HACKENSACK, N.J. — White Manna Hamburgers is celebrating its 70th year in business on River Street in Hackensack with lines spilling out the front door — as usual.
The tiny, red and white, block building on the banks of the Hackensack River was purchased by Louis Bridges in 1946.
"I'm a big fan of history, and White Manna is a huge part of local history," said White Manna Hamburger regular Rob Janos of Paramus.
"It's tiny and cramped and hard to miss if you don't look for it. But there's a line out the door and it's survived decades of increasing competition by having incredible hamburgers and even better atmosphere."
White Manna Hamburgers was the original diner well-known to be from the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, prior to Bridges' transaction.
Bridges owned five of the restaurants all named “White Manna,” including the one that still exists on the Western Slope, corner of Tonnelle Avenue and Manhattan Avenue, in Jersey City.
The eatery has been featured on several television shows including "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
It’s not at all uncommon for the restaurant to have all of its 20 seats filled, standing room only and people waiting outside.
"It's kind of awesome that the place has been there for 70 years with the same sized grill with basically the same slider recipe," said Dann Herbolario of Rochelle Park, a longtime regular customer.
"The burgers are fresh-cooked to order and they have amazing milkshakes and fries,"
There are rules for ordering: only order burgers from the grill man, and everything else from the server in the back.
The burgers are hot, juicy and oozing cheese and onions. A pile of ordinary dill pickles are served on the side, and the rolls are nice and warm.
The crinkle-cut fries are piping hot and the shakes? Well, they are smaller than they used to be, but thick and chocolatey.
"Thankfully," Janos said, "the only thing I ever have to do for a White Manna burger is grab a couple bucks and drive down the road."
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