Prime Burger Field Trip

Prime Burger is this classic diner-cum-burger joint that sits just off Fifth Avenue and which has been around since 1938. The waiters wear white coats and you can sit and eat at these funny little single tables with swing-out trays. Another great detail? The receipts still list the phone number without including an area code.
Apparently there was only one at the time they were printed.
I’ve been meaning to try the place for a while: shortly after starting work at Sterling, when I declared my love of shake shack to a colleague at work, she mentioned this place; and then there was that random TV special a few years back, where Sarah Jessica Parker visited it in a round-up of her favorite spots in the city. Then, on A Hamburger Today, there was a post about the iconic spot with specific ordering instructions. (True, needing to specify salting and making the burger fresh doesn’t inspire total confidence, but I was intrigued.)
Just before the holiday break, three colleagues and I jumped into a cab and headed uptown to 5th Avenue and 51st street, just around the corner from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and ducked into the fully wood-paneled relic for lunch. As a group of four, we bypassed the funny little desks and headed to the back–although I snapped this picture as we were walking by them just to give an idea.
Our waiter laughed when I asked about salting and making the burger from scratch; in a thick New York accent and a broad smile, he said, “someone’s been lookin’ online.” We all ordered fried onions (which was overkill) and then cheeseburgers (and then ordered a fifth to split). I have no idea whether or not the ordering-details made any difference, but the burger was very good. Not Diner or Back Forty-good, but definitely Shake Shack-good. Like the latter it was a small (4 oz?) patty and had that fast food (but better) ratio of bun to cheese to burger.
Classic burger. Classic burger joint. What’s not to like?
Definitely going to bring Aron…
(Top Photo from A Hamburger Today)

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