White Manna

Review by: Michael Stern

White Manna’s burgers are paradigmatic sliders: little balls of freshly-ground chuck that get slapped down onto a greasy griddle, preferably along with a handful of thin-sliced onions, mashed with a spatula, flipped, topped with cheese if requested, then crowned with the top of a tender potato roll. The roll is soft enough to sop up massive amounts of protein nectar that oozes from the beef as well as sweet perfume from the steamed onions; and its yeasty blandness is just what the forceful ingredients need to hit their peak. Heaps of thin-sliced pickle chips come alongside. Four or six of these make a nice meal. Alternately, it is possible to order a few doubles, which start with a ball of meat twice the size of a regular one, but to our taste, that strategy tests the perfect balance of a true slider.

The place is a minuscule diner with hardly more than a dozen seats and minimal counter space. We’ve never been to White Manna when it isn’t very crowded, meaning that although the hamburgers are definitive fast food, you might wait a while to get some.

What To Eat


Double Cheeseburger


White Manna Recipes


What do you think of White Manna?

2 Responses to “White Manna”

Seth Bogdanove

May 18th, 2011

I hadn’t been to White Manna since 1983, but having been told by my doctor that I have to go on a strict diet, I had to go one more time. My wife and I rented a car for the weekend to visit some of my favorite NJ food places, and White Manna was #1 on my list.

The line now, as it was then, was out the door, but we joined it, me in anticipation and my wife with trepidation (she’s a very picky eater). We finally got to the grill and placed our order; four burgers with pickles and onions for me, two cheeseburgers no onion and pickles for her, with fries and sodas.

We miraculously got two seats together at the corner of the counter, and ten minutes later, the burgers and fries arrived. To my pleasure, they were exactly as I remembered from my last visit in 1983! They were steaming hot, juicy and fresh, but not greasy. The fries were also perfection, and my wife told me she regretted not ordering more cheeseburgers.

This place, which has been continuously in business since the 1940s has been hyped on every Roadfood TV show I’ve seen, and rightly so. If you’re near Hackensack, you owe it to yourself to experience White Manna for yourself. You’ll thank yourself!


Mike Iacoucci

March 12th, 2009

“Perfection” is the only way to describe the burgers you receive from White Manna in Hackensack. White Manna serves what is one of the greatest “slider” burgers that can be found anywhere, the perfect marriage of bun, meat, cheese, and, of course, onion.

With thousands of burgers served from a 15′ by 30′ diner, the atmosphere is somewhat chaotic: there’s a line out the door into the parking lot, and the lucky few who manage to get inside are scattered all around, as there is about five feet between the door and the grill. Yet somehow through all of this, the grill runner manages to keep all of the customers’ orders straight. What makes it amazing is that nothing is written down; the customers shout out their orders, some of them complex, and it all manages to work out somehow. I have tried to look at the grill to see if there is come kind of “code” to the layout that keeps the orders straight but I have yet to find one. There is only one rule to abide by when ordering: tell the grill person your burger order and NOTHING else. There is more staff stationed behind him or her; place your fry and drink orders with them.

The meat is fresh-ground beef that is shaped into tiny balls. When you place your order the ball is placed onto the grill (two balls for the doubles) and if ordering with onions an excessive amount of shoestring-cut onions are placed on top of the balls, and the two are smashed down with a metal spatula. After the burgers are turned, a slice of cheese (if ordered) is placed on top. Before the burgers are removed, the buns (potato of course) are opened and placed on top of the burgers to collect all of the grill steam and juices. All burgers are cooked well-done, but it doesn’t matter: these are some of the juiciest, tastiest burgers you will ever eat!


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