Linden, NJ 07036
- Cost: $
- Alcohol: None
- Parking: Private Lot
- Take Out: Yes
February 17, 2011
There are no better sliders than the gems of beefy goodness cooked on Rich Belfer’s griddle at Linden’s White Rose System. Simply cooked – griddle-steamed with sliced onions – the burgers are thin but still juicy in the middle. Fresh chopped beef is delivered daily at 5 am, and you can taste it. The meatiness of the burger blends perfectly with the soft white bun (small) or Kaiser-like roll (large). A few round pickle slices are served on the side. You can add ketchup if you want, but it’s a shame to mess with perfection. Belfer’s burgers are heralded because the beef shines through, in slider form. We were lucky on the Saturday we visited. We got the last burgers of the day at 2:30 pm, because the meat had run out.
White Rose System also serves breakfast – hot grits available every day – and its Taylor ham egg and cheese sandwiches are supposed to be among the state’s best. Why “White Rose System”? According to burger expert Josh Ozersky, when White Rose opened in 1958, it was one of the independent restaurants that mimicked the White Castle chain, down to the name and shape of the building. That explains the jumble of Jersey slider joints serving sliders with “White” in their name.
A classic American joint, the tiny, chrome-encased restaurant sits on an industrial stretch of East Elizabeth Avenue not far from the old GM plant. Look for the American flags fluttering in the breeze and a roadside sign advertising the day’s special. Inside, there are six coveted stools at the counter, a few more facing the window, and a couple of tables. You can see, hear and smell the grill from the moment you open the door.
You’ll probably start chatting with Rich, the owner and grill man, soon after you sit down. He’s Jersey born and bred, and there’s no friendlier guy behind a Garden State counter. Rich has a firm burger point of view: his son has never eaten a fast food burger. And why should he? A White Rose System slider is the way burgers were meant to be.
- CBS Sunday Morning (Feb 2010)
- New Jersey Monthly (17 Jan 2011)
- NJ.com (2 Jan 2015)
- Serious Eats (1 Sep 2009)