Bartley’s Burgers: Best in New England

Boston. It’s home to the world champion Red Socks and Patriots. Boston’s also boasts to be the academic center of the United States, housing both Harvard University and MIT. Right in front of Harvard is another thing Boston can be proud of: Mr. Bartley’s Cottage Burgers. This local burger joint is so famous, it was voted to have the best burgers, frappes, and lime rickeys in all of Boston. To further attest to how good Bartley’s is, it was even featured on one of Food TV’s programs!

The burgers at Bartley’s are the cornerstone of their success. They offer a wide variety of burgers to choose from as well as some curious name choices for those burgers. Bartley’s burgers are all named after famous people, both political, celeberty, and local. Names include George Bush Jr., Mitt Romney, The Batman, and Tony Blair. The names of the burgers aren’t just randomly assigned, most of them imply at what type of burger they represent. For example, in the mood for a Texas BBQ burger? Just order the George Bush Jr. Or, if you’re in the mood for a double burger, order an Arnold Schwarznegger. Not all names really represent exactly what you’ll be ordering, but it wasn’t the names that made Bartley’s famous.

The burgers are served to order and come with a side of fries or onion rings. Also accompanying this meal is a very small portion of coleslaw. The burgers are usually topped with simple ingredients such as a type of cheese and one topping. The meat quality is really good and the patties aren’t flat like something you would find at McDonalds. They’re pretty thick and cooked exactly how you ordered it. If you wanted medium-well, you’ll be getting a medium-well burger instead of a well done. Even though the burger may be thick, it’s actual size isn’t something that sets it apart from other gourmet burgers. However, with the inclusion of the sides, it comes out to be a hearty meal.

The fries at Bartley’s are cooked just right. They are golden and crisp and never come out soggy. They have just the right amount of saltiness on them and adding some ketchup makes it perfect. The onion rings are just like the fries, cooked perfectly. There is also an even amount of batter so when you bite into one, you get a good proportion of both batter and onion. The rings themselves are cut very thinly and are more like onion strings than onion rings. They aren’t all stuck together either so that it feels like you’re biting into one huge onion ring. Instead, they are fried so that it seems like they were fried individually! The amount of onion rings that come with the burgers is a very generous amount. This, however, cannot be said about the fries. The amount of fries they give is not enough, at least when compared to the amount of onion rings they give. You can always substitute for rings if you like, but it’ll cost you a dollar and quarter.

Another thing Bartley’s boasts is their frappes. These frappes are sweet, thick, and very flavorful. Bartley’s offers the more traditional flavors such as strawberry and chocolate, but they also offer the brand name flavors such as Oreos or Reeses Peanutbutter. Whichever way you decide to go, it’ll definitely be a treat. They don’t skimp out on the amount either as they give a large amount.

The third thing Bartley’s is famous for is the Boston classic, lime rickeys. They offer the traditional lime rickey as well as the raspberry lime rickey. These are served virgin as no alcohol is served at this establishment. The lime rickeys have a good balance of sweetness and tart to make it a refreshing accompaniment to any burger. The size of each glass is generous as well, making this a great deal.

The atmosphere of Bartley’s is somewhat family friendly as there are some questionable bumper stickers and posters posted all over the walls. It used to be very crude, things you would find on a typical college dorm room’s wall, but they’ve cleaned up a lot of it replacing it with less crude material. Other than that, the atmosphere is very fast paced as you hear waiters shouting their orders to the cooks. The dining area is pretty small too. Don’t be surprised if you are seated next to a complete stranger. In the center of the dining area is a large long table which seats most of the customers. Around the edges of the dining area are small tables bunched together. There’s hardly any room to move about and it’s more than likely that the back of your seat will be touching the back of the seat of the person behind you. However, this crowdedness doesn’t go against the appeal of Bartley’s but instead works for it. It really gives it the local ma-pa store feel. There is seating outside as well, but very little.

When going to Bartley’s, be prepared to wait in line outside if you’re going for lunch, as it is a popular place to grab a bite to eat for the native Bostonians. However, this gives you time to peruse the menu and their long list of burgers so that you can place your order even before you are seated. You might even be waited on by Mrs. Bartley herself or maybe even her husband, Mr. Bartley! Don’t forget to bring cash either because Bartley’s only accepts cash.

Bartley’s is recommended for a lunch outing instead of dinner. Although there’s guaranteed to be a line at lunch, it really is a lunch establishment. They also have other items on their menu, such as meatloaf and spaghetti, but it’s their burgers they’re famous for. Once you try Bartley’s once, there’s a very good chance you won’t be a one-timer and you’ll see why they’re voted to have the best burgers in Boston.

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