Maniacal Fries and Good Burgers

I had planned to do an ‘omnibus’ burger article, but this one’s too good to wait for: Good Burger, which just opened on 2nd Av. at 43rd St., is the new pink.  Seriously!  It’s going to be unbelievably hot and probably as crowded as Shake Shack or Burger Joint as soon as yesterday’s lunch run, so get in on the ground floor and enjoy while possible.

Now, about the place itself: as you enter, a sign declaring that Wimpy has personally assembled every burger greets you.  I don’t know if any of you have ever seen an actual Wimpy Burger, but I remember seeing one in Nairobi in 1997 and thinking how great of an idea it was.  Wimpy, after all, is the gent on the old Max Fleischer “Popeye” cartoons who is fond of saying, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  A true hamburger fan, he was.  No Wimpy Burgers in the states, though, and I’ve never seen one in Europe or the UK.  I was sadly warned off of going to that Wimpy in Nairobi, given that I was 16 and believed the guide when he said, “you won’t like it – not like your American burgers.”  As though McDonald’s in the third world was any better, douchebag.

Good Burger has a slightly pizza-parlor-esque atmosphere, mostly due to the marble countertop at which you submit and receive your order.  Apparently it’s owned by the Patsy’s pizza chain guy (says NY Metro, anyway).  I wonder if he’s the one setting the channel on the widescreen TV over the counter – when I arrived, it was playing a commercial for Bally’s Total Fitness.  Hmm.  Maybe I should have avoided the shake?

The cheeseburger was cooked medium, to order, and topped with “the works,” which was your usual array of lettuce, tomato, red onion, and some kind of sauce that I didn’t inspect more fully because I pretty much inhaled the burger.  It was REALLY tasty.  The bun was also of high quality – I like these Shake Shack-style buns that are soft, yet don’t fall apart after being inundated with burger juices (like your average store-brand hamburger bun).  The meat was delicious, seemingly fresh, and with a little char-grilled flavor that made me wonder for a second if they were sneaking in the burgers from out back.  At $5.25, the cheeseburger is on the expensive side, but I think it’s worth the money.

The real star here, however, was the potato.  Remember how excited you were to go to McDonalds, in your youth?  Remember when they cooked their fries with meat byproduct, instead of some kind of synthetic substitute?  Remember when a “Large Fry” wasn’t bigger than your burger?  Well, Good Burger does, because their fries are a DEAD RINGER for good McDonald’s fries.  I mean, seriously, a ridiculous imitation.  My girlfriend and I couldn’t believe how good they were.  At a buck seventy-five, they might well be the best fries in the city.

We also sampled the black cow milkshake, which is Good Burger’s way of saying black and white.  I think I spotted them using Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which I guess helps account for the $5.50 price tag.  Beyond the ‘deluxe’ ice cream ingredients, though, there’s little to distinguish this shake from countless others you’ve had, and it’s on the smaller side.

The lime rickey was also a disappointment, for my money.  They use nothing resembling a real lime anywhere in the process, and if you get it, make sure you mix it up well, because that lime syrup that sits on the bottom of the cup tastes septic in that way that only artificial citrus can.  After mixing, it was a bit more palatable (girlfriend pretty much killed it right afterwards), but at $3(!) I’m not really digging it.

So, yeah, it’s a good burger, and the fries are maniacal (magical?).  I guess “Maniacal Fries” wasn’t exactly a catchy name for a fast food joint, though.

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3 Comments

Filed under NYC

3 responses to “Maniacal Fries and Good Burgers

  1. Caroline

    Correction: I know Mike King’s girlfriend and she would not not “kill” a lime rickey.

  2. Anonymous

    I was in Nairobi the same year for a wedding. Wimpy Burgers aren’t very good. The burger that I had in my hotel was somewhat better. Nairobi isn’t culinary heaven. I found the food in Mombasa to be better. More Indian and near Eastern influence. They had a spice rack at least.

  3. It looks delicious! I do not normally eat out, I just prefere to cook at home. BUT a couple of days ago I was driving thru the city and OMG—saw a burger place and I stopped and purchased one and it was gone in 60 seconds, like in the movie 🙂 it was so good. Now I have feel burger-remorse.

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