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.