The ribeye burger at Stanbury is what dreams are made of, if your dream is the perfect patty of ground ribeye topped with American cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles, and Duke's mayonnaise—which, if I'm being honest, is a dream I have at least once a week.
But the burger itself can be hard to come by. I had been hearing about it for ages but had never been able to catch it myself until a couple of weeks ago. Stanbury's menu is rooted in fresh and seasonal ingredients, so it shifts a bit, and the burger is one of those rotating players. It has also amassed a kind of cult following, so once word is out that it's on the menu for the night, the race is on to get one before they're all gone.
Once, I arrived shortly after seven p.m. and the last burger was already making its way to a very happy table. The restaurant opens at five, yet this is not unusual. When it snowed last week, a picture of the ribeye burger posted to the restaurant's Instagram story was followed two hours later with a note written in the snow: "86 burger." Winter weather advisory be damned.
Ground in-house, the burger is grilled to toothsome perfection and served with a side of long, skinny fries. It comes as it comes: no temperature requests and no substitutions, though you can ask for things to be left off, for instance, if you are a person who doesn't love onions. But who even is that person? We are certainly not friends.
I also suggest making sure you are good and hungry when you go, and order your own, regardless of whether or not you think you can finish it. You can. Trust me. You'll be so disappointed if you spoiled your appetite by having a late afternoon snack—or made the mistake of, let's say, splitting one with your partner. Because you will want to eat every single bite of this bad boy.
The outside of the patty is crisp, the inside hot and moist. Juice and Duke's ooze with each bite; pickles, lettuce and onions slide onto my plate. It isn't that the burger itself is overly dressed, I just can't control my mouth, it seems, once I dig in. I swipe clusters of fries through the mess I make, reluctant to miss a single morsel. When I'm finished I lick my fingers blissfully, like I'd never eaten before. My napkin sits untouched on the bar, and I have somehow managed to get Duke's in my hair. I have no shame and no regrets.
For your chance at this burger you're going to have to keep an eye out via social media, find a source on the inside, or just eat at Stanbury every night and hope for the best. Given that they don't always post that they're serving it, the latter option may be your best bet. So get there early, cross your fingers, and look at the menu—or around you, because if they've got burgers that night you can bet that people will already be eating them, and staff members who came in on their night off will likely be among those people. If you're in luck, order immediately.