Get us in your inbox

Photography: Noah Fecks

Who is ready for burger time in the city?

Written by
Rocky Rakovic

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer in New York City. The smart set, dressed in white, is sipping boozy spritzes, the Yankees are first in the division and we’ve all finally turned on our air conditioners for the first time this year.

It’s also high season for juicy burgers. Millions of East Coast suburban dads will be firing up their grills over the weekend, raising the seaboard’s temperature by a full degree (we are not climatologists but that seems about right). Ah the siren song of the grill master back at his perch, “Who wants their's with cheese?” permeates the tri-state area.

Problem for us city folk: Not enough backyards and no suburban dads in the five boroughs. Solution: New York City restaurants have some of the best darn burgers on this planet. From Minetta Tavern to P.J. Clarke’s and all the Shake Shacks in between, Gotham does ground beef better than any amateur rocking a phone clipped to his belt and a pair of Nike Monarchs.

Carnivores clash over the better cut of beef—we’re team rib eye over filet mignon at Time Out. But we’ll give legendary butcher Pat LaFrieda the last word: “I’ll take a burger over a steak any day. Everything, from the beef to the bun, is just amazing. It’s America’s comfort food.” Spatula drop.

The burger is so beloved by red-blooded US citizens that three of the country’s top chain restaurants are burger-centric, heck the biggest one created a villain, the Hamburglar, whose main motivation is to steal your patty.

How many bad burgers have you had in your life? Not many, were guessing. Even Wendy’s unnaturally square patties do the trick. When selecting an ideal cut of steak we look for white marbling, for the fat will saturate the meat with salinity and flavor. By design, a burger has a generous portion of fat calibrated into the mix—it is the perfect little salt and protein bomb.

For one of our new favorites, the burger wizard, LaFrieda, skipped the middleman and is cooking his own signature blend of meat—and he dares to go square. In the forthcoming Time Out Market New York, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors will be slinging the Mel’s Double Burger: two bespoke patties, American cheese, caramelized onions and house-made LaFrieda steak sauce. The whole thing glistens akin to one of those fireworks that looks like a willow tree.

The sound you just heard is a multitude of suburban dads putting the lids on their charcoal grills and walking away.

Time Out Market New York, the best of the city under one roof, is opening soon at 55 Water Street, Brooklyn.

Photography: Noah Fecks

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news