J.G. Melon

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90 Excellent

Preppies swear allegiance to the hamburgers at this Upper East Side institution.

1291 Third Ave., New York, NY, 10021



Known For

The lowdown

Upper East Side preppies have gathered faithfully at J.G. Melon since 1972, but its melon kitsch décor makes this local landmark look like it opened back in 1932. Under a pressed tin-ceiling and dim yellowed lighting, ruddy-cheeked young men drink Bloody Marys next to casually attired older couples munching salads out of wooden bowls. Space is tight — the narrow, old-time bar and kitchen take up most of the front room while patrons sit elbow-to-elbow in the back — but this doesn’t dissuade couples in suits from grabbing an after-work drink, though you won’t want to impart any secrets in this jovial, noisy environment. The resolutely American menu is painted onto wooden boards and served daily from lunch until the wee-morning hours, but the only thing anyone really orders are the thick, juicy hamburgers and cheeseburgers, the house’s signature dish. Melon’s has expanded in recent years with locations in Greenwich Village and on the Upper West Side, but this original location is by far the most charming of the bunch.

What you need to know

Insider Tips The place can get crowded after work, but even though the line can stretch out the door, the waits generally move more quickly than you expect.

Recommended DishesCheeseburger; hamburger; cottage fries.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelBring earplugs!