Island Burgers and Shakes has a Large Menu of Large Burgers

I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in my day and I’ve seen ‘em come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I like the thin, round burgers (like Steak and Shake) and the slightly thicker, crumblier ones (think Five Guys and Shake Shack), but oftentimes I feel the most satisfying burgers are just the big, fat ones. I’m talking about the kind of burger that you wouldn’t dare order as a double. Ladies and gentlemen, Island Burgers and Shakes happens to make big, fat burgers and they happen to be delicious.

Having been around since 1996, this isn’t the first time we’ve visited Island Burgers and Shakes. Maybe it’s because their location is slightly out of bounds (9th Ave. between 51st and 52nd) or maybe it’s because their prices are slightly out of bounds (a basic cheeseburger is $10.50), but Midtown Lunch has never actually taken a look at their burger.

The menu features what looks to be 60+ different burger choices, organized by level of spiciness and ranging in price from $9.50 to $13.75. Obviously, I was upset to see that most options break the Midtown Lunch budget, but in my never-ending quest to find New York City’s best burgers, I couldn’t resist. So, I ordered a cheeseburger with white cheddar, which came with lettuce, red onion, pickles and tomatoes for no extra charge.

When a burger costs $10.50, that burger better be pretty darn good. Luckily, Island didn’t disappoint. As mentioned above, this was a big burger. The patty was thick and large and came smothered in cheese. Even with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and ketchup piled on, I got big, juicy mouthfuls of beef with each bite. The veggies were totally fresh and crisp, but didn’t at all distract from the meaty centerpiece. I ordered the burger ‘medium’ and was pleased to see that the middle was a nice pink color.

Everything stayed together as I ate it, which is always a plus. I HATE when a burger falls apart and becomes difficult to hold, but I had no problem setting this one down and picking it back up. The meat itself wasn’t strongly spiced or seasoned in a noticeable way, though with everything else on the burger, I didn’t need it to be. The beef holds up fine on its own. I would have been full after just the burger, but I also splurged on a side of chili fries.

This was some quality stuff, and for only $4.75, it was a total bargain compared to other parts of the menu. I was surprised to find the chili actually had some kick to it – nothing face melting, but there was definitely a hot flavor to the whole thing. The fries were delightfully crispy on the outside, but still soft and potato-y on the inside. They held up really well under the chili, without becoming soggy or super messy.

I’d definitely recommend Island Burgers and Shakes to anyone willing to shell out an extra few bucks. The burgers aren’t so cheap, but they really are huge and tasty. When craving a big hunk of meat, nothing satisfies quite like a burger, and Island Burger may be one of the best “big hunk of meat” burgers in midtown.

Island Burgers & Shakes, 766 9th Ave.(btw 51+52nd) 212-307-7934



  • I remember a time up to a few years after they first opened (even before my then-office on 49th St & 10th was wired with Internet!) when they didn’t serve fries, only potato chips. Great place, but yeah…pricey.

  • I think Chris says it best when he says “The meat itself wasn’t strongly spiced or seasoned in a noticeable way.” I’ve always found the beef to be completely unmemorable, too. The big, juicy mouth-fulls he mentions is just the amount you get in a bite. It’s about the blandest blend in the city, but, it is large. All the condiments are very well thought out and fresh. However, the chicken. That’s a different story. Often, the chicken can be magical, really magical. But, that’s 50/50. When they don’t dry it out on the grill it’s really, really good. And, their peanut sauce is amazing. Skip the mediocre burger and get the chicken.

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    Their shakes are awesome there too.

  • If a churasco is a “grilled chicken sandwich”, why does the outside sign read “Home of the Chicken Churasco”?

    This place is Jackson Hole with a different name and no option to upgrade the bun.

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    Chicken sandwiches are delicious. Juicy chicken with a nice char and a good selection of toppings. Pricey, but I think definitely enough for 2 meals.

    I’ve tried the milkshake and thought it was terrible. Wayyyyy too sweet.

  • I agree, the chicken is the way to go. The bourbon street is awesome.

  • THose fries look awsome! so hard to find good fries!

  • Half the time the Chicken is too dry. The beef is tasteless. Their selection of toppings, though, is unparalleled. Still, if I want to pay this much for a burger, 10 times out of 10 I would go to 5 Napkin Burger which is 6 blocks away.

    • Really Kopper? I’ve found 5 Napkin to be mediocre, too, which confuses me because they have a Pat La Frieda blend. I’m unimpressed with the flavor. It’s just not what I expect for the brand. You know, in the 70′s Porsche collaborated with Volkswagen to make the 914 and even though it wore the Porsche nameplate it was really just a VW Bug. La Frieda at Shake Shack, Spotted Pig, and Minetta are life altering.

      • I thought 5 Napkin La Freida was similar to Minetta. Both good. I think La Freida at Spotted Pig and 5 Napkin/Minetta are quite different. Shake Shack is good, but their burgers just seem too small for me.

        Also, my wife who doesn’t eat red meat said 5 Napkin had the best Veggie Burger in the city, so that might have subconsciously helped them.

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