A Bun Above the Rest: A Local’s Guide to Central Jersey Burgers

A Bun Above the Rest: A Local’s Guide to Central Jersey Burgers


There’s something very American about the hamburger. We love the classics, but we also love one that’s jazzed up with all the fixings, from good old Swiss to peanut butter. We followed our love for this American dish, searching for what local’s deem the best of the best Central Jersey burgers and boy, we were in for a treat.

It all starts with the beef (or other types of meat) and goes on from there. These Central Jersey burgers cover the gamut of fixings, cooking methods, and buns, making us think there’s a burger in central jersey that’s out there for everyone.

Oh, and don’t worry – there are absolutely no fast food places on here. It’s all about local establishments that are doing what they do best – firing up the grill (or griddle) and serving up the best burgers that Central Jersey has to offer. Get your napkin out, because you may start to drool.

Your Guide to Must Eat Central Jersey Burgers

central jersey burger
Halle Burger at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park

All hail the Halle Burger. Initially, you may think to yourself, ‘why would I order a burger at a German restaurant?’ but when you start seeing trays of it streaming out of the kitchen doors, you will change your mind. Served on a buttery brioche bun, it’s topped with tart red onion slaw and tomato jam, and smothered in Muenster cheese. A close runner up is their Pliz Burger – one of the best vegetarian burgers in New Jersey thanks to the winning combo of balsamic mustard, Swiss, and portabella mushroom. 527 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park 732-997-8767 asburybiergarten.com

central jersey burger

The Irish Mother-In-Law at Hailey’s Harp and Pub, Metuchen
There’s no need to be nervous when meeting Hailey’s Irish Mother-In-Law for the very first time. Nothing like that initial, awkward meet and greet, this burger is the type of in law that you’ll want to hang out with. This alternative baked potato in burger form is topped with shredded cheddar, hot chili, sour cream, red onions, and scallions; it goes perfect with a shot of Irish whiskey. Head in on Wednesday’s and check out the retro-cade for High Score Wednesdays on their arcade machines from yesteryear. 400 Main Street, Metuchen 732-321-0777 haileysharpandpub.com


The Jersey Giant at Jersey Freeze, Freehold

This legendary Freehold hang out is a one-stop-shop. Burgers, fries, ice cream and your occasional Bruce sighting. We’re partial to the Jersey Giant which lives up to its name with a 7oz beef burger, pork roll and fried onions on a hard roll. Check out more information on their menu here. Thank us later. 120 Manalapan Avenue, Freehold 732-462-3008 jerseyfreeze1952.com/

central jersey burger
Peanut Butter Burger at Butcher Burgers, Westfield

With 19 burgers to choose from, it’s hard to pick a favorite at this sophisticated burger joint. Executive Chef CJ has made sure that all his made to order burgers are “a cut above the rest.” Served on butcher block with the obligatory fries and pickles, you really can’t go wrong with whatever burger you’re feeling. (For us, it’s the Peanut Butter Burger – The King’s would be favorite – for today at least).  To sweeten this deal, how about a deal for Central Jersey InMotion readers? $20 worth of Butcher Burgers for $12.50. 39 Elm Street, Westfield 908-317-2640 butcherburgers.net/

central jersey burger
Patty Melt at Court Jester, Freehold and Matawan

No one does a Patty Melt quite like Court Jester. This central Jersey burger is everything that a this diner staple should be – served on rye bread and topped with onion, tomato, cheese, and of course, Russian dressing. Oh, we’re drooling just thinking about it. Check it out on Burger Night (Mondays in Freehold and Tuesdays in Matawan).  16 E. Main Street, Freehold 732-462-1040 https://www.jestersweb.net/

central jersey burger
Build Your Own Burger at Toast, Montclair

Yes, they’re known as your go-to BYOB brunch hot spot, but they’re also known for their BYOB – build your own burger thanks to a canvas of Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, and a brioche bun. It’s up to you to turn what’s already delicious into something we can get behind. 700 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair 973-509-8099 https://toastmontclair.com/

central jersey burger
Double Onion Steakhouse Burger at MJ’s Restaurant, Matawan

You’ve got all the classic burgers at MJ’s, but what you need to do is order one of their “amazing big burgers,” the MJ’s Double Onion Steakhouse Burger to be exact. 10oz of Angus that’s topped with melted smoky cheddar, grilled onions, pickles, crispy onion rings, and a sweet homemade BBQ sauce, it’s what little burgers dream about becoming. Head there on Thursdays for a burger spin on BYOB. For just $8.99 you can build your very own burger creation. 845 Rt. 34 North, Matawan 732-566-6220 www.mjsrestaurant.com

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Urban Minnies at Urban Griddle, Elizabeth

If they’re small, we can have more than one right? Of course we can! Ordering the Urban Minnies make us feel a little more lady like. Three mini burgers topped with Russian dressing, lettuce, tomato, classic American cheese, on mini brioche buns is Urban Griddle’s version of crustless tea sandwiches – but way, way better. 460 Maple Avenue, Elizabeth 908-289-2465 urbangriddle.com

central jersey burger
Bacon Cheddar Burger at Gusto Grill, East Brunswick
You may be tempted to order one of Gusto Grill’s flat bread or enticing main dishes and even though that wouldn’t be wrong, missing out on their Bacon Cheddar Burger would be so right. Delicious Wagyu beef is topped with melted Vermont white cheddar cheese, crispy thick cut bacon, and all the fixings. Order with the house cut truffle and Parmesan fries or spice it up with the sriracha yuka fries and you’ve got yourself a burger that contends with the rest of ’em. 1050 NJ-18, East Brunswick 732-651-2737 www.gustogrill.com/

central jersey burger
Blawenburger at Blawenburg Cafe and Catering Company, Skillman

This place has some staying power. The original Blawenburg Market has been a staple in the community for over 100 years while the catering company has been operating for over 20. We’re partial to believe that it has something to do with the Blawenburger. Made with Beechtree Farm Beef, this patty is nothing but ordinary. Served with red onion marmalade, creamy Gruyere, roasted tomatoes, and garlic aioli that get into every nook and cranny of its english muffin bookends. Oh, and it’s served with Chimichurri french fries *mike drop.* 391 Co Rd. 518, Skillman 609-466-3905 blawenburgcafe.com/

central jersey burger
The Smokeshow at Diesel and Duke, New Brunswick and Montclair

Who knew a little orange house could conjure up some of the juiciest burgers in the garden state? Well, turns out, a lot of people. This straight forward burger and dog joint is fast food at its finest. Hand made patties, soft buns, and always hot, they’ll even deliver to hungry college kids in the wee hours of the morning. Don’t mess around with your order, just order The Smokeshow – bacon, cheddar, onion ring, and BBQ sauce – you can thank us later. 139 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick 732-246-1001 www.dieselandduke.com/

central jersey burger
Dirty Jersey Burger at George’s Roasters and Ribs, Princeton

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind meal for a steal, look no further than George’s. Yes, you may be lured in by the promise of ribs and wings, but we’re telling you to give their classic burger a try. No fuss, no frills, just meat (and cheese). But if you’re lucky, the Dirty Jersey Burger will be on special with spicy wing sauce and of course, pork roll. 244 Nassau Street, Princeton 609-252-0419 georgesprinceton.com

central jersey burger
Krug’s Bacon Cheeseburger at Krug’s Tavern, Newark

For over 80 plus years, Krug’s has been famously known for its seafood and ribs and yes, its burgers too. Taking home the 2015 trophy for NJ’s best burger with a classic – bacon and cheese – we’ll happily order any of Krug’s Burgers with the locals. Their 12 oz. patties are made fresh every day and cooked to order. 118 Wilson Avenue, Newark 973-465-9795 www.krugstavern.com/

central jersey burger
Classic Burger at Loaded BurgersNBBQ, Garwood

It may not be the fanciest place in town, but Loaded BurgersNBBQ can certainly throw down in the food department. The difference is in the quality of the meet. They only use all natural, grass fed, and sustainability raised without the use of hormones and antibiotics. You may not think it matters, but one bite in you’ll be convinced this is the way to go. 101 Center Street, Garwood 908-264-7222 loadednj.com/

central jersey burger
The Dive Burger at Riverside Inn Bar, Cranford

This local bar is popular for many reasons – a chill vibe, cold craft beers, and The Dive burger. Aptly named after what is known as being one of the best dive bars in Jersey, this burger will soon become your favorite, especially when you pair it with the pickled eggs (and tater tots). 56 N. Ave E., Cranford 908-709-9449 https://www.facebook.com/riverside.inn.1/

central jersey burger
The Rossiburger at Rossi’s Bar and Grill, Hamilton Twp.

For 82 years, Rossi’s has been serving up family favorites including their Rossiburger – a burger that is actually trademarked. It’s “served old school,” which means it’s hand-formed and then flame broiled and topped with a Kaiser roll. If you want anything else besides the meat and the bun, you have to request it. (Mom isn’t watching so you don’t have to eat your vegetables.) 2110 Whitehorse Mercerville Road, Hamilton 609-890-2004 www.rossisbarandgrill.com/

central jersey burger
Stage Left Burger at Stage Left, New Brunswick

The white tablecloths may throw you off a bit, but even the most sophisticated restaurants are doubling down their burger game. The Stage Left Burger is no exception. They make upwards of 800 of these 11 oz. juicy burgers per month, which has also been named as best of the best by many. Add on some aged Vermont Cheddar and apple wood smoked bacon for good measure. 5 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick 732-828-4444 stageleft.com

central jersey burger
Bacon Jam Burger at StuffedBurger, Montclair

We’re pretty confident in owner, Dan Campeas’ ability to make a good burger (he operated a burger food truck in Austin before opening Stuffed). His passion for grass-fed only meat and stellar ingredients is proven in every bite of the Bacon Jam Burger that’s stuffed (hence the name) with Havarti cheese, salty bacon jam, spicy arugula and roster garlic aioli that all sits pretty on a buttery brioche bun. 150 Valley Rd. #1, Montclair 973-893-5805 www.stuffedgrassfedburgers.com/

central jersey burger
Brown Stone Burger at The Brown Stone, Metuchen

Order their namesake burger and your stomach will be doing flips (the good kind). It all starts with their 10 oz. Black Angus beef burger that’s char-grilled, then loaded with sautéed mushrooms, onions, hunks of Bleu Cheese and bacon. Switch out the fries for the onion rings and add one to your burger… trust us. 932 Middlesex Avenue, Metuchen 732-902-2741 thebrownstonenj.com

central jersey burger

Hamburger at Tierney’s Tavern, Montclair
What’s the secret behind Tierney’s infamous burger patty? A No.10 tin can that they smash their hand-made patty with so the fat and juices stay IN the burger and therefor, in your mouth. It’s a decades old tradition that’s tried and true. 136-138 Valley Road, Montclair 973-744-9785 tierneystavern.com/

central jersey burger
Speedy Gonzales at Urban Burger, Cranford
When you use chorizo instead of beef as a burger patty, we’re 110% on board. Topped with pulled pork, Urban’s own cole slaw, BBQ sauce, AND Gruyere cheese and you can see why they’re one of our favorite burger spots in Central Jersey. 13 Eastman Street, Cranford 908-272-7790 urbanburgercranford.com