The best burgers in the Capital Region?

burger and fries five guys

A little cheeseburger and fries from Five Guys

Ryan emails:

My girlfriend (not an Albany native) has recently asked me where to find the best burger in Albany. I had a few ideas, but I'd love to open the question to the community so we can make our own "Tour de Burger".

We don't know Ryan and his girlfriend, but we already like them.

So, suggestions for stops on a Capital Region burger tour? If we're including fast food burgers, Five Guys has to be on the list.

What about other stops?

Earlier on AOA: Eating the $25 burger at dp Brasserie


Spill'n the Beans in Troy.

Both my contractor and husband tell me that Juicy Burger is great.

Personally? Haven't eaten a burger in about 18 years. ;)

Spill'n The Beans in Troy. Best burgers (beef, pork and veal) and topping selection (firehouse jam, goat cheese and avacado, etc.) Five Guys and Juicy Burgers definitely go on the list but Make Spill'n the last stop or you might not go anywhere else.

Lynn's Uptown Tavern on Colvin Ave in Albany has great burgers. Unfortunately, the service is not as good as the burger so don't go if you're in a rush!

Juicy Burgers by far

I thought they were called Steamed Hams here.

@Chalmers- That's right. We call them Steamed Hams despite the fact that they are obviously grilled.

I'll have to investigate this Spill'n The Beans see how they compare with patented Skinner Burgers.

5 guys uses common cheap ground beef. Go to Hardees for the best value. They use only Angus Beef.

Spill'n the Beans has great burgers if you like them well done and dry.

This really isn't the season for this kinda tour since you're going to miss out on all the great summer spots like Jack's Drive-In in Wynantskill.

Oliver's in Glenville. I have lived in the area my whole life and it is by far the best tasting burger I've had. Anywhere.

Five Guys? Seriously? For me (a Kansas native/beef snob), no burger should be ordered without the next question being "how would you like it cooked?" The best burgers I've found are at New World Bistro Bar and the Pump Station. Otherwise? Meh.

The other night I had the best burger EVER and it was at Wine N Diner on Delaware. Everyone should try it.

Gotta go Hill Street Cafe in Albany.

Gus's in troy for cheap good drunk eats.

3 burgers 3 dogs

Morette's in Sch'dy has a great cheeseburger deluxe. They grind the meat from the steak they use for the steak sandwiches. They're fantastic.

Personally love Juicy Burger, but I have also heard great things about New World Bistro Bar's burgers.

I have to say that Spill & Lynn's are both great burgers, but I have to say that the Pump Station offers a wonderful burger.

Not a burger connoisseur myself, but I hear great things about Sutter's.

All I know is avoid that one burger shack on Delaware Ave.

I've always enjoyed those little slider guys at gingerman.

@Summer - No, no, nooooo on the Sutter's burgers. They're preformed patties that aren't very flavorful. Also avoid The Ruck's. They're fine, but also the pre-made patty kind.

I think I'm going to have to give Spillin' the Beans a shot. I think Steve (Barnes) posted something about their burgers before, too.

Sutter's mill and mining is definitely near the top of the list. As is peach's cafe at the Stuyvesant plaza and the pump station.

Jack's, Gus', and Jumpin' Jacks' all fall into their own category. Maybe sliders? Tasty, but not fair to compare these with the thick, juicy, high quality meat in the above list.

Chain restaurants? Seriously folks, chains? Have some pride in your area and tell everyone on the planet that the best anything in the Capital District does not come from a chain store.

Oh C***!

I forgot about the Hill Street! (which is a great burger, I just have always had them after the third pint)

I still prefer the Pump Station burger.

Definitely add Chez Mike in East Greenbush to the Tour de Burger. Their burger is SOOOO GOOD (along with everything else there).

All I know for sure, is it is not sutters! That food is all out of the box/bag directly to your plate after a microwave. Last burger I ate there tasted like it had started to turn. Justin's has a great one (a breakfast version with an egg too for brunch). Also, Pepper Jack's makes some nice combo burgers as well. Good luck!

As a Texan in NY from a Black Angus cattle raising family whose meat ended up in very good Texas steak houses, I'm compelled to make clear that whether beef is quality or not is not at all determined by whether it was made from Angus cattle. Angus is simply a breed of cattle, and a common one in beef raising states at that. The current trend is all about marketing, and the assumption by the chains and grocers that most consumers don't know what "Angus" really means. It's a very good breed for meat, but is no guarantee of quality, because as in all things food related, quality is born of many, many factors.

Just FYI.

I had a Spill N Beans burger today and it was rather uneventful and I didn't even finish it. I'll take a Five Guys burger over that any day.

The Jack Burger at Jack's Drive In in Scotia.

No one's mention the Shake Shack yet!

Juicy Burger made a convert out of my husband, who previously didn't care for burgers. Now I'm curious about Spill'n and New World.

I also enjoy the Pump Station's burgers.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions everyone! My girl loved that I asked everyone for suggestions, and especially that so many people responded. Not only scored some major points, but now we have a Tour de Burger to keep us busy for a few months! Thanks again!

+1, Jack. We had some Angus and some polled Herefords when I was a kid (in Washington County), and they're just beef breeds. There's no magic in "Angus," and only suckers believe otherwise.

Back when there were still Grand Union stores in this area, the main benefit was the butcher section, where they'd cut anything for you and sold prime as well as choice. Price Chopper's answer became "Certified Angus." Me: "Do you sell prime?" PC guy: "We have certified Angus." Me: "Yeah, but is it USDA prime or choice?" PC guy: "It's certified Angus." Upshot: It's choice, at the price Grand Union charged for prime. Why would I pay that?


I meant James, not Jack. Dunno where that came from.


Juicy Burger beats the pants off Five Guys.

@LQ, I find Certified Angus at Price Chopper to be one of the major benefits of living in the Cap District. It is not USDA graded (grading is optional and costs money) but a side by side comparison with cuts of USDA Choice in the same butcher case will show better marbling and more consistent cuts. And if you watch the sale prices (or grab the past-date cuts like I do) CAB can be cheaper than Choice and vastly cheaper than Prime, if you can find it.

"a Tour de Burger to keep us busy for a few months"

Months? Honestly that sounds more like a sabbatical than a tour.

Since there are two of you, perhaps I can make a suggestion. If you split the burger in half you should be able to hit four places a night, and only consume two burgers a piece. Two burgers IS a lot of food, but not over a four hour period.

Now that would be a tour.

There is wisdom in doing the separate brackets for the burgers cooked al the way through versus those that are cooked to a specified internal temperature. Although it is hard to imagine any of those burgers besting Five Guys in all of its beefy glory. Maybe the Shake Shack could come close. That could be the summer tour.

For the winter tour I too would put up NWBB since they have the grass-fed burger that I enjoyed. A lot of ground beef, even the stuff that is served in "restaurants" kind of gives me the willies. Are you familiar with the turn pink slime?

When it comes to great burgers, knowing the source of the meat is important to me. There can be a lot of bad stuff in ground beef, so I like to make sure I'm getting the best quality meat around. And that doesn't mean prime, angus or wagyu. It means beef that wasn't sick and wasn't covered in poop.

My answer is looking for burgers that are sourced with beef produced on a smaller scale. Sometimes that's local, other times it's not.

The sliders at McGeary's! Fantastic...

It seems crazy to order a burger at New World, when there are so many other good things on the menu. But they are so good! They get my vote for the best burger around.

Dave at Burgercentric on Delaware makes THE BEST-like my Mother used to make with the grinder attached to the chopping block. DELICIOUS!!! Get it to go.

Its a bit of a drive, but the best burger I've ever had was at the Market Market Cafe in Rosendale.

I've eaten at 5 Guys and Juicy Burger and like them both, but Poopie's in Glens Falls is equal to or better than both of them. Just order the soup first or Jerry may get pissed and swear about you. Not at you though. Ha! Great fries as well. Pax, PhilthyRex

Brown's in Troy. But where are the veggie burgers at??

There is something about the seasoning they use at Juicy Burgers that I don't like, I feel like I'm eating watery meatloaf and I really don't like how they oil the roll before they grill it, it ends up being way too greasy. I've asked them not to oil it before they grill it and they seemed confused on how to do that when I asked(really?) so they just didn't toast it at all.

I highly recommend the grass-fed burger at New World Bistro and Bar, the best tasting beef burger I've had, plus the awesome roll they put it on puts it over the top.

For Daniel B., looking for burgers from humanely raised cows: Roadfood just did a review of Poppy's in Beacon NY across the river from Newburgh:

It might be exactly what you're looking for.

Juicy Burger gets my respect. Circus Cafe in Saratoga is also very very good.

sutters mill & albany pump station

AOA folks----how about a Tournament of Burgers?

Graney's on New Scotland Avenue in Albany. The beef is perfectly seasoned and they're not afraid to serve it to you rare.

If we expand the grid to the region, I would be remiss not to mention the Old Schoolhouse in Downsville, where the burgers are made from their own herd of Longhorns they keep out back.

It was a magnificent burger. I'm not Texan enough to debate the merits of Longhorn versus Angus. But I am curious to hear from the pro-Angus camp.

Sutter's in Albany used to be the best by far (proven by the fact that they won the Timesuseless and Metroland best of something like 13 years in a row and like 80 out of 81 years lol) but they have slipped in the last few years. I dont think they have won anything since like 2004.

Thei burgers are still good though, especially if you add the "creamy cheddar sauce" and bacon.

Or if you go on Monday night for burger night when the 'steer burger' (8oz) is $3.00

No longer the best really, but still real good.

Don't listen to the five guys people, you can make a burger just as tasty in like 15 minutes at home for half the price. The reason to go to five guys is the bacon wrapped, jalapeno and cheese stuffed half pound hot dog.

A great spot for a burger and beverage is JT Maxie's on Wolf Road.

I find the burgers at The Towne Tavern in Averill Park to be the tastiest I have had by far. The Sand Laker is my absolute favorite.

I've sampled burgers all over the world in my quest for the best burger, and I keep coming back to the Ale House in Troy. Like everyone, they have an off night now and again, but the burgers are generally awesome. Thick, home made, juicy, fresh veggies, quality cheese, tasty bacon...Om, nom, NOM!

And the fries with turkey gravy...Well, let's just say I hope they find one lodged in my arteries at my autopsy.

A new item to albany, Shy's sliders at McGeary's are pretty damn good. Not a classic White Castle slider (had one of those last night, yum), but a mini cooked to order hamburger.

I concur with Meagan. The burger at Chez Mike is crazy good. But I've never had a Juicy Burger. I may have to check them out this weekend.

I can't claim to be an aficianado here, I usually skip burgers, especially when wings are on the menu (mmmm wings... my kryptonite). But in Albany proper, I think you're missing out if you don't do Wine N' Diner (a solid lineup of specialty burgers) and Pump Station (the only place I order a burger by default).

Lark Tavern's burgers were always kickass, so now that Tess is at Graney's I'd say hit that too. I embarrasingly admit that even though I live on the block, I haven't had a burger at Burgercentric or New World. Well, thanks, now I have something to do this weekend.

Pig Pit BBQ right on the Cohoes/Green Island line. It's BIG....SLOPPY....and DELICIOUS!!!!!!

burgers at the standard are actually quite good.

Anyone who has live din Albany for long enough knows there is only one "best" burger to be had in Albany. Surprisingly I did not see it mentioned above, although I did not read every comment. And the winner is.....Dan's Place (Two).
The emmy bull burger is where it's at. Hours are not always consistent, but usually open late night. However, if you use any foul language or behave unruly, you will be kicked out without a doubt or a doggy bag.

The first burger I had after being vegan for 8 years was at the cafe at Indian Ladder Farms. Sinc it had been so long I might not be the best judge but I remember it being the best burger I've ever tasted.

From what I recall the burgers are hyper local, meaning you could see the farm and the cows that the meat was from out of the cafe window. Has anyone else gotten burgers there?

Also want to second whoever said the Hill St. Good burgers and good selection of fixings.



There are too many suggestions to possibly try out. Tournament of Burgers, please.

The Pump Station is great- the beef is local, humanely raised grass-fed from Gordon Farms. The difference shows in the quality and flavor of the meat.

1. Dans Place 2 on Washington Ave has the Emmy Bull which is the best burger ever. no question it's number one! RESPECT
However the hours are weird and place is a dump.
2. Spill the beans makes very flavorful burger on the small side.
3. Juicy burger and 5 guys deserve mention.

I will have to check out chez mike and new world. Thanks
Not including Marisa's place in the pizza shootout is a disgrace.

1. I have HUGE respect for the Lamb and Feta burger out of Chez Mikes with the Chickpea Fries. Would that count in a 'Tour de Burgers?'

2. I used to love Sutters, until I ordered a burger mid rare and it came out charred with an utterly uncooked center. I sent it back with humble apologies, and it came back hockey puck style. One chef having a grumpy day is not a reason to write off the establishment as a whole, but I will echo the inconsistency of their output these last few years.

3. I adore the Pump Station Burger. It is dripping, juicy deliciousness, with a perfect blend of toppings. Pair it with a pint of Kick A$$ Brown and you have heaven.

4. Is it fair to compare an upscale place like NWBB (or Chez Mike's for that matter) with down home places? On the other hand, wouldn't it be interesting to watch them go head to head with the local greasy spoons? I haven't heard anyone mention the Cheeseburger Club out of The Fireside in Schenectady yet. It could give any local $15 hamburger a run for its money.

New World Bistro Bar, no contest.

Another vote for Burger Centric on Delaware in Albany.
Bonus: if you get the nachos, ask about the owner's Indian food topping (no idea what it's called but it's delicious)

i went to juicy burger in albany last night. lots of toppings, very good bread, but the beef itself wasn't that impressive. the fries were also run of the mill mcdonalds or burger king. but they DID have nice sauces, a variety of cheeses, and good toppings.

five guys still wins easily. much better meat, far better fries (esp the cajun). it's less expensive also.

Love the burgers at O'Toole's!

J&A Prep Kitchen in Crossgates (I know, I know, but if you park in the right place you can go right in without having to deal with the mall) makes a really great burger. They have a separate menu of special burgers right now and the ones we had were great!

BUILDABURGERPUB.COM Central ave in Colonie. Hot side hot Cold side cold & you get all the toppings FREE

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