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Old School Burgers @ Their Best: Cherry Street East

Photo Credit: Natasha Montero“Déjà vu all over again” – Yogi Berra

In April 2006, Cherry Street East suffered the greatest catastrophe that can strike any business when it became engulfed in flames. A total loss; many loyal patrons stared at the charred remains of their local pub, their beloved hangout, and the place that since 1977 had served one of the best burgers in Fairfield County. Cherry Street East was a piece of the fiber of the New Canaan community and patrons were concerned that Cherry Street East would become a distant memory.  In a true tribute to the owners John and Mary Bergin, the local residents formed an alliance with the owners to reconstruct an exact replica of the original building. The eclectic clientele returned and include local business people sharing an appetizer and burger for lunch, several regulars holding court, and families out for a burgers and fries dinner. 

With the building rebuilt to its former glory would the legendary burgers return?

Photo Credit: Natasha MonteroThe 8-ounce burgers are ground daily on the premises and then hand formed taking great care to keep the integrity of the meat intact, you still see the grind of the meat.  Upon order, each burger is cooked on a gas fired indoor grill, with individual dedication to assure every burger is cooked to the desired doneness. I prefer my burgers with a full pink interior, and in every instance, it arrives perfectly prepared. The half-pound size allows for a nice thick presentation, and it is fully capable of handling any of the numerous combinations of toppings that are available to satisfy any desire. Start with a great burger and then build to perfection. You can mix and match from the twenty different toppings including traditional tomato, lettuce, grilled peppers and onions plus guacamole, jalapeno peppers and salsa. The bacon cheeseburger includes two slices of American Cheese, which adds the desired creaminess (several other cheese choices are available including Swiss, Cheddar, Jack and Smoked Mozzarella); the bacon brings the smokiness and saltiness, and a couple of slices of half-sour pickles are a delightful complement  

Photo Credit: Natasha MonteroMy customized bacon-cheeseburger arrives with two slices of cheese and crispy bacon atop the burger, and all are encased in a large Kaiser roll. Upon the delicious first bite you will understand why people love the Cherry Street East burger. The meat has a great flavor, full, rich, reminiscent of all the burgers you love when you grill at home. While the Kaiser roll is the standard fare, I recommend the English muffin. The additional flavor of the muffin adds a little sharpness to the burgers deep flavor and I find the rolls a little too bland for my taste.

The other item that is outstanding at Cherry Street East are the house cut onion rings. Each morning pounds of onions are hand cut and readied for the day. The coating is light and crispy and the onions are soft and wonderful. They arrive unsalted, but each table is equipped with individual salt and pepper grinders. A lunch of a burger and onion rings in this friendly establishment is one of the best ways to spend a lazy afternoon.

Photo Credit: Natasha MonteroCherry Street East also serves both russet and sweet potato fries. Like the onion rings, they arrive unsalted, but a few twists of the S&P shakers and the fries are ready for a quick dip into some ketchup (malt vinegar also available). They are prepared when ordered to create a perfectly fresh product, each with some skin and each deep-fried to a glorious finish. The russets are mild in flavor, and if you would like little more flavor, then the sweet potato fries are what should be ordered. The latter are skinnier and have just a slight amount of sweetness. Care must be taken on the first bite as the fries arrived incredibly hot.

The delectable burgers, onion rings, and fries can be accompanied by a selection of six beers on tap including Bass, Bud Light, Guiness, Sierra Ale, Photo Credit: Natasha MonteroSmithwick’s Ale, and Stella. In addition, several choices of beer are available in bottles. The always occupied bar offers three strategically placed TV’s broadcasting sports, CNN, ESPN or MSNBC. There are eight small, 2-person tables plus eight booths to serve a total of fifty patrons. An upstairs dining room is also available. The atmosphere is extremely relaxed, engaging and friendly. The staff has been there for years and treats everyone like a member of the family.

Cherry Street East is a destination spot for a great hamburger. If you are in the mood for a great hand formed, perfectly cooked burger with a side of fries and some house prepared onion rings, then Cherry Street East is a great place to satisfy your craving.

Cherry Street East 45 East Ave, New Canaan 203. 594.1515

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    Old School Burgers @ Their Best: Cherry Street East - CT Bites - Restaurants, Recipes, Food, Fairfield County, CT
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    Old School Burgers @ Their Best: Cherry Street East - CT Bites - Restaurants, Recipes, Food, Fairfield County, CT

Reader Comments (32)

This is a place to satisfy that craving for a "beer and a burger." The relaxed atmosphere is exactly why I love this place, every town should be so lucky to have a place like this. Thanks for the reminder JFood.

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I rate CSE's burger up in the top 5 in Fairfield County. My Top 10 list:

1. Le Farm - Westport
2. Napa & Co. - Stamford
3. Burgers, Shakes, & Fries - Greenwich
4. Cherrystreet East - New Canaan
5. Flipside - Fairfield
6. Brennan's - Stamford
7. Rory's - Darien
8. Filling Station - NC
9. Gingerbread - SoNo, Greenwich
10. Donovan's & MacKenzie's - SoNo

April 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTburgerlover

i like your list, but filling station doesn't deserve to be on there, and neither does donovans...what a horrible burger.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermyronjones


I liked Filling Station both times I went, Donovan's admittedly not as good as it used to be. I will add Burger Bar as an Honorable Mention. But I feel like I'm missing someone...can u help me out? Who would you add?

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTburgerlover

When I worked in New Canaan, Cherry Street was the place everyone in our office went. We liked the relaxed and friendly vibe. I've been there many times, eaten many burgers there... but I never thought their burgers were "the best." The components don't come together in a cohesive whole. If you look at the photos above, I think you'll see what I mean. That said, I always appreciated the way the smell of grilling burgers wafts from the restaurant onto the street.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

To CTburger's list.

I think that Napa and BSF are the cream of the crop for burgers in FFD county. I also like the burger at the Burger Bar in SONO and, although not in FFD County, Meetinghouse in Bedford has a good burger as well. Those, with CSE, would complete the list of the top-5 go-to burgers.

Jfood, have you tried the burger at Taibe's new place?

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTburgerlover

Jeffood, you can't make a legit Top 5 without including Le Farm's burger, one the Stamford Advocate called "The best this reviewer has ever had" (agree wholheartedly). Along with the one at Napa, no other burger merits mention in the same breath in FF Cty.

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G.

In fairness and as pointed out by others, I left off Le Farm for the simple reason that I have not had the burger there yet. I also left off negative comments on burgers that are on the list, as this is a forum for positive finds in our area. Whether the Stamford Advocate or any other paper calls any restaurant or dish lousy or stellar is their opinion. I have agreed and disagreed over the years with many of these reviews, as I am sure you have as well.

The burger at Harvest Supper is up there with Napa and Le Farm's. Definitely worth a try!

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkbfood

Gotta try the Harvest Burger...I love that place!!!

Gotcha Jeff, it's just that one can't make a blanket statement on "The Best" or "Go-to's"without at least having tried some of the obvious omissions. Self proclaimed pizza mavens do not say "Pepe's, Joe's, and Letizia's are the cream of the FF County crop" without having tried Colony or Molto. Same goes for folks who have not tried Napa & Le Farm burger offerings (and admittedly - Harvest Supper, this will soon change for me).

CTBurger's list is a good one though I'd put the top two on there as a tie and maybe drop the bottom three for Burger Bar, Five Guys (I know, I know...not gonna be too popular here), and a pending vote for Harvest because everything that chef has turned out is fantastic, have to assume the burger is as well.

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G.

To Steve G

First, it's jfood. Secondly, this is my current go-to list and, like all lists, is subject to additions and deletions. As you stated in your additions, you know certain places will garner some harsh criticisms, but if you like something, you gotta go with your convictions. Will HS or LT make the list after tried? Maybe, maybe not. All of this is very personal as to taste. Similar to you, I won't add or delete a name because it's a "hot place" or others think it is not very good. I have been to some places on the burger lists and some on your pizza list that I would not place on my go-to list, but that's why they make vanilla and chocolate ice cream, different strokes.

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterj food

Jfood, is Jeff your real name? Always wondered where that came from...

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTburgerlover

I'm slowly recovering from my lunch of a medium rare cheddar (single) burger from Burgers, Shakes, & Fries in Greenwich. A serious contender for top burger in CT. Is it true they may open another location?

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Hi Amy,

Yes, they are supposed to open a larger location in Darien. Kory will serve beer, provide more seating, and put out the same tremendous product while continuing to operate the original location in Greenwich.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTburgerlover

One more question for you CTBurgerlover, what do you think about the Sycamore and their "French style" burgers? I gotta say, the price and atmosphere and sixty years of tradition are tough to beat...

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Hi Amy,

Not too much better in CT than a summer Saturday night @ the Sycamore with the classic cars, carhop service, a Dagwood burger, onion rings, and a root beer float.

While my favorite type of burger is grilled w/a loose grind, I do appreciate different varieties of burgers, one of them being the pressed style that Sycamore and Filling Station feature. The crisp exterior and suprisingly juicy interior is a great contrast, and I really like the resulting flavor of the meat. It's like a Whopper on 'roids.

May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTBurgerlover


I would vote that pressing a burger is not the best way to cook and serve a burger. As you press the burger you will notice all the liquid sizzling around the meat, that's lost burger juice. I do agree with CTburger that having a crisp outside and a moist and juicy inside is the best way to serve a burger, but if the only way that is accomplished is squishing and squeezing the juice and drying out the meat, I would suggest going back to square 1. If the Sycamore is able to accomplish this feat I would like to try it, but could you imagine how much better it would be if they left all that lost juice in the burger for your tongue to enjoy? My rule in cooking burgers..."pick up the spatula and move away from the grill."

Hey jfood, she was asking ME, not you.

Just kidding.

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTBurgerlover

Filling Station = awesomeness

June 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBababooey

I have been going to Cherry Street for years and it is easily the best burger in New Canaan. Glad to see it is getting good press.

October 13, 2010 | Registered Commenterbilly miller

I'd have to put Harvest Supper burger above Cherrystreet's, but it's like comparing apples & oranges. They should have subcategories...there are 3 types of burgers in New Canaan alone:

"Restaurant" burgers: Harvest Supper, Pine Social, Gates
"Pub" burgers: Cherrystreet, 50 Coins
"Quickie" burgers: Filling Station, NC Diner

October 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTBurgerlover


Oh man I did forget harvest, TY. great burger and in the same league with cherry. But how can you put Filling Station on the same list. That's like putting pre-made sandwiches from Food Emporium on the same list as Rosies and Tony's. LOL

October 14, 2010 | Registered Commenterbilly miller

whattup billy,

Filling Station isn't in the same category as HS and CSE, though I do think they are pretty tasty burgers in their own right.

October 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCTBurgerlover

you may need to change your login to ctshoeleatherlover LOL.

you misedd the farm place. good burger?

October 14, 2010 | Registered Commenterbilly miller

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