• J.G. Melon

    Culture | Food & Drink | Prep Essentials  

    The patronage is meager by the time my friends and I duck in and grab the table in the front corner. It’s usually packed at dinner—the line running out the door. Back when Lee introduced me to J.G. Melon, we skipped the wait in favor of the bar as he nonchalantly pointed out all the somebodies everybody treated just like anybody. In fact, preps have gathered faithfully at the corner of Third and 74th since 1972. Perched on the Upper East Side, J.G. Melon regularly appears on any legitimate survey of New York City’s best burgers. Space is tight and the atmosphere, in more ways than one, resembles that of an actual melon. It is kitschy...unpresumptuous.

    As our conversation winds down, I polish off the famously thick, juicy hamburger ($8.50) dubbed the house’s signature dish—with a side of cottage fries ($3.50) and a Bloody Bull (a bloody Mary with beef broth). Although preppies are often a little short on cash, you will need it to pay your tab. Scramble for an ATM or grab an IOU from your dinner-mates—both of which are completely viable options on any given night.

    J.G. Melon
    1291 3rd Avenue
    New York, NY 10021

    Aug 26, 2010 | Permalink (16) Total Comments

    Zachary Taylor left a comment on 2/17/2013 at 10:22 AM:

    Another wonderful comment in Whit Stillman’s “Metropolitan” while some of the characters are in J.G. Melon is: “People from this background aren’t doomed to failure…we simply fail without being doomed.”

    I hope J.G. Melon has many bright and prosperous days ahead. It remains the only establishment still running in NYC that is mentioned in Lisa Birnbach’s “Official Preppy Handbook” of 1980.

    M. Ridley left a comment on 10/19/2010 at 11:07 PM:

    About 35 years ago, my parents lived around the corner from this place.  According to them I was conceived around New Years 1975 after too many G&Ts; at G.J. Melon’s, but they moved to Greenwich shortly before I was born, presumably so I could grow up sailing the Sound and playing lacrosse.  Their plan worked.

    Bill Smith left a comment on 8/28/2010 at 5:42 PM:

    I’ll have to check this out the next time I’m in NYC.

    MG left a comment on 8/27/2010 at 7:54 PM:

    I have great memories of JG Melon.  I probably ate there once a week when I lived in New York, in fact, it was the first restaurant my wife and I visited with our infant daughter once she was six weeks old and we were comfortable taking her out in public.

    Now that I have checked your blog my plan to stop by Burger House this evening don’t seem like a good idea.

    KGS left a comment on 8/27/2010 at 2:47 PM:

    F.E., didnt mean to take the post out of context, certainly see your reasoning behind it and its relation to your site’s intent, just wanted to keep you eating good stuff! I’d say none of the others on my site fit into prep lifestyle, outside of whats been already been mentioned, PJ Clarke’s. Although, Peter Luger should get a mention as well.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 5:00 PM:

    @Pat—P.J. Clarkes absolutely meets the criteria. I really enjoy their burger too with the signature onion on the bottom bun. The atmosphere is brilliant too.

    pat left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 1:25 PM:

    @F.E. Castleberry: PJ Clarkes on 3rd and 55th meets your criteria

    Andrea left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 1:16 PM:

    Gorgeous photograph.

    I lived just a few blocks from this place when I first moved to New York.  Can’t believe I never discovered it!

    William left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 12:42 PM:

    One of the best lines uttered at Melon’s in that scene is: “The acid test is whether you take any pleasure in responding to the question, ‘What do you do?’ I can’t bear it.”

    Connetiquette left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 12:12 PM:

    I must also recommend their grilled cheese with tomato, for those of us who prefer an alternative and have burger-loving friends

    joei left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 11:19 AM:

    I usually dont travel past midtown for food but for a good burger, I might have to make the exception.

    Another area where you may see preps meet up at is meatball shop in the LES. Great motivation there to change my style.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 11:11 AM:

    @William—I am aware. I do like to leave a little to you guys’ imaginations. Thank you for bringing that gem to the attention of everyone else.

    @KGS—Thank you for pointing me towards your site. I did not claim J.G. Melon’s burger was the best in NYC, simply one of them. And the only reason it is being featured on Unabashedly Prep is because of its relevance to the prep lifestyle…that’s the only reason anything is featured here. Are those are burger joints prep havens? If so, by all means let me know.

    @Laguna Beach Prep—There is always a better burger to be had elsewhere.

    LacrossePlayground left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 11:01 AM:

    Heard Shake Shack is coming to DC. Getting excited.


    William left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 10:27 AM:

    Of course you may or may not realize that the restaurant plays an important part in one of the ultimate preppy films, i.e. Whit Stillman’s “Metropolitan”...

    KGS left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 10:15 AM:

    Hey F.E., as an avid reader of your site, I feel its my obligation to steer you towards a better burger, seeing as I actually write a burger blog about finding the best burger in NYC. JG Melons is great, but there are a bunch that are better. Id suggest you try Lure (not on the menu), Lugers, Zaitzeff or even Spotted Pig if you havent already. Im still reviewing many more of the favorites of New Yorkers, but check it out if you’d like. www.bestburgernyc.com

    Laguna Beach Prep left a comment on 8/26/2010 at 8:35 AM:

    Nice. Wonderful burgers. But there are better ones to be had elsewhere.