JG Melon is often referred to as the place with the best burger in New York City. There are approximately 64,307 establishments in NYC to get a burger at, so that’s quite the achievement. The thing that separates JG Melon from other burger joints is their history. They’ve been open for decades, and their decor has gone virtually unchanged. You walk in and you feel like the place has been there for 100 years. They’ve gotten so popular that they expanded from their Upper East Side location and set up an additional shop in Greenwich Village. It felt like the right thing to do to pay homage to their long history of success and make the trek up to 74th and 3rd.
The place is teeny tiny. No joke there are 8 tables I think and a small bar to sit at. The kitchen is no bigger than the bathroom in your home. There’s one grill and two chefs pumping out simple, high quality food. It’s the type of place where you walk in and you feel like you’re gonna know someone there despite it being no bigger than a shoe box. It’s got that welcoming vibe that makes all guests feel at home. My table was surrounded by 5 other tables, yet I didn’t mind. This may sound weird but it was almost as if all guests were enjoying a meal together as a family. Apologies for the poetry, but JG Melon truly emanates a sense of warmth and comfort.
Let’s get to the meat of everything (as always, pun intended)…
I ordered their classic Bacon Cheeseburger, cooked medium rare because that’s how I rock and roll. The burger comes with red onion and pickles, and at my request I got lettuce and tomato with it (nice touch with the iceberg lettuce). Normally I’m not a “pickle on the burger” kind of guy, but it felt right to eat what I was given all together. I was unsure as to what order in which to assemble the toppings, but when I completed the task, it had such height that I had to hold it in place or else it would have fallen over. That’s a good problem to have. When it came to biting this well-assembled burger, I could not get a taste of everything in one single bite. In fact, I had to bite the burger and bottom bun followed by a bite of toppings and top bun. Is that understood? The size of this burger forced my hand and my mouth to alternate between top and bottom half.
It was difficult to hold, and if you put the burger down, the masterpiece would fall apart. As a veteran burger eater, I knew damn well that I’d have to hold onto it until completion. That would require burger juices running down my hand, and I was prepared for that. Each bite was better than the last, and within a few short minutes it was all gone. The burger was not huge. However, it was incredibly satisfying. The smoky bacon was cooked perfectly and was served in broken pieces (which I actually enjoyed more than full pieces of bacon despite the messiness). Every component worked well together, and each component complimented the next. The Bacon Cheeseburger gave me happiness in many many ways.
Best burger in NYC? That remains to be seen. But JG Melon did not disappoint. Do yourself a favor and make the trip to the UES and experience what New Yorkers have enjoyed for decades. (Also hit up Corner Bistro on West 4th.)
9.0 out of 10