Fresh Kills: Krug’s Tavern Burger


I’ve waxed poetic about Krug’s Tavern before. This is my favorite burger. It is big. It is tasty and unpretentious. It is always cooked well so it is juicy yet has a char on the outside. It is twelve ounces of the American heartland stuffed in your mouth.

Krug’s has a history. This is a destination, not just a burger. The tavern was originally opened by boxer Jake LaMotta in 1938, and remains in his family. LaMotta was the subject of Raging Bull. And this is one raging bull of a burger. To the family’s credit, they keep a poster of Jake and don’t name menu items after him or the movie.


The bacon cheeseburger is $7.50 and is the size of four patties from Five Guys. And tastes even better. The fries are steak fries. The onion rings are perfect battered hoops of crunch. The pickles, the hot peppers given as appetizer also serve as my favorite toppings.

The bar is what you’d call an old man bar. Not a gastropub. They have Harpoon IPA on tap next to the Bud, but nothing craftier. The TVs show local sports. The stools are crammed with broad-shouldered men in work boots with their elbows on the scarred mahogany. The grill sizzles, the whiskey flows freely. It has atmosphere and attitude. A Chinese woman will pop in at lunch hour with a bag of bootleg DVDs. Across the street is Sassy Ass lingerie shop and up the block is Five Corners, the heart of “Down Neck,” or Ironbound as it is called these days.

This burger and the place that serves it is a prime cut from the heart of Newark, and year after year, it remains my favorite.

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