Jody’s Staten Island, Simplicity at Its Best

Jody's Front  w/ Jim Fagan, Megan Scottjodys burger

Jody’s Club Forest, West Brighton – 372 Forest Ave, Staten Island NY 10301 (Find it!)

My travels this weekend had me up in New Rochelle, NY for a wedding and in all honesty, I’m surprised I made it out of bed this morning. Fighting through 90-plus degree heat made the start of my day that much more enjoyable. The one bright spot is that I passed through Staten Island (my hometown) on the way home and I decided to meet up with my dad for lunch. A hamburger enthusiast himself, I thought it would be good to try out his favorite burger and see how it stacks up to the Philadelphia competition. He likes to switch up his standby restaurant every 6 months or so and Jody’s Club Forest in Staten Island is the latest and, according to him, the greatest (at least for burgers). He and I have shared burgers at several Staten Island institutions over the years, and I have to agree that Jody’s burger sits very close to the top.

There’s always an interesting atmosphere in a bar at 1pm on a weekday and today was no different. A few lonely characters were quietly drinking beer at the bar. A young family sat a few tables down, enjoying club sandwiches and quality time. I would have thought they were tourists if not for the fact that tourists don’t go to Staten Island (and if they did, I doubt they would stop for lunch at Jody’s).  We rounded out the rest of the “lunch” crowd. There’s really not much else to say about the bar itself. Both outside and in, Jody’s is no frills and it’s the lack of flair that makes it great. Secret spice blends and cheese-infused meat have their place, but sometimes you just want simple food done well, and that’s what Jody’s provides.

I placed my order for a cheeseburger (American cheese the only option), medium-rare, no bacon. My dad reminded me shortly after the waitress stepped away that, true to Staten Island tradition, the burgers were served on an English muffin rather than a hamburger bun. I always had a problem with the English muffin as it rarely has the strength or size to stand up to a normal-sized burger. There’s nothing to catch the juice as it pours out of the meat and you’re left with a sizable mess on your hands and, in many cases, your clothes. I was looking forward to giving it another shot though, as it had been a good 8 years since my last English muffin burger debacle. Our plates arrived after a short wait and I was pleased to see that the burger patty fit perfectly between the two slices of muffin (both covered in cheese). There was a nice crust formed on the outside of the burger along with a good amount of grease from the grill. With the first bite, I immediately understood why my dad has been raving about this place for the last few months. No secrets here, just a thick ground beef patty cooked to perfection. I’m not even sure if the meat was seasoned prior to cooking, but it didn’t matter. This was a straight-up classic American cheeseburger and it was done right. The next bite sent red-brown gravy pouring down my hand and onto the plate, giving me another condiment for the well-done fries. The only surprise was that the English muffin help up until the last bite. It provided only enough support to deliver the burger to my mouth, and otherwise understood its place and allowed the meat to be the shining star. Everything about this meal was exactly what I wanted it to be, and far exceeded all my expectations.

Here’s the Beef: Jody’s is not a date spot. And you probably don’t want to take your in-laws here if you’re trying to impress them. But they do make a really delicious, simple cheeseburger. I’m always looking to try something new, and Philadelphia is great if you want variety and a modern take on the classics. But if you’re in the area and are looking for a quality burger without the bells and whistles, keep Jody’s in mind. Tell the bartender you know Jim Fagan and you might even get a free drink out of it.

BURGER: 8 out of 10

ESTABLISHMENT: 5 out of 10

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  1. Jim Fagan

    Excellent review and so quickly. I never looked at my hamburger adventures in such detail but maybe I’ll start taking pictures of all my future meals. Have you ever seen a bowl of Farina taken with the correct lighting. Mmm, Mmm, Good.

    Great job!!!!!!

  2. Megan

    Though you can’t really tell by the picture, I’m giving Jody’s burger two enthusiastic thumbs up!

  3. Chris Miley

    I am not 100% sure, but I think my only Statan Island burger experience was at this place with the Burger King, Tim Fagan, and the Silver Fox, Jim Fagan. Im not sure how I feel about the English Muffin vs the burger bun or kaiser roll. But its probably been 8 years for me too, so I’ll have to give it another shot.

    Nice review LB.

  4. Favorite part: the English Muffin understood its place.




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