The Battle of the Burger: Who Takes the Fort Greene Crown?
By Nikita Dubnov
As the school bells ring and resonate around the Fort Greene area daily, at 3:19pm, thousands of students seek a place to sit down, relax, and share a well-deserved meal before commuting home.
The recent development of the Fort Greene neighborhood has provided students with ample dining choices not far from Tech. The new restaurants and cafes offer a spectrum of dining choices, ranging anywhere from chicken wings to Thai cuisine. Several burger restaurants have joined in, prompting many students to choose a favorite.
The burger is certainly one of the first foods that comes to mind when thinking of American cuisine. It is generally inexpensive, quickly made, and filling, despite the lack of nutritional value. The simplicity of grilling a piece of meat and putting it between two pieces of bread could seem uninspiring, but the creativity that goes into topping off the burgers makes a big difference. That is why the three local burger champions, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, SmashBurger, and 67 Burger, have been creating unique dining options to attract customers.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Location: 1 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217
Five Guys Burgers and Fries has become a nationally recognized burger chain that serves casual fast food. The theme of the establishment embodies the style of a 1950s burger joint. The red and white logo pattern and the classic rock that plays from the speakers add to this retro theme.
The food offered at Five Guys is fresh and satisfying. While customers wait in line for their orders to be crafted by the fun-loving staff, they can treat themselves to complimentary peanuts. The peanut idea goes a long way, because all of the burgers are fried in peanut oil, which is largely considered healthier than other oil types, such as vegetable or canola.
Five Guys’ menu will satisfy pickier eaters. After choosing the size of the burger, customers are led to a system of choosing the toppings they want. The “All the Way” option lands the basics on top the burger: ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, and grilled mushrooms. Additional toppings include green and jalapeno peppers, relish, raw onions, steak sauce, and several others. The best part is that no matter the amount or type of toppings they are completely free.
The soda fountain fails to meet the old-school style of this fast food chain, but for a good reason. The fountain seems to be the soda dispenser of the future, allowing customers to choose dozens of flavors for each kind of soda. Some of the flavors are quite “exotic,” such as lime and raspberry.
My recommendation for an excellent meal is the “Little Hamburger”, which is surprisingly filling once all the toppings are added on, done “All the Way” with the extra topping of choice, a small soda, and the delicious Cajun fries, which have a fiery seasoning on top.
Location: 80 Dekalb Ave., Brooklyn, New York 11217
Opening during the 2011-2012 academic year, SmashBurger was an instant success as it garnered praise from many Technites. Located near the DeKalb Avenue station, it is easily accessible.
“I like it because it is close to the train and I can stop by really quickly for some food,” said Christie Lai ’13.
SmashBurger’s location is not the sole reason for its success. Both the food and the modern theme of the restaurant, displayed by the pop music playing from the speakers, create a hip dining experience.
The freshly made “Classic” burger costs $4.99. Interesting toppings can be added on for a dollar extra each, and include avocado, fried egg, chili, bacon, and more. The locally inspired burgers have specifically selected sets of toppings that add fantastic taste and texture to the burgers. The “Brooklyn” burger is a favorite; sporting toppings that include grilled pastrami, Swiss cheese, pickles, onions, and mustard, all on a freshly baked pretzel bun.
If you are not into eating burgers, the additional dining options available are unfortunately just good, but not great. The shakes that SmashBurger offer are made of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and are refreshing. The chicken options include several interesting sandwiches such as the classic “Club” or the “Spicy Baja.”
The one blunder that SmashBurger has is a lack of compelling sides. The fries seem to be taken directly from the nearby McDonalds in terms of flavor and cut. The so-called “SmashFries” try to add ingenuity to the side menu, but fail to satisfy due to the greasiness of the fries after a toss in olive oil with garlic and rosemary.
Nonetheless, SmashBurger is an excellent burger dining option near Tech that offers a modern style and menu items. Commuters from the DeKalb Avenue station should definitely try SmashBurger.
Location: 67 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11217
The name of this burger joint is similar to the address. The restaurant is local to Fort Greene, and a second location has been opened in Park Slope. Upon entering the establishment, one will notice the huge graffiti-styled mural reading “Fort Greene” on the right-hand wall. This burger joint truly embodies local development and pride.
The food at 67 is definitely made with artisanal detail. Although most of the options here cost more than the somewhat less formal local counterparts, the food is still modestly priced and worth every penny.
67 Burger prides itself on what it can make out of the simple idea of a burger. With burgers that are topped with fresh avocado slices, white wine sautéed onions, or basil pesto, the options here are very elaborate. However, classic favorites such as bacon and cheese are also on the menu. The burgers can be made of beef, chicken, turkey, veggies, or tofu; all naturally and freshly produced
The seasoned curly fries and sweet-potato fires are crowd favorites because of their “secret seasoning.” Many of the salad options offer intriguing alternatives to anybody who doesn’t wish to try the burgers. The milkshake options add an exciting choice for any customer. The Mint-Oreo milkshake is a favorite.
A regular customer, Ramy Ibrahim ’13 said, “I like 67 Burger the most because the waiters are nice and quick. Burger is the only local burger joint that cooks a burger the way you want it. The best thing on the menu has to be the curly fries.”
67 Burger offers a more restaurant-oriented dining experience with many interesting items on the menu. The many options are enough to satisfy a diverse group of customers, so everybody can a have a wonderful meal.
Each of these burger joints offers its advantages and miscues, so it is up to the many hungry students to decide on which is their favorite. Will you go with classic-themed Five Guys Burgers and Fries, stylish SmashBurger, or hip 67 Burger?