Merchants River House – 375 South End Avenue, Manhattan, New York

Merchants River House is an American bistro situated right on the Hudson River down in the Financial District. Looking for lunch the weekend my family was visiting New York City, we wandered in to check it out.

I’ll admit, I was initially a little skeptical about Merchants River House and thought that we may be walking right into a tourist trap – with it being right on the water and all. However, I was completely wrong. The atmosphere, service and food were all incredibly well done and we had a great extended lunch as we enjoyed buckets of beer and a pitcher of Firefly Sweet Tea spiked lemonade.

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip

The restaurant has both outdoor and indoor seating areas. Luckily, it was a perfect end-of-summer day so my family and I decided to sit outside. The views from the outdoor area of this restaurant are incredible. You have clear views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and New Jersey across the Hudson. There are also plenty of oversized umbrellas to provide shade from the sun should you need it and to help keep you comfortable. Our waiter, whose name I can’t remember, also set the right atmosphere with a great demeanor, ensuring we had an overall good time.

For food, I ordered:

  • Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip: with corn tortilla chips
  • Merchant’s Signature Burger: vermont white cheddar, apple wood bacon, caramelized onions, spicy bbq sauce
  • Pitcher of Firefly Sweet Tea Spiked Lemonade and buckets of beer (no, I’m not an alcoholic, we shared these)

Starting with the appetizer, the spinach and artichoke dip was delicious. When it first came out there was unmelted cheese on top giving the appearance that it may have been cold.

Merchant's Signature Burger
Merchant’s Signature Burger

However, after digging in, it was piping hot. The highlight of this appetizer was the corn tortilla chips. There weren’t the traditional chips you expect. Instead, they seemed to be homemade, fried tortilla strips. They had such a great flavor to them you could have easily eaten them alone, without the spinach and artichoke dip.

Now onto the best part of the meal, the burger. When I read the description of the Merchant’s Signature Burger I immediately knew I was ordering it. This burger has everything I ideally want on a burger and was screaming my name. It came out perfectly cooked-to-order and had ample amounts of bacon, cheddar and onions which gave it an incredible flavor. The bbq sauce added a nice spiciness to the overall flavor. The roll also complemented the sandwich. It wasn’t crunchy or hard and the perfect size for the burger, allowing you to easily get an entire bite in without it falling apart.

The Verdict

Merchants River House completely surprised me. What I thought was a possible tourist trap turned into one of the better meals I’ve had down in the financial district. The Merchant’s Signature Burger is the epitome of my ideal burger and the fact that I didn’t need to go about adding additional toppings to get this combination makes it a winner in my book. On top of it all, the service and atmosphere was perfect. They let us enjoy the incredible view of the Hudson and New York City landmarks while taking the time to enjoy our meal and hang around after for some additional drinks. I definitely will be coming back and recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a meal down in FiDI.

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