Lately, more and more people have turned to me for food words of wisdom. It makes me thrilled to know that my friends trust me with the important decision such as, where to go for lunch? Flattering as it is, it also makes me anxious when I don’t have an answer. A couple weeks ago, I was asked, “Where can I get some decently priced burgers?” Right off the bat, Bareburger was off the list. I pondered on the question for a few minutes. Places like Bareburger, Arthurs, or even Birch have some A+ steaks, but I would probably have to sell a kidney to afford that regularly. On the other hand, McDonald’s. So, I went on a quest to find a place in Hoboken with decent to amazing quality, but for college students on a budget.
Amazingly enough, I passed by a store I had never noticed before called Grubbs. What caught my eye? The giant poster plastered on the store front with a giant burger and some prices listed, which I had to take a double take on. I was convinced it had to be fate. A quarter pounder burger for $2.95- you saw that right, THREE bucks! Peering inside past the sign, there was a lot of empty space. There were no chairs or tables to sit on, so it was quite telling that Grubbs was a fast food restaurant. I decided to order a burger ($3) and a cheeseburger ($4) as well as try out their grilled cheese ($6)!
Of course, I had to REALLY test out if Grubbs was a step up from McDonald’s, so I decided to take my order and head there. I ordered a hamburger ($1) and a cheeseburger ($1.39). Looking at the numbers, McDonald’s is obviously cheaper, but hey, $3 is pretty damn reasonable for a burger in Hoboken. The thing that did seem ridiculous once you noticed, was that Grubbs’ cheeseburger was a whole dollar more than its hamburger. Am I paying a dollar for a slice of cheese?!
And now, for the quality taste test. Grabbing the closest thing to me, I tried the cheeseburgers first. At first glance, the Grubbs cheeseburger looked a lot more appealing than McDonald’s’. Grubbs’ cheeseburger was reasonably thick, with a mix of bright colors (lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and cheese). And its vegetables ACTUALLY looked like vegetables! After being on a McDonald’s cleanse, and not seeing their burgers for so long, my first impression was just sadness. Just look at the pictures, so sad. With only finely chopped onions and a couple pickles spotted inside the burger, I began to remind myself that I had paid less than a dollar fifty for it. I started with the Grubb’s cheeseburger. Surprisingly not too salty, chewy, and real-tasting meat. Kind of tastes like something my mom would fry up! And McDonald’s, fattier, full of flavor, everything you’d expect. Next were the plain hamburgers. After taking a bite of Grubbs’, something felt missing. It was strange, how it felt like the absence of a single slice of cheese changed the entire burger. The patty felt drier, the overall taste went from “not too salty” to bland; but nonetheless, it was a dollar cheaper. The McDonald’s hamburger was insignificantly different than its cheesier counterpart.
But wait, who can forget the grilled cheese? I kind of wish I did. Precut, I imagined the two slices to pull apart, revealing a webby masterpiece of stringy cheese. But all pulling the slices apart revealed was some American cheese (not even fully melted, might I add) and two or three layers of tomatoes stacked inside. I’ll give it one thing, the bread was pretty good. But what seemed to me like three layers of Kraft Singles poorly melted together? I can’t believe I paid almost the same amount for the two burgers as this one grilled cheese.
What’s the final verdict? It’s actually hard to put the winner on any of the burgers, even weighing in the price. It depends on what you’re feeling. I would prefer Grubbs’ burgers on a normal day when I need a quick bite to eat or crave a burger. But if I really hate myself and in need of some terrible fast food, I can always rely on Mickey D’s to serve me a yummy heart attack between two buns. At both restaurants, I would order the hamburger over the cheeseburger.
Pro Tip: #BYOC (bring your own cheese)
There was also a “junior” burger that I did not try that was only $2. $3 for a hamburger is definitely worth it, pretty good size for a lunch.
~418 Washington St, Hoboken, NJ 07030 (super close to campus!)
Convenience rating: 4.5/5
~The service was pretty good! The cashier was nice and the food was out pretty quickly (not McDonald’s quick, but still quick!).
Service Rating: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
~I think I’m still shaken by the one dollar cheese and the grilled cheese. But there are also more items on the menu including breakfast foods, smoothies, mozzarella sticks and hotdogs that I have not tried.