I may be a little biased because “Burger Joint” is where I met my band before we were a band, but this little faux-dive has a deserved cult following. We call it “Secret Burger” because it’s hidden inside the lobby of the impossibly posh Le Parker Meridien hotel, tucked behind thick floor to ceiling curtains with only a neon burger sign to denote what lies beyond. A number of academic words could be used to describe it: it’s anachronistic, it’s incongruous”¦but mostly, it’s just tasty.
Once inside, you’ll be confronted with your grumbling stomach as the scent of burgers, brownies and milkshakes wafts over from the open kitchen. Besides pitchers of beer, the aforementioned are the only items on the menu. Know what you want in advance, or you’ll be yelled at and sent to the back of the line. If you freeze, just ask for “The Works” which puts everything on your burger. Expect a line, but it moves quickly. Also prepare to battle for a seat.
Visually, the interior features vinyl booths, 1970s-era wood veneer paneling with sports and movie posters taped haphazardly, and no shortage of graffiti. It’s as if some mid-century burger joint was preserved and the hotel was built around it, but it actually opened only in 1999.
The hotel was built in 1981 and renovated in 2002. In some ways, anachronism seems to be the theme throughout the hotel: gothic style bar juxtaposed against neoclassical lobby, Sex and the City poster alongside Rocky I, Roman arches against Damien Hirst artwork. The lobby is actually a public atrium, open until midnight every day. Don’t forget to check out the spectacular views of Central Park and midtown Manhattan from the rooftop deck and pool!
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, 118 W. 57th St. (212) 245-5000
Hours: S-Thurs 11am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 11am-Midnight
Subway: N/Q/R/W to 57th St. and 7th Ave., or F to 57th st.
All photos by Michelle Young.