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New York’s Best Cheap Eats

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Top 5 Burgers

SHAKE SHACK
A stinging slap in the face of the Great Gourmet Burger Movement from a few years back, the Shack Burger is a thing of simple beauty, made from a freshly ground mix of sirloin and brisket, loosely packed and served on a squishy bun that quickly becomes one with the crisp-edged meat.

BLUE SMOKE
This is the second-best burger in town, and it’s no surprise that, like the Shack Burger above (to say nothing of the great burger at Union Square Cafe), it comes from a Danny Meyer kitchen. Meyer is known as a groundbreaking restaurateur, but his greatest legacy might be his contribution to the burger pantheon.

BURGER JOINT
A no-frills char-grilled burger, well proportioned and modestly accoutred, that never fails to hit the spot.

DONOVAN’S PUB
The city’s premier bar burger. Order it with grilled onions and American cheese, and have it at the bar, a room thick with history and the occasional impenetrable brogue.

SCHNÄCK
You can order up to four 1-ounce Schnäckie patties stuffed into a single house-made mini-bun. But it’s more fun to order a whole pile of singles as if you were training for a competitive-eating contest.



Top 5 Brunch Spots

INSIDE
There’s much to love about Charleen Badman’s seasonal comfort-food menu, not least the signature matzo brei owner Anne Rosenzweig brought downtown with her from Lobster Club.

FREEMANS
Besides being your best chance of penetrating this hipster hangout, brunch is the time for poached eggs with golf-ball-size lamb sausages, a terrific roast-pork sandwich, and tasty if geriatric yogurt with stewed plums.

ALIAS
Mellow and low-key, Alias gives the jaded bruncher some offbeat options: goetta, for instance, the Cincinnatian pork-scrap delicacy, and one of the few fried-chicken-and-waffles you’ll find below 110th Street.

202
Chef Annie Wayte’s “full English breakfast” is more dainty than hearty, as befits the setting: a café plunked down in the middle of a chichi boutique. The scones are highly recommended, as is the homemade jam.

BEAST
Grab an outdoor table at this Prospect Heights tavern–cum–tapas bar and make your way through the Sunday papers with a mug of rich, Brooklyn-roasted Gorilla coffee and the excellent fried polenta. The so-called small plates aren’t—not at brunch, anyway.


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