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6 Cheap Burgers That Aren’t Shake Shack

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I always find it so fascinating that every time I walk by a Shake Shack there’s a line around the block. I totally get for a lot of tourists this is a very affordable (Hamburgers are about $4) option for traditional American fare. But Shake Shack is now a national/international chain…even if it did start as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park. To me the beauty of travel is in experiencing your environment and there’s no better way to do that than with food. If you’re looking for a good burger here are our some alternatives to waiting in the Shack lines.

1. Corner Bistro (331 West 4th Street – Manhattan – West Village)

When I lived in the West Village I was here a lot. Probably the best burger in the neighborhood (in my opinion), certainly for the value! With a neighborhood in transition, this place has stayed basically the same since the early part of this century. You can go in with a twenty (this is important because the bistro is CASH ONLY), get a couple of beers and a delectable burger. They even have a crappy old try to bring the whole motif together.

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Cost: Beer $3 + Cheeseburger $8.75 + Fries $2.75 = $14.50

2. Jackson Hole (69-35 Astoria Blvd – Queens – Jackson Heights)

While there are now 5 locations in NYC for this family owned business the original one opened in 1972 in Jackson Heights. They offer 26 different burgers….but honestly not getting fancy is actually the best. A pure 7 oz. hamburger with a side of fries. Perfection.

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Cost: Cheeseburger w/ fries $10 + Beer $5 = $15

3. Pops (167 N 8th St – Brooklyn – Williamsburg)

I’d pop in here when I was out walking around Williamsburg and the milkshakes/hot dogs/burgers are on point. It’s all hella affordable too and in a comfy bar! It’s small though so don’t troll in with a bunch of people and expect to find space. All in all, portions are generous and prices low.

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Cost: Cheeseburger $5.50 + Fries $3 + Soda $1.0 = $10

4. MilkBurger (2051 2nd Ave – Manhattan – UES)

This place is a favorite of Anthony Bourdain and wife. Lady Bourdain famously said of MilkBurger, “Shack Shack is my husband, and Milk Burger is my bootie call.” And with high-quality black angus beef and the softest potato rolls, it’s easy to see why she’d be lured away. MilkBurger has even gone on record saying their burger is unlike any burger you have ever tasted before. That’s legit! They are opening a Bronx location this summer too.

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Cost: Cheeseburger $6.75 + Fries $2.95 + Soda $2 = $11.70

5. Lucky’s Famous Burgers (264 W 23rd Street – Manhattan – Chelsea)

Lucky’s is where retro meets modern. I love Lucky’s! A sloppy burger after a night drinking at Barracuda was usually how my tine went when I lived around the corner. I recommend the BBQ Bacon Burger and vanilla shake if you wanna splurge. There are 3 locations in Manhattan.

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Cost: Lucky’s Combo (Cheeseburger+Fries+Soda) = $11

6. Paul’s da Burger Joint (131 2nd Ave – Manhattan – East Village)

Michael McKean via

Opened in 1989 (originally Paul’s Palace) it’s still just as fun and completely family run. They also offer 22 different burgers to choose from. Paul’s is even a favorite of Better Call Saul‘s Michael McKean, and if this burger is good enough for Chuck McGill it’s good enough for you. Sue Me!

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Cost: Cheeseburger $6 + Fries $3.50 + Soda $2 = $11.50

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Sheilah Villari - Dollar Bin Darling

Sheilah Villari - Dollar Bin Darling

Southern hospitality mixed with Northern sensibility. This native Charlestonian is one quirky hobby away from becoming a Wes Anderson character. Fluent in Jack Russell and Sportsball. She can be found perusing your local comic/coffee shops. She is the Managing Editor of BAS-NYC.

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