The only time I’d tried goodburger, my boyfriend and I had ordered it for delivery, and while we didn’t exactly have any complaints other than a half-melted shake, it wasn’t the sort of burger we’d seek out repeatedly.
So I was admittedly pleased when I received an e-mail from goodburger’s PR firm asking me to try out their revamped menu and offering up a list of reasons why the new goodburger is a better goodburger: a tastier bun, the freshest toppings, and a burger made with Pat LaFreida beef and cooked on a open flame in a green-certified restaurant.
One of their six locations is just down the street from my boyfriend’s apartment, so we piled on our winter wear last weekend and went out for what turned out to be a pretty darn good burger experience.
Despite the restaurant’s novelty name, this is a serious burger. The fact that the patty is grilled instead of griddled hits you immediately, both in the lightly charred taste and in the way the outside is slightly crunchy to contrast the extremely juicy pink center. The restaurant doesn’t offer American cheese, to my horror, but the mix of white and yellow cheddar was clearly superior. All of the toppings–I got “the works”–couldn’t have been more fresh, and both my boyfriend and I absolutely loved the grilled bun.
The shoestring fries were your typical fast food type. I’m more of a steak fry girl, but I know some people like ‘em small and crunchy. Next time, I’m absolutely getting the cheese fries or chili cheese fries.
After tasting this, I made a mental note to never order a shake for delivery again. My Black Cow was real vanilla ice cream with nice big squirts of chocolate syrup down the sides, and my boyfriend’s Cookies & Cream was chock full of chocolate bits. They were both so thick it was hard to drink them through their straws, which is just what I like in a shake.
The big picture is that this is a really, really good burger. This is the kind of burger that satisfies that specific better-than-fast-food burger craving that all New Yorkers seem to have and try to fight. And the great thing about goodburger is that, at least in my experience, it’s never too crowded. It’s not a big to-do to go there. It’s the kind of neighborhood joint you can pop into
Here’s the fine print: goodburger isn’t Shake Shack. The goodburger is a couple dollars more expensive than the ShackBurger, the fries are a few cents cheaper, and the shakes are about the same price. But a lot of the reason Shake Shack is NYC’s most talked-about burger has nothing to do with the food itself. The goodburger is as good as the ShackBurger, and it’s probably better for people who like grill marks and something other than super-processed American cheese on their patty. But Shake Shack has the power of marketing on their side. If I’m going out for burgers with my friends, it’s more likely that I’d choose to sit outdoors at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park or to enjoy the sights outside the Times Square Shake Shack while I munch. The goodburger in my neighborhood looks more like a generic diner than some interior designer’s modern magnus opus.
The thing goodburger has on Shake Shack, though, is that you’re never going to have to stand in line in the sun or the rain for an hour for goodburger. There aren’t throngs of tourists taking up the sidewalk outside the door of goodburger, and no one’s making websites with a dedicated webcam showing how long the line is. I’m sure that’s not goodburger’s favourite thing about itself, but none of its customers are complaining.
800 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10017 (map)