If you think that Shake Shack is the best thing since sliced bread, then you need to head over to the ritzy, upscale midtown hotel, Le Parker Meridien, at 119 W. 56th Street, walk inside, pass the front desk, and then take a sharp left into the small, hidden, cash-only, divey heaven that is Burger Joint, for some of the best fast food-style shoestring fries, milkshakes, and, you guessed it, hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
The walls are covered with music and movie posters, as well as articles about Burger Joint (apparently Johnny Depp has dined there, among others), and the colorful handwritten sign at the counter illustrates the simple steps for ordering a burger: tell the cashier whether you want a hamburger or cheeseburger (vegetarians can even order grilled cheese, er, "cheeseburger hold the burger"), how you want it cooked (rare, medium, etc.), and what fixins you want on it. Then give your name and wait for your opportunity to savor the deliciousness. The so-thick-you-nearly-need-a-spoon milkshakes certainly rival Shake Shack, and the Burger Joint's crispy thin fries hold more than a candle to Shake Shack's mushy crinkle fries. Although you don't get to smother your burger with secret Shack sauce, if you're a burger purist like me (I often like nothing more than some ketchup on my burger, maybe some onions too), then you'll appreciate the juicy meat patties at Burger Joint. My one wish was that they offered sesame seed buns and that you didn't have to order a medium if you want your burger cooked medium rare, a medium well if you want your burger cooked medium, etc.
Prices are also not horrible, although, like Shake Shack, Burger Joint is certainly not an inexpensive steal. A burger, fries and chocolate milkshake cost me a little more than $17.
A happy customer enjoys her burger: