JG MELON | 1291 3rd Ave. (at 74th St.) | 212.744.0585

FRANK SINATRA AND Liza Minelli famously sing of the wonders that can be found "in ole New York". But every generation seems to lose bits of "ole" New York, making the parts of it that remain that much more special.

Especially for those of us who grew up in this great city. The special parts that remain become personal landmarks of the lives of us native New Yorkers, offering years—sometimes, decades—of creature comforts, solace, and merriment among friends and family.

One of those places, located in YORKVILLE (Old Germantown), is a nifty and natty little burger and beer place called JG Melon, a rite of passage, of sorts, for all denizens of Manhattan's UPPER EAST SIDE.

I probably first went to Melon's (as we call it) for their famous burgers with the families of schoolmates some 35+ years ago, and was there often with other prep school friends in high school, enjoying those same burgers with cold beers, enjoying the then lower and much more lax drinking age of 18 years.

But I haven't been there much since (dropping out of my second) college, spending a great majority of my social life—and burger-eating—at the likewise venerated Dorrian's Red Hand. (Melon's and Dorrian's still enjoy a good-natured and generation-old neighborhood "burger war" themselves, with diners' preferences usually coming down to the choice of bread; Melon's using the bun, and Dorrian's employing an toasted English muffin.)

I always new that eventually, with this PHUDE blog, and its category of BURGERS, I would have to return to one of my childhood favorite restaurants and ground meat sandwiches, in tow, a new, fellow co-worker, Katie B., who is recent to the area, only 23 years old, and had yet to visit Melon's. This would be her burger rite of passage.

We were supposed to be met by a third party this afternoon, another co-worker who was too hungover to even call to cancel (ah, youth...), which didn't at all stop me from still enjoying finding the place exactly the same as I have ever remembered it, with it's classic family tavern look.

Usually having another person in tow offers me the opportunity to order a greater variety of items from the menu. In this case, however—although enjoying the warm lunch service of the affably attentive and helpful hostess, Hope, and our endearingly cute and efficient waitress, Molly—I didn't even to see a menu. Two cheeseburgers, medium rare, and an order of cottage fries, please, and thank you!

JG Melon Cheeseburger

After the first bite, I could imagine Barbra Streisand, now, singing Memories in my head, as I, literally and nostalgically, enjoyed the burgers crumbly, tasty, tender meat and its juicy excesses. Katie said it was a "very good" burger after only her first bite (as seen in this VIDEO), and declared it her second favorite burger ever by her third bite. We also my favorite cottage fries in all the city, Katie so much so that she didn't even bother with the protocol of leaving one or two in the bowl for the other eater. (They were especially kind to bring another bowl of fries, gratis, appreciative of my long overdue return, I guess, and of Katie's "initiation".)

Next to us was a table of young kids, obviously native to the neighborhood, unknowingly forging lifelong memories of the Melon's and its burgers themselves, as I had done 3 decades ago. And I surely hope that, in 20, 30 years, they are able to return to Melon's, possibly "spreading the news" to their own young friends, at one of Yorkville's "top of the list" restaurants, that thankfully is still selling burgers that are "A number one".

Bun Apple Tea!


J.G. Melon on Urbanspoon

JG MELON | 1291 3rd Ave. (at 74th St.) | 212.744.0585