SD #16: The Best Cheeseburger in New York

On August 5, we had a visit from Allan’s good friend Brian, who was in town for work.  When lunchtime rolled around on Saturday afternoon, Brian was in the mood for a cheeseburger.  This being Woodside, our mission was clear:  Take Brian to Donovan’s Pub for The Best Cheeseburger In New York.  As luck would have it, Donovan’s was next on the serial dining list, so when we left the apartment, I took the camera along.

Donovan’s doesn’t look like much from the outside, but on the inside it’s absolutely gorgeous.  It’s like a a warm, dark, cozy retreat from the world, decorated with lots of dark wood and stained glass.  It’s not necessarily a quiet one, though.  The guys at the bar can get boisterous, especially if one of the local sports teams is on.  To me, it all just adds to the authenticity and charm.  Here’s what Donovan’s looks like on the outside.  Note the banner proclaiming them the best burger in New York:

Donovan's Pub

But here’s what it looks like on the inside:

The bar at Donovan's Pub

Donovan’s is widely reviewed and widely enjoyed.  You can read about it at New York Magazine online, Time Out New York, BurgerBeast, CitySearch, Yelp, Urban Spoon, and on the Outer Boroughs board at Chowhound.  You’ll see one or two complaints about rude or slow service, but generally people enjoy Donovan’s for the same reasons we do, and they worship.  The.  Burgers.

Early in the summer, Donovan’s had to close for a week or so due to a health code violation, but if rumors are to be believed, there was some skullduggery there involving a local competitor.  In any case, they addressed the problems and had the place open again very quickly, and we’ve never noticed any unclean conditions before or after.

The wait staff at Donovan’s have always been genuinely warm and friendly when we’ve been there, and many of them are the genuine Irish article, which adds to the ambience.  It’s not an Irish-themed pub staffed with college students wearing shamrock buttons on their green shirts.  It’s the real thing.  They do have menu items that aren’t traditional Irish or Irish-American dishes, especially on the list of daily specials.  But for classics like fish and chips or shepard’s pie, this is a great place to go.  And, of course, for their top-rated burgers.  That rating is from several years ago now, but the burgers are still the best in Woodside if you ask me.  Virtually everything I’ve ever had there has been spectacular– the burgers, the fish and chips, the soups (they do a killer French onion), and especially their Thanksgiving dinner.  The only thing we’ve had there that wasn’t all that impressive is the jalapeno poppers, which basically tasted like they came out of a box in the freezer section at Costco.  But hey, how high can the expectations really be for a jalapeno popper?

For this visit, I had the fish sandwich, and both Allan and Brian ordered cheeseburgers.  Unfortunately, the lighting inside Donovan’s is so low the food pictures didn’t turn out, with or without the flash.  Don’t get me wrong– I love, love, love the low lights in Donovan’s.  It’s my camera that doesn’t.  But trust me– the food looked as good as it tasted, and it tasted gooooooood.

I can’t recall exactly how much we spent there for lunch that day.  I want to say maybe about $45 for three lunches and three beers.  Don’t quote me on that.  Whatever it was, we paid it in cash, because Donovan’s is a cash-only operation.  Keep that in mind if you go.
Donovan's Pub on Urbanspoon

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One Response to “SD #16: The Best Cheeseburger in New York”

  1. SD #17: Yes, This Is About Food We Ate In August. « The Fat Chick Diaries Says:

    […] really, really hard to top a trip to Donovan’s.  But being committed to our Serial Dining Woodside project, we kept calm and carried on.  On […]

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