Massapequa’s best-known burger joint, the iconic All American Hamburger Drive-In, has been serving up delicious burgers at reasonable prices since 1963. Today, Massapequa is still a go-to destination for burgers, but for a different reason.
Over the past decade, a host of gastropubs and upscale burger joints have opened in Massapequa that not only serve tasty burgers but enhance the experience with great craft beer. The start of the community’s gastropub boom can began with The Good Life on Park Boulevard in Massapequa Park in 2010.
The British-themed pub, with a red phone booth serving as its front door, blazed a trail with 22 beers on tap and 70 more craft and imported beers in bottles. Even more noteworthy was the inventive take on pub food including British staples like fish and chips and shepherd’s pie, along with tasty wings, mac and cheese, and sandwiches, also called butties as in England.
The Good Life’s burger menu has more than 10 different varieties including its flagship burger topped with Gruyere cheese, blue cheese fondue, and bacon jam. For burger lovers looking for alternatives to beef, The Good Life has turkey, black bean veggie and vegan burgers.
In 2016, the gastropub trend continued on the main drag with the opening of The Tap Room, an offshoot of the popular Patchogue pub that opened in 2011. The Tap Room upped the craft beer game with 36 taps focused on Long Island craft breweries, including a tap tower dedicated to Blue Point Brewing Company beers.
The Tap Room’s menu includes pub favorites like wings, tacos, and mussels pots, and features seven different burgers that can be made as beef, turkey or veggie patties, including a whiskey burger with Jameson-infused bacon. The menu also features sliders including slow-braised short-rib sliders with melted Gruyere cheese and horseradish sauce.
The newest addition to the downtown scene is The Dark Horse Tavern, which opened last fall. The Massapequa Park location is the third for Dark Horse Tavern, joining sister pubs in Rockville Centre and Farmingdale. Dark Horse Tavern offers 17 beers on tap and a pub menu highlighted by 21 different flavors of wings and 10 different burgers. The flagship Tavern Burger is made with sirloin, topped with Cheddar and special Dark Horse sauce, and served on an English muffin.
On the south side of Massapequa are two burger-focused restaurants that also highlight craft beer. GM Burger Bar, part of the George Martin restaurant group, opened in 2015 in the Southgate Shopping Center on Merrick Road across from Massapequa High School. The family-friendly restaurant greets diners with a bucket of hot popcorn and offers bottled craft sodas and milkshakes for kids. For burger lovers seeking adult beverages, GM Burger Bar has eight beers on tap including Barrier Brewing’s popular Money IPA, and an extensive bottled craft beer selection.
Burgers at GM Burger Bar can be created by the diner with a choice of beef, turkey, chicken or veggie quinoa patties, a variety of cheeses and other toppings, and multiple bun options including gluten-free rolls. There are also 13 specialty burgers, mostly made with beef but some with turkey, chicken and the Ahi Five-0 made with grilled ahi tuna with sweet chili glaze and pineapple on a King’s Hawaiian roll.
New York Burger Bar, which opened in 2015 just a few blocks from All American Drive-In on Merrick Road, quickly shot to the top of Best Burger lists on Long Island with its Juicy Lucy burger. It’s made with a proprietary blend of prime beef, stuffed with American cheese, and topped with caramelized onion, tomato, pickles, and creamy house sauce on a torta bun. There are 15 other specialty burgers or diners can create a burger by choosing the protein, bun and toppings separately, with protein choices including Kobe beef, aged Prime beef, turkey, ahi tuna and veggie.
The Juicy Lucy and other delicious burgers at New York Burger Bar can be enjoyed with one of the 20 draft beers on tap, or with homemade milkshakes, bottled craft sodas, or an old-fashioned New York egg cream.
The “all-American” love for burgers remains strong in Massapequa as new favorites and new traditions are established.
Bernie Kilkelly is the editor and publisher of LIBeerGuide.com.