Jake's Wayback, Hartsdale, NY

They’ve been around for a couple of years now. The burgers are definitely decent and they have monthly menu specials usually related to the season or a pop culture event (such as green slime shakes and ghost pepper burgers for the Ghostbusters release). My kid completed their burger challenge last year by eating a 9-patty burger with 9 slices of Swiss. He actually enjoyed it.

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Good to know. Are they better, iyo, than Smashburger and Five Guys?

Your kid ate that burger! Wow.

I always wanted to tackle that 9 patty burger with a shake. Man vs. Food kind of thing. Actually, Debra and Debbie, owners of that franchise, try very hard to make it memorable. They have a lot of competition around them, but they always try to be a part of the surrounding community. There is a retro feel to it. There is another Wayback in Yorktown Heights, if I am not mistaken…

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I tried Smashburger a few times and was so turned off by the solid layer of grease on all of the containers that I haven’t been back in a couple of years. As for 5 Guys, they wrap their hot takeout food in foil, which turns everything into mush. I also find their toppings limited. My favorite things from them are the peanuts and the Coke Freestyle machine.

Jake’s Wayback is retro in both decor and food. Their burgers are generally juicy and well-made. They will gladly customize burgers using ingredients from their monthly specials, which I appreciate. I don’t love their shakes because if I’m not mistaken, the base is always vanilla. I need a chocolate shake made with a chocolate ice cream base, chocolate syrup, and any dark chocolate in the immediate vicinity thrown in. Their shakes do get creative. I’m pretty sure there were apple pie and s’mores flavors at some point.

Yeah, the kid likes to eat burgers. He didn’t eat cheeseburgers for years, so when he came home and told us about completing and enjoying the challenge, we were a little surprised. He still hasn’t received his commemorative t-shirt after almost a year, so that’s a little disappointing.

If you do it, plan on not eating for the next 12 hours. He loves a giant burger, so it was not a huge stretch for him. Be warned, he’s 6’3", 195 lbs and still growing.

Where exactly is this place? Is in on Central?

It is next to the big Verizon store on Central Park Ave., Hartsdale…


It’s so interesting how different peoples tastes are. I generally like my burgers, cokked medium rare to medium, preferably with cheddar, but American is passable if that’s all there is, and a lot of raw, fresh, sweet onion slices like Vidalia, and Heinz ketchup. No pickles on the burger.

I only went to Wayback in Hartsdale once, around a year ago, and didn’t care for it. I found the actual burger meat kind of flavorless. It was nice that they made the burger to order, but it still had that gray, blah, fast food burger taste. Also their raw onions had that weird, stale taste that you get with onions that have been sliced and left to sit.

I don’t care for Smashburger or Five Guys either. The first two times I went to BGR Burger Joint in Cross County I liked it, then the last visit I didn’t. I also don’t care for Shack Shack. Way over priced and just… eh. I actually haven’t had a really good burger out in the past 3-4 years. Last week I went to Pipers Kilt in Eastchester, and found the burger quite boring, and that was the same experience I had there around six months ago too.

I would like a really tasty burger with a bit of smoky grill flavor to it, without it costing $13+, somewhere in Southern Westchester.

I remember many years ago, late 70’s - 90’s, the simple burgers from Pete’s Tavern in Bronxville were so good. For decades they had that really tasty char flavor to them, and were inexpensive. I helped with their renovation in late 90’s/2000 when I was helping out a contractor friend, and they were still great, and cheap. Then they replaced their kitchen grill, and the burgers went downhill.

I hope you dont take the phrase “definitely decent” to mean that I prefer those burgers. I do not. They are definitely decent. I personally prefer the 6 oz burger at Candlelight, medium rare, though it is usually underseasoned and I add my own condiments. I think it’s 6 bucks or so. Don’t get the 10 oz. It is consistently overcooked and always served on a dry, stale roll as opposed to the potato bun for the 6 oz. It also has a slight grill flavor that I enjoy. I never order raw onions on a burger that I haven’t made myself because the accumulated sulfur from precut onions is never rinsed off before serving and makes them taste old and nasty, though I’ve been known to add them at home from freshly-cut onions.

The kid, btw, ordered the 9 patties medium rare or he wouldn’t have enjoyed it. When ordering any kind of beef or lamb, he literally orders “as rare as you can legally serve it.” He’s on the right path.

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For me “definitely decent” equals satisfactory, which for me to be satisfactory means it is good. Different definitions I guess?

I haven’t been to the Candlelight in a decade at least. Just got too crowded.

That 6 oz burger sounds the right size to be cooked properly. At home I make 3 burgers per lb., and for sliders 4 per .75 lbs. For me those are the perfect sizes. I hate burgers that are huge. Almost impossible to cook them properly unless doing sous vide with a flame sear finish.

I agree re: cooking burgers. A huge burger overwhelms me and is difficult to cook correctly. I have successfully made 4 medium rare buffalo burgers at a half pound each, but they were not for me. It was on a Weber charcoal grill and I had all the time in the world to focus on them. I don’t sous vide, but would like to give it a go. I’ve seen a guy Frankie Celenza do something very much like your technique but with tenderloin and it’s very interesting. http://frankiecooks.com/sous-vide-beef-tenderloin-or-as-i-call-it-future-beef/

I am not a fan of Piper’s Kilt, or of Blazer Pub in Purdy’s. Blazer makes the huge, thick burgers and they don’t grill. Not a fan at all.

Jake’s Wayback makes a decent (not great by any means) burger,but like 5g and smash,the meat is secondary, the flavor and appeal is more about the toppings. At home my burgers get very little toppings, but when I want one “loaded” these places hit the spot. I think Jake’s is at least as good as 5g or smash. Personally,I do prefer SS and the burger with the hot pepper relish makes it. I also tried 5 napkin over at Ridge Hill- only tried it once so can’t really confirm, but I thought it was one of the best burgers I’ve had- pricey,so I haven’t tried again ,and it also was loaded so may have been the toppings.Back to Jake’s there is also a bareburger just up the street- also pricey,more of a real restaurant,but to me very poor value

Sad to say,but no 2nd chance to try 5 napkin burger at ridge hill. I think its the same owners but now converted to a mexican restaurant.As to Jake’s ,went there again yesterday and the owners and help are very nice and for a casual fast food burger it is good,but certainly nothing special. Onion rings were very good ,if a bit pricey for the size of the portion. stopped by to check out O Mandarin (2? doors down)- looks like they still have a bit of work to do. even with all the interior work,can still see the “bones” of Friendlys there

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