I am on a never-ending hunt for the “best” burger in New York, and while I have tried many of the legendary champs, I continue to search out less hyped places to see if there’s something the popular lists are missing.
It was with this goal in mind that I originally visited Royale. It’s not located in a place that you’ll just happen to find unless you live in the neighborhood, so I made the trek over to Avenue C to find out whether its burger was worth the trip.
Entering the bar/restaurant, I found the dark interior strangely inviting, as if I had just wandered into a neighborhood hangout, but one that I was encouraged to join. On a Wednesday evening, plenty of patrons were occupying the booths along the wall, and several others were sitting at the bar to watch the televisions. I took a peek at the back garden and made a note to return to what appeared to be a cozy and relaxing space for the warmer months.
On this particular visit, though, I was getting my burger to-go, so I made my order at the bar and graciously sipped the water the bartender had offered while I waited. Royale isn’t a burger joint with extensive options for your sandwich; you can either get the Royale (with lettuce, onions, pickle, and tomato for $7), the Royale with cheese ($8), or the Bacon Royale (which, of course, gets you bacon added to your burger for a dollar more). However, there are other sandwich choices if you don’t want beef, such as the chicken sandwich or turkey club (each for $9) or BLT ($7). There is also the requisite veggie burger for $8 if you’re avoiding meat altogether, or you can choose the grilled cheese and tomato ($7). Fries will cost you a few dollars more with your meal, and as you would expect at a burger bar, you can also get beer by the draft or bottle ($4-6) to quench your thirst.
My burger didn’t take long to emerge from the kitchen, and soon I was enjoying the large, juicy patty on a bun that wasn’t too soggy from the juice (always a sign of a successful presentation). While I may not put it on the list of best burgers in the entire city, Royale’s has become one of my favorites in the East Village for its no-nonsense approach to satisfying my craving. So if you find yourself in Alphabet City with a taste for beef, head over to Royale and let them show you why it’s worth the hike.