BurgerFi | 1571 2nd Ave. (bet. 82 & 81st Sts.) | burgerfi.com | | | |

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THE COMPARISONS, OF COURSE, ARE unavoidable. The modern, color-blocked design and the architectural and graphic fonts. The silver serving trays and electronic buzzers. The additional menu offerings of hot dogs, custards, and shakes. And "house" sauce to top the by default double-pattied signature burger. They all immediately invite comparison to Shake Shack (at the very least), and to other modern, popular burger chains such as 5 Guys, and even the very new and very local Bareburger.

But at some point, with the never-ending proliferation of burger joints, chains, and ideologies, there can be no truly objective criticism of the most-loved and ever-ubiquitous burger. Every burger in this city has its praisers and detractors, these burgers enjoying both grand raves and ravenous pans. And as I decided to sample the wares at the Yorkville-new BurgerFi, the only objectivity I expected to come away with would be only to myself.

Hard to maintain that objectivity, though, when even the awning sports the same metal-stroked block sans serif all-cap type as Shack Shack's.


Only once inside does one see any real attempt by BurgerFi to differentiate itself from the Shack, by promoting more socially conscious food service, from the "humanely-raised", vegetarian-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, to the energy-saving fans, to the recycled wood of the communal tables. Most customers would only know about this when they read the interior's wallpaper while waiting for their order to be prepared and served.

BurgerFi wall/motto

Once your little plastic buzzer lights up, chimes, and vibrates, letting you know that your order is ready (sound familiar?), all of that "righteousness" dissipates as your appetite takes over looking at the attractive food on your wax paper-lined silver tray. For me, this first visit, it consisted of a BurgerFi® Cheeseburger (double natural Angus burger, double American cheese, lettuce, tomato, BurgerFi sauce), a New York Style Dog (all-natural dog topped with deli mustard and [sauer]kraut), and a cold frosty beverage called a Purple Cow (an ice cream float of vanilla ice cream and grape soda).

BurgerFi NYC Style Hot Dog & Cheeseburger

BurgerFi Cheeseburger

BurgerFi Cheeseburger

BurgerFi Purple Cow

BurgerFi Platter

The immediate verdict on the burger? Very good. With properly juicy, crumbly ground beef, as well as with nicely salted, caramelized edges, the burger was a delight to eat. Not boasting the now overly-praised pedigree of a Pat LaFrieda meat blend, the meat still boasted good flavor, at maintained its taste integrity while complimented by crisp lettuce, slightly sharp and creamy American cheese, and a barely noticeable amount of their BurgerFi sauce (another iteration of the mayo/mustard/ketchup variety). As you can see, I added more, and it is serviceable as it contains some ingredient with a vinegar source for that welcome acidity.

Selling something as "New York Style" in New York is a bold move. (The balance of the other 30+ locations are primarily in the Northeast, Florida, and Texas.) But the split, grilled dog had great snap of skin and firm chew, with a fine kraut and a surprisingly heady mustard. As a native New Yorker, I'll give them the okay to use the name.

The Purple Cow—just a grape version of an "Orangesicle" float—was as expected, sweet, sugary, fizzy, creamy, thick on top, liquid on the bottom. It is the same as you would have it anywhere else in this country.

Burgers, however, don't have that luxury. They are prone to immediate comparison as everyone has always had their favorite(s)—mine listed here. But that's what they always are, favorites—not bests—which implies subjectivity. BurgerFi is only a few weeks new, and has already received (mostly) 4 and star reviews on Yelp, along with a telling amount of 1 and 2 stars reviews, and none of the reviewers should be regarded as "wrong". Opinions can't be wrong; uniformed, yes, but not wrong.

So I am of the opinion that I enjoyed the burger and hot dog from BurgerFi so much that I will recommend that you try it out for yourself and form your own opinion.

And if you're wondering if I think BurgerFi is better or worse than it's theoretical big brother, Shake Shack, I honestly couldn't tell you. It's been so long since I had a Shack Shake burger I can hardly remember it. I do remember enjoying it as well, but quickly decided that it was not so good that it was worth waiting on long lines for it, especially when there are so many other great burgers in the city of great burgers.

To me, waiting on long line for a Shake Shack double cheeseburger when I could be actually eating a BurgerFi double cheeseburger (especially since BurgerFi is a block closer), now that would be wrong!

Bun Apple Tea!


Burgerfi on Urbanspoon

BurgerFi | 1571 2nd Ave. (bet. 82 & 81st Sts.) | burgerfi.com | | | |