Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger! Tonight’s host is The VIP Diner in Jersey City and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher, with special guest appearances from the Journal Square Pub and James Mollo. And now, all the way from Jersey City, please welcome the VIP Diner!
It's 6:30pm and it's still light out. I hate Daylight Savings Time. Tonight we're traveling to Jersey City for a cheeseburger. My friend James Mollo just moved there and he invited me over there. I realized that I haven't left Manhattan since I've been doing MAD, so I accepted the invitation and it's off we go.
On my way to the train I met Bryon Carlton Neal who operates a shoe shine service on 6th Avenue near 14th Street. He's there every Saturday and I promised him I'd stop by next week and get a shoe shine, so check back for that. If you'd like to have Byron shine your shoes, you can schedule an appointment with him by calling this number: 347-524-8788.
We'll be taking the Path train to New Jersey.
There's a lot of people down here and as I've said before, that's always a good sign a train is near.
And once again my theory is proven true. I only was in the station about a minute before this train rumbled in.
Wow, it's a crowded train car, standing room only.
Through the magic of the internet, you're spared a half hour train ride where a woman sneezed on me. That's right, she turned towards me and sneezed on my right sleeve as if it was the most perfectly normal thing to do and then went back to checking her Blackberry. Miraculously I don't have a cold today. Yet.
James had told me I'd have to ride a bunch of escalators to get to street level and he was right. I had to take three of them and it freaked me out a little that the train was that far underground. It made me think of the Mole Man Superman episode.
Finally we're at street level. Jesus fucking Christ, it's still light out and it's almost seven o'clock! I hate Daylight Savings Time!
I'm meeting James at a bar before we go for the cheeseburger, James said to look for an old time movie theater. There it is, he said the bar would be right next to it...
And I think that's the place. Lets cross the street and check it out.
And this is the place, the Journal Square Pub.
Here's a little neon in the window, let's go inside and find James.
It may be light outside, but it's nice and dark in here. I think Al would approve of this place.
And here he is, tonight's special guest star, James Mollo!
John, the friendly bartender serves up a bottle of Budweiser, now we're on the right track.
Here's a longshot of the wooden bar.
A true sign of a classic neighborhood joint, a pay phone.
A Heineken sign hangs on the wall across from the bar.
Uh, oh...according to the clock it's just about cheeseburger time.
And so once again through the magic of the internet, you're magically transported to the VIP Diner where all baking is done on premises.
The outside of the diner is done up in classic faux rock. Wilma!
Inside it's a classic diner and it's open 24 hours. Did I mention that all baking is done on premises?
They have a large list of burgers to choose from. I chose the hickory burger.
I also got onion rings and they brought them out first. They were probably the best onion rings I've ever had. Flaky, delicious and baked on premises.
And here's the hickory burger. At first James and I thought that they forgot the cheese, but then I discovered they put it under the burger. I wasn't too happy about that, but at least it was baked on premises.
The burger was okay, but didn't hold a candle to last week's burger at Whitman's. That's going to be a tough one to beat.
A view of Jersey from our window at the VIP Diner.
Okay, time to travel back to the center of the earth and head back to Manhattan.
And here we are, back in Manhattan. And I didn't bump into one mole man on the way! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.
The VIP Diner has a decent list of cheeseburgers. They have a pizza burger, a mushroom bacon burger, a Greek burger and a tango burger which is a burger topped with melted Swiss cheese and pimento. I’ve never felt that Swiss cheese belongs on a cheeseburger so I ordered the hickory burger which is a burger topped with Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese and bbq sauce. I also got an order of onion rings. James got a grilled cheese sandwich and also ordered the onion rings. The onion rings showed up first and they were first rate, maybe the best onion rings I’ve ever had. The outer batter was fluffy and the onions were extremely tender and tasty. Then the burger showed up. At first I thought they forgot to put the cheese on it. But upon closer inspection, the cheddar cheese was melted beneath the burger instead of on top. Three slices of Canadian bacon were placed above the burger. The hickory burger was okay, but nowhere near last week’s Whitman burger. It was a little dry and I couldn’t even taste the cheese. The bbq sauce tasted generic and the Canadian bacon made me think of Kevin Bacon and that’s never a good thing to have floating through your head while eating a burger in Jersey City.
MAD Cheeseburger Rating: 2 Wimpy's, okay but I've had better.
175 Sip Ave
Jersey City, NJ
Journal Square Pub
50 Journal Square
Jersey City, NJ
Further reading: Jersey City Bar Guide, nj.com, Jersey City Independent and Jersey Pie.