.

- James


Various locations; check 702-217-0758


You guys should review Square 1 Burgers in Tampa, FL. I like my burgers and was pleased when I went there for the first time this past weekend. They also have more options than you can shake a stick at.

- Daniel C.

Square 1 Burgers

3701 Henderson Blvd., Tampa FL 33609 (map) 813-414-0101;


I just wanted to drop you a line about one of my favorite burger places in Charleston, SC: Sesame Burgers and Beer. I wrote up their South Carolina Burger from my last visit. I love the place, and try to go whenever I visit family...they have some unique topping combinations as well.

Loving your burger picks!

Cheers, - Tom P.

Sesame Burgers and Beer

4726 Spruill Ave, North Charleston SC 29405 (map) 843-554-4903;


If you guys are ever in the Cleveland, Ohio, area, check out a place called Smitty's Place, the best in the cleveland area. President Obama eats there when he is in town, it's that good

- Anton F.

Smitty's Place

368 E. Bridge St., Elyria OH 44035 (map) 440-323-9708;‎



[Photograph: Pete's Hamburgers]

Not sure if you've heard about these, kind of classic sliders, but these exist in Wisconsin and Pete's Hamburgers is a trailer open in the summer that people bring bags of home (over a 2 hour drive) from Elkader, Iowa, to Iowa City. I will try these before the season is over, but wanted to make sure you were aware of the local style in Northeastern Iowa/Southwestern Wisconsin.

- Scott

Note: This upcoming weekend, Friday, October 15 through Sunday, October 17, is Pete's last weekend of operation in 2010.

Pete's Hamburgers

118 W Blackhawk Ave, Prairie du Chien WI 53821 (map)

Arizona and Colorado

My favorite burger joint in all of Arizona is BluBurger. They have very juicy burgers and beats Delux and whatever else have you. You get to make your own burger, and they are HUGE! HUGE I SAY! Well, mine is because I get the Kobe beef with onion bun, goat cheese and pepper jack cheese, romaine and/or spinach, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and sometimes homemade guacamole or avocado, with Dijon mustard to top it all off! Their fries or onion rings are amazing, and you should ask about their nitro pale ale (I've forgotten the name). This ale is on tap and tastes just like a beer you'd have with a burger... and some fries. Really great place to eat!

Also another place in Arizona is Chuck Box. They grill their burgers right there for you to see. This also means the fries get to be smoked since the smoke carries over to the fries and mmmmhmmm. Just not good to be there with allergies or asthma I think, but the food is awesome.

Now I that I thought about it, Jim's Burger Haven in Westminster, CO, is also a favorite I used to love eating at. Their burgers are a bit generic, big, and tasty. But their chili fries ARE AMAZING! You have a choice of red AND/OR green chili fries. BOTH TOGETHER IS THE BEST! I've never had good chili fries until I had them here.

- Kelpie


Multiple locations listed at

Chuck Box

202 E University Dr, Tempe AZ 85281 (map) 480-968-4712;

Jim's Burger Haven

595 East 88th Avenue, Denver Colorado 80229 (map) 303-430-8021;

San Mateo Peninsula, CA


[Photograph: Kirk's Steakburgers]

The San Mateo Peninsula, South of San Francisco has really built a name for itself for Burgers. Someone should do a series of 3-4 joints. Here are a few for the list:

Jack's Prime (3723 S El Camino Real, San Mateo CA 94403; 650-638-1479)
Godfather's Burger Lounge (1500 El Camino Real, Belmont CA 94002; 650-637-9257)
Jeffrey's Hamburgers (multiple locations)
The Oasis Beer Garden (241 El Camino Real, Menlo Park CA 94025; 650-326-8896)
Kirk's Steakburgers (multiple locations)

- Stephen M.