NYC - Burger Joint
Famous last words: "There won't be that many people there - surely no one knows about it!"
Oh my was I wrong!
Burger Joint is nestled in the back of the reception area of Le Parker Meridien. You wouldn't know it if you just walked past, as it's hidden behind a red curtain, with the only indication being the long line of people waiting to get into the shipping container-sized venue, and a small neon burger and an arrow pointing to to the entry.
The dive gives off a secret, almost speakeasy vibe as you snake your way around the corner and into the restaurant, where you're met with a low-lit, bustling hipster hub, suitable for families and dates alike.
The menu is pretty straight forward, hand written on pieces of cardboard hanging above the counter:
Cheese Burger or Hamburger + How do you want it cooked? + Toppings + Fries or soda?
The way all menus should be. There's no time for umm-ing and ahh-ing, you pick what you want, you pay and tip, then you hustle to find somewhere to eat it. It's an experience that you simply have to have while you're here.
Upon finding a seat (finally!), you get a chance to check out the entirely graffitied interior, with writings, scratches, posters, newspaper snippets, framed photos, and everything in between covering almost every surface in the place. Paired with an eclectic playlist blasting in the background, you're whisked into an atmosphere that is so so different to that merely a few metres out the door on the 56th Street.
When your name is called, you have to get up and collect your feast (no table service here!) and bob and weave to get back to your seats. Presented in nothing more than a plain brown paper bag, you can smell the greasy goodness before you rip open the packet. They fill the bag full of fires (shoestring, covered in salt - SO good), and the burgers (with the lot, of course) are dripping with sauce and melted cheese. Although a little small, they have mastered the simple, straight forward burger, and there are no regrets as you polish off the entirety of your meal - if you MUST work it off, Central Park is a block away.
The service is nothing but friendly, as the hurriedly take your order with a smile and only a small exchange of words. As they're making your burger with love, you'll find them bopping along and singing to the music, adding a fun element to the place. We had one of them come over to make sure everything was okay, which was really nice as well.
Burger Joint is an experience, so don't let the long lines turn you away - after all, do the lines not determine the quality? Follow the neon signs, be decisive, and visit the hidden gem that is Burger Joint NYC.