We’ve all seen the spike in food prices over the past several months. In spite of that, I was pleased to find that there are places where one can get a decent cheeseburger for less than $9 (exclusive of tax). This list is not meant to supersede our readers’ survey best burger, nor is it a comprehensive list of every burger under $9 in Grand Rapids. It’s simply a list of the places I’m aware of that serve a pretty darn good burger for the price.
#1 The absolute best burger in town for the price, in my humble opinion, is at One Stop Coney on Fulton. I went there during peak time – lunch hour. My visit to this happening spot started out right. I got a parking place right outside the door and I didn’t even have to fumble with the MOTU app. The meter outside was one that still takes quarters and, lucky for me, I had one. There were two men behind the counter, one who greeted me right away. Amply crowded with people enjoying burgers at about four or five tables, and some people sitting at a counter by the window, too, it had a real city vibe. After a very short wait, I was cordially asked what I wanted. I ordered the deluxe cheeseburger for $7.50 and since I’ve rated it number one on my list, I don’t have to tell you how I felt about it, but I will anyway; I fell in love. The $4 Belgian fries were a nice accompaniment, but I honestly didn’t end up needing them. This burger was big enough to fill me up and I was back to my car before the meter expired.
Editor’s Note: Since the time of publication, it appears that One Stop Coney has added a new item to the menu that’s not mentioned. I received this email from one of our readers:
“I think their burger is one of the best in town,” said Joyce Johnson. “However, they have a new menu item; onion rings, they are the best onion rings I have had in Grand Rapids. You need to try them.”
Thanks for letting us know, Joyce.
#2 It is still possible to get a burger, fries and a beer in Grand Rapids for less than $8. Where? At Bud & Stanley’s on 4 Mile Road. It’s been a while since I’ve ordered this combo, but I used to make it part of my weekly routine when I was feeding hungry youngsters. Kids can substitute pop for beer to make it a cheap night out for the fam. The domestic draft that comes with the combo can be upgraded to a craft brew or premium beer for an upcharge of $1.75. Is it the best burger on the face of the planet? That’s for you to decide, and at this price…why not give it a try? And…caveat emptor, this fabulous bargain is only available on Monday nights. The rest of the week, it’ll cost you more than 800 pretty pennies.
#3 This is a hard one, but I’m going to have to go with Elbow Room on Fuller. These big burger baskets are served with your choice of fries or coleslaw, and they’re only $9, all the time. I always get mine with ketchup, pickle, mayo, lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese, or put more simply, “everything but onions.” They also have swiss or American cheese if cheddar is not your thing, and the combo comes with a zesty pickle spear. These burgers are tasty, filling and, at the price, they are truly a bargain.
#4 Black Napkin on Diamond and Fulton eked into this lineup with its tasty, albeit a bit thin, smashburger they call “The Classic.” It comes with the usual accouterments (American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, mustard). The burger alone cost $9. It was really very scrumptious, and enough food for me, but depending on your level of hunger, you might want to try a double for $12 (which knocks it out of the bargain category). The food came up quick. The service was friendly, but the highlight of this experience was the house made soda. I ordered the Golden Cola. I’ll definitely be returning for more of the above.
#5 Nonla Burger is a standout on Bridge Street, which is otherwise laden with places for adults to imbibe. This family-friendly fast food restaurant with high ceilings, a colorful interior and overall festive ambiance was all abuzz when I visited on a Saturday afternoon. It was like visiting an American fast food chain overseas, full of hip people dressed for an outing (if you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s in Montmartre or Piața Romană you’ll know what I’m talking about). The cheeseburger was good. It was topped with a special pink sauce that I will probably forego in the future. I’d love the same sauce on another “sando,” I’m just picky about my burgers. This was by far the best priced burger I sampled, coming in at $5.25. The hand cut fries were no less than amazing. The kids’ cheeseburger combo meal comes with a cheeseburger, fries and a drink for just $6.95. There are arcade games to keep you and the little ones busy while you wait. Unfortunately, my food was ready before I got to finish a round of Ms. Pac Man.