The "Lunch in Harvard Square" Blog - Restaurant Reviews

Since starting to work in the Square in mid-August, I'm trying to eat lunch at a new restaurant every day until I can't find any more. Here's my list of the Top Ten Lunch Restaurants in Harvard Square (Food Only). Got a suggestion on a new lunch spot for me? New Restaurants to Try in Harvard Square.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bartley's Burgers

13. 9-5 Bartley's. Everyone loved their burgers. Satisfied our "need for juicy red meat" cravings.

Bartley's is a Harvard Square institution, renowned for its great burgers and iconoclastic ambience. Essentially, it's the Durgin Park of Cambridge, except that Bartley's food is actually very good. It's an experience even before you walk in the door, what with the vent from the kitchen blowing out on to the sidewalk - the aroma of burgers on the grill can't be missed for 100 yards. Then, the 'waiting area' inside the door is about four square feet. Inside, it's incredibly noisy, what with the staff yelling out their orders to chefs who are two feet away from them, to the packed patrons who have to yell to eachother to communicate. But you always find a place to eat right away, often in the center space where singles are packed in next to one another - there must have been romances started at this place. The menu has a million options, most named after celebrities (but good luck figuring out the relationship between the celeb and the actual burger!). And the walls are literally covered with decades worth of posters/signs/prints that inevitably make you chuckle.

All that said, the burgers are plain great. They cook them perfectly, just as you try to do on a grill - about an inch thick, with a seared crust and then juicy in the middle. Sounds easy to do, but very few restaurants can pull it off. And their fries are excellent as well. And they have loads of comfort foods as well - mac and cheese, soups, etc.

You pay a bit extra - about $7-$9 per person - but it's worth it, for the whole experience.


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