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New York stacks served ’til late
It’s shaping up to be the year of The International Franchise® for the local dining scene. New York’s simply named Burger Joint is another one in the convoy rolling in from overseas, and it’s here to try its luck with Singaporeans’ love for patty and bun.
On the back alley of Gemmill Lane, shift through the metal doors next to the neon burger sign, run your fingers down the red velvet curtained passageway, and enter the joint. Split into burger kitchen and craft beer bar, the space feels like an underground bunker, clad in graffiti-covered swirly timber. ‘It’s almost creepy how much this one looks like the original in New York,’ an expat friend tells us in shock horror.
The menu of hamburgers ($17.10), cheeseburgers ($17.80), bacon burgers ($19.10) and bacon cheeseburgers ($19.80) is scrawled on torn-off sheets of packing cardboard tacked to the wall, as are instructions on how to order right – 'or else you go to the end of the line!' it menaces in bubble calligraphy. (Another scribble below de-claws the threat: ‘I’ve never seen anyone return to the back of the line, so chill!’) Choose a burger, its doneness and trimmings like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mayo and mustard. We’re never fans of paying extra for fries, but the crispy shoestrings ($5.50), salted just so, are a must.
Local franchisees Nicholas and Benedicte Heaney have piled on the effort to replicate the NYC experience here, hiring a staff butcher to break down and grind Nebraska-raised beef daily, and importing American yellow cheese slices and pickles from the US.
To have a thick, three-vanillascoop milkshake ($11.80) with a burger requires more roomy stomachs than we’ve been endowed with. So it’s a good thing we have an impressive bourbon selection ($12-$90/shot) and 18 beers on tap to pick from. The tap list ($9-11/half pint, $15-$19/ pint) at launch time is thoroughly impressive, pouring esoteric hopbomb IPAs, sour-salty goses and heavy stouts.
So much of the evaluation of a good franchise teeters on how well it clones the original experience. That’s if it can emerge through the big clouds of hype wafting up around it. But it’s time we stopped venerating imported concepts like Burger Joint and start appreciating its utility on the local dining scene: as a place for decent, warm, reasonably priced burgers until late at night.
Time Out Singapore reviews anonymously and pays for all meals. Read our restaurant review policy here.
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115 Amoy Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed 11.30am-11pm; Thu-Sat 11.30am-midnight; Sun 11.30am-8pm|
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