Our gang watched late-summer jazz in Madison Square Park, but eyes rolled when we saw the line at the Shake Shack. It snaked hundreds of feet from the order window out through the park gates.
“What about the secret burger place?” said Maria.
We all stared and she smiled and dragged her toe in the dirt like she might not share her secret. It was rather sexy.
We got her to spill the beans and six of us bolted uptown by bike and subway to the … Parker Meridien. A burger joint in one of the city’s fanciest hotels? Hard to figure.
The lobby was everything you’d expect: high ceilings, artwork and fancy bars and restaurants … but it smelled like burgers.
Sure enough. A David Lynch-esque floor-to-ceiling curtain juts out into the lobby concealing the secret space. Approach and you’ll notice a skinny corridor with a neon-sign hamburger and a right-pointing arrow at the end.
Inside, it’s night and day; the space looks like a cross between Arnold’s Drive-In from “Happy Days” and my fraternity house basement. The burgers are great - you get to choose the cooking temperature and usually, you can elbow your way to a just-opened table right when they call your order number.
A good burger joint in one of the city’s fanciest hotels. Go figure.
Count on around $15-$20.
Burger Joint – MAP
119 W 56th St
New York, NY
Globe travel correspondent Joe Ray writes his own blog, Eating The Motherland and contributes to the English language version of Simon Says! the French food and lifestyle blog run by French food critic Francois Simon.
Photo by Joe Ray for The Boston Globe