This, unlike the other Burger Joint, is worth visiting. Along with Shake Shack this is the most hyped burger in the city and the lines prove it. Never mind that there are half a dozen comparable burgers in Manhattan that require no wait at all, the Shack and the Joint both have ridiculous lines during peak hours. But, like the Shack, the Burger Joint makes a magnificent sandwich. Unlike the Shack you wait is in an environment that is less than salubrious.
Burger Joint is nestled surreptitiously behind a curtain, like some sort of speak easy, in the lobby of the Parker Meridian Hotel. The unmistakable aroma of charred, flame grilled meat hits you as soon as you hit the lobby, completely at odds with the sleek modern decor of an upscale hotel. As you snake your way through the curtains, a neon sign, masterfully fashioned into a burger, beckons one through a small doorway into a cramped smoky room that is usually packed with people lining up to a small booth in the back of the room. The small booth holds a voluminous grill, deep fryers and everything else the large, frenetic and tightly packed crew needs to crank out some seriously good burgers and fries.
Flame grilled, served on plump seedless rolls and festooned with lettuce, red onion, pickles, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and mayo, the burger is in perfect proportion in every way. The beef to bun ratio is spot on, the double layer of white and yellow cheese adding a tangy creaminess while the fresh vegetables and pickles provide both sweetness and crunch.The only real knock on this place is the line and the lack of adequate seating. However, if you want a virtually identical product with generally much shorter wait times there is Goodburger which is a rapidly expanding chain that employs quite a few Burger Joint alumni. Either way you are in for a real treat.
Burger Joint @ the Parker Meridian
119 W. 56th St.
(bet. 6th & 7th Aves.)