Burgers Make Great Stories

Mmmmmm…burger. What is about burgers that turns the ordinary grown man into a child or crackhead? Of course, its not just guys who lust over the perfect patty. Apologies to my vegetarian friends for even engaging in this discourse (I know, YUCK…) Still, I think there’s something deeply archetypal about burgers. It must be a caveman instinct.

How exactly you choose to order says so much about you: rare (crazy), medium-well (tax accountant), american (patriotic), blue (sophisticated), bacon (just plain, smart). Decisions, decisions, decisions. Then there’s the eternal quest for the perfect burger.

Ask any group of friends, especially men, and everyone holds strong opinions about their favorite “royale with cheese”. Thankfully, NYC has experienced what some call a burger renaissance of late, with gourmet burgers popping up all over – thanks to the custom blended Lafrieda meats which even gave rise to the famed $26 burger at the Minetta Tavern. What we have here is what we just might call the rise of Burger Culture.

Just consider one industrious group of guys, who started up the Burger of the Month Club, BOTM for short ;-). Seven dudes, in search of the best burger in New York City. They started back in 2005, and every month since, have logged some serious miles on their gastronomical adventures. After every meal, they rate the burger – using a complex scientific formula, and then track the results on their makeshift spreadsheet. They confess, its as much about getting together with friends for a guysnightout as it is about the burgers, but really, who are they kidding…

A few months back, the news broke about the Burger of the Month Club, and these guys quickly turned instant-celeb. Profiles on the Today Show, the New York Times, etc…you get the picture. Everybody wanted to join the club…they even received an offer to buy the movie rights to their story. They did what any of us do in today’s internet culture – they set up a website, share their rankings openly, invite users to nominate the next destination, and offer a DIY guide to starting your own BOTM club in your hometown. It’s just a great example of what happens when you follow and share your bliss, there’s always a story there. Some just taste better than others.

Of course, I’ve got my preferences too. Medium, no cheese, bacon, onion, pickle, on a toasted bun. When it comes to burger chains, its all about In-and-Out or Five Guys – depending on the coast. For local nirvana, visit Back Forty in the east village for a really special farmstead variety (ranked #13 on the BOTM list).

So what’s your favorite burger? Go ahead, I’m sure there’s a story there…

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