J. G. Melon
1291 Third Avenue, Upper East Side

It has only been around since 1972, which is an eternity in NYC, but J. G. Melon feels more like an 80 year old. It’s a little tired, very much set in its ways, but is still reliable day after day, decade after decade. It is a preppy Upper Eastside institution that has its diehards – ask Bobby Flay – it’s his absolute favorite. Melon does make a very good cheeseburger. The bun is soft and squishy and unseeded. The beef, a sizable patty, not too much, not too skimpy. It is classically dressed with a fully melted American cheese slice, chopped onions, tomato and pickle slices. The ridged cottage fries are tasty too. It’s always packed, the service is borderline surly, and room hasn’t been updated in, maybe forever, but you will still come here and get your beer and burger. With the whole city burger craze, there are better places, but this grandfather will be here long after the others fail in their infancy. Long live Melon!