As a vegetarian, finding a good burger in New York City poses a few problems. While I live in a rather accepting city, not all restaurants accommodate. When my friends stop at a late night burger joint, I wind up getting fries and trying to remember why I became a vegetarian in the first place. When I do come across a place with a veggie burger on the menu, it’s usually pretty hit or miss. Sometimes falling apart and occasionally tasteless, most times I may as well stick with my usual order of fries. I basically gave up on finding a great veggie burger, until I found Joy Burger.
Just a five minute walk from my college, Joy Burger is the perfect place for any burger lover, whether they eat meat or they don’t. It mixes a contemporary feel with a diner décor that doesn’t break the budget. With a discount to students and quality food that tastes a lot better than a meal at the dining hall, you really can’t lose. Plus there are options, unlike most burger places. You construct the burger you want, it’s not chosen for you. Now instead of getting a plain veggie patty while everyone else is getting every burger special available, I can have something special too!
Not only can you choose your own patty, toppings, and legendary sauces (pro tip: their garlic mayo is incredible) but you can grab a great side to go with your burger. At other diner-like restaurants, sides usually stop at fries or onion rings, if you’re lucky. At Joy Burger, you can fulfill all of your comfort food needs with homemade french fries, sweet potato fries, mozzarella sticks, zucchini sticks, chicken fingers, salad, soup, chicken wings, and the fan-favorite giant onion rings—crispy rings of golden brown goodness!
Not a burger person? Just because “burger” is in the name doesn’t mean Joy Burger doesn’t have more to offer. They offer an assortment of salads, like the avocado salad with fresh avocado and roasted red peppers, and other sandwiches like the steak sandwich with sautéed onions. Or, for my fellow veg-heads, try the grilled Portobello sandwich!
Plus, Joy Burger is always trying to improve, coming up with new specials, discounts, and events to help out their loyal customers. Bringing homemade chili to the menu, offering their special Day Break burger (a burger with a fried egg and bacon on top of your choice of patty), and, overall, meeting the needs of their customers. In other words: you ask for it, and they come through for you. For example, customers wanted chili cheese fries, and now a free side order of chili cheese fries is being offered as a way to introduce the new side. They don’t mess around with customer service. And for those 21+, they have a happy hour daily from 4 PM- 7 PM, with a buy one get one free deal. They even offer hard cider, with a gluten free cider option!
While I held off on the seasonal beer, I did get a refreshing glass of mint lemonade that went perfectly with my meal. I ordered a veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, sautéed onions, and pickles, topped with some delicious garlic mayo. Onion rings came on the side! I was given a playing card, which they call when your food is ready. The use of playing cards only adds to the cute, quirky, uniqueness of Joy Burger. Within minutes my food was done and I was ready to chow down after an exhausting day at The New School.
Now, I am not exaggerating when I say this was the best veggie burger I’ve ever had. I know that sounds dramatic, but I am not kidding. The patty was thick and so tasty. All the ingredients were fresh and delicious, and for once I didn’t have crumbling bits of burger falling all over my plate. As for the onion rings, they really lived up to their reputation. Crunchy and gigantic, they were absolutely addicting. Try dipping them in one of their nine signature sauces and you’ll be all set for a perfect meal! With Joni Mitchell playing in the background, I never wanted to leave.
Being a bit of a Brooklyn hermit, the second school gets out I tend to run to the train back to my borough, but now I have reason to stay a little longer in Manhattan. Not only is this place affordable, especially for a student, but the food is actually good. Plus Joy Burger has an app where you can earn points and rewards which basically equals free food. And who doesn’t want free comfort food? With finals right around the corner, taking a break for onion rings and a burger is the perfect getaway from staring at a computer screen for seven hours. Joy Burger really stays true to their name; it’s a happy, contemporary, burger joint that really provides for their customers. You know what they say, a burger a day keeps the doctor away…or something like that…well, they definitely should say it.
Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.
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