12. Paul's, Da Burger Joint

Address: 131 2nd Ave.
Website: paulsburgers.com

If you’re looking for a hamburger in the East Village, it has to be “Da Burger Joint.” Paul’s has been serving ½ lb burgers since 1989 with a ‘50s diner attitude that comes complete with checkered table cloths, a counter to sit at, and a staff that takes real pride in cooking great grub at a reasonable price (a simple cheeseburger and fries will only cost you $8.50). 

Order the Eastsider and watch them grill all the meat. Beef patty, bacon, and ham. Sit at the counter and let the olfactory system take control for a while. Breath in the smells. Then watch them prepare the burger, adding the mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions. Allow the anticipation to grow, as the burger builds taller and taller, more and more stuff. In the end, the Eastsider winds up basically as big as the enormous plastic hamburger adorning the sidewalk next to the entrance. But finally biting into the real thing is much more satisfying.