Local Vibes

Local Vibes

Local Vibes

Fast food chains are a dime a dozen. I mean really, is your favorite burger from a fast food joint?

Probably not, although I work with 2 guys at the WRAT who believe one burger chain makes the best burger in Monmouth County.

My favorite burgers tend to come from local restaurants in both Monmouth and Ocean Counties. I love a good juicy cheeseburger with Swiss cheese, smothered in mushrooms and onions. I have many favorite burgers that are made with different proteins and different toppings on different types of buns or bread.

When I was a kid, we used to go to Friendly’s for their famous Patty Melt. It was a greasy burger with onions, lots of melted cheese on toasted rye bread. It was our first choice as kids with the tuna melt being second choice.

My Wednesday Warrior friend, Lou Puentes has showcased his patty melts on the site several times and they look scrumptious. I need to meet up with Lou to find out his secret.

Several culinary writers have suggested that Los Angeles restaurateur Tiny Naylor may have invented the patty melt sometime between 1930 and 1959, depending on the source.

If it was Tiny Naylor, I thank you Tiny. If it wasn’t Tiny Naylor, I thank whoever came up with this delicious sandwich.

Have you ever tried to duplicate a fast food burger at home?

I have, and the results almost always fell flat. I remember trying to re-create a Red Robin burger a couple of decades ago, and I came far from nailing it.

I mean, it was good, but not as good as the restaurant.

I think the fast food burger is a completely different animal than the burgers at, let’s say your favorite bar, restaurant, or pub.

Fast food burgers are mass produced, using meat flown on by the restaurant’s chosen distributor. As where the meat at most local restaurants or independently owned burger joints comes from a local butcher or farm. I know that is not always the case, but in my experience with locally owned businesses, it is.

Sorting through ratings sites like Google and Yelp, here are the top 5 best fast food burgers in Monmouth & Ocean County.

  • The Habit Burger Grill - 178 NJ-35, Eatontown, NJ 07724

    Charbroiled burgers star at this fast-food chain also offering deli-type sandwiches, salads & fries .Mike M. and several others gave them a 5 star review. The collective reviews averaged out at 4.5 stars.
    Here’s Mike’s review: “By far the best burger of the national chain restaurants. Burgers cooked on point. Double char burger recommended. Reminds me of what the Big Mac use to taste like.”

  • Five Guys - several locations including 1311 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08755

    Fast-food chain with made-to-order burgers, fries & hot dogs, plus free peanuts while you wait. Not your average fast food chain, The beef Five Guys uses at most of its stores comes from Schweid & Sons and is grain finished for a marbled texture perfect for patties. All food prep is done daily for maximum freshness and all cooking is done without using timers, by people not machines, with their crews all trained to judge food’s readiness by sight, aroma and texture. 

    That is what separates these guys from places like Mickey D’s & BK My foodie friends Joseph & Rosie love this place.

    . Plus, this is the place Carl Craft & Rob Acampora from WRAT Radio call the best burger in  Monmouth County. Five Guys’ collective rating is sitting at a 4.4 which seems a tad low.



  • Roy Rogers - Various locations including 72 Brick Blvd, Brick Township, NJ 08723

    I have had plenty of Roy’s roast beef sandwiches, but never a burger. Roy Rogers collective rating sits at a 4.3. I’ll pretty much try anything rating a 4 or higher. I pass this place on Hooper Ave 3 or 4 days a week. On a day I don’t feel like cooking, I may possibly stop by for a Sourdough Bacon Cheeseburger and maybe their famous fried chicken.



  • Wendy's - various locations including 444 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753

    I haven’t had a Wendy’s Hot & Juicy in  a few years. I would normally go for the chili, the frosty, and the baked potato. Eric K. said: “The Wendy’s in Bricktown by the Walmart is the best. The people that work there are awesome.” It’s always nice to have employees who care about what they do. 

    Collectively, Wendy’s rates at a 4.2.

  • White Castle - Various locations including 132 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Fast-food chain serving signature beef, chicken & fish sliders, plus extras such as onion rings. My best friend worked at the local White Castle when we were teenagers. I could tell you some crazy stories from the goings on with customers at this particular White Castle on  Route 110 in  Suffolk County, New York.  

    I love White Castle! I haven’t had a slider in 10 years, but I can still taste the very last one I ate. The onion rings are a must to go with my cheeseburger sliders and a chocolate shake.

    Collectively, White Castle has a 4.2 rating.

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