Eli’s Night Shift



Who makes the best hamburger in New York? Ellen and I have long felt it was J.G. Melon on Third Ave. Also the best cottage fries, best chili, and best cheesecake. But just up Third Avenue at 79th Street, there’s a new contender in town, and we’re ready to give the hamburger crown to Eli Zabar’s Night Shift. Like all Eli’s creations, the Night Shift has a quirky approach – it opens during the day as a grab-and-go food station. It closes at 5 pm for an hour, and then re-opens until late hours as a restaurant. But an Eli’s restaurant! The hamburger is perfect – moist and tasty, on a toasted brioche bun. The Prince Edward Island oysters were the best I remember. Crispy onion rings. While you’re waiting, perfect potato chips to go with a drink. We look forward to sampling the pastrami on rye, short ribs, pigs in a blanket, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese on sourdough bread, etc. at future outings. The manager, Nathan Gurr, is also Eli’s spirits guru, with a gourmet collection of wines and whiskeys. No desserts, but a rich Eli brownie from the grab-and-go section solved that problem.


Ken Roman


3 Responses to “Eli’s Night Shift”

  1. Good to know. JG Melon has been at the top of our list too. This is surely worth a try. Thanks!

  2. Ken has beaten us in reviewing Eli’s and I think we didn’t because we wanted to keep it a secret. We’ve found you can only get the JG Melon burger at ridiculous early hours if you don’t want to wait. Eli’s is generally wait free (you may have to share a table). This has become a neighborhood hangout for us. Nice wines by the glass too.

  3. Thanks guys. This is good to know. I’ve been kvetching about PJ Clarke’s eliminating chili since the new owners took over. Indeed, I spoke with one of the new owners, Phil Scotti, and asked him how he could eliminate a core item on an institution’s menu when he was so careful with the remodel that makes it look like they haven’t changed anything since the kitchen was moved. I’m delighted to have another late night hamburger choice after a movie or the theatre

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