Five Napkin Burger
Corner Bistro, the original PJ Clarke’s, JG Melon – what do these famous NYC burger joints have in common? From the burgers to the backdrop, they all have that old-timey way about them; no fuss no muss saloons that thrive on keeping things simple. This growing burger chain is just the opposite, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing; the overall vibe remains casual, there’s just more to Five Napkin’s signature burger than onions and a pickle.
With its bistro-like setting, use of white linen (not paper) napkins and nod from Wine Spectator Magazine, it’s clear that Five Napkin is no divey burger joint. Originated almost 10 years ago at Nice Matin, the indoor/outdoor French restaurant on 79th and Amsterdam, the burger was (and still is) such a hot-ticket item on the menu that the owners decided to open a new venture in Hell’s Kitchen and make it a franchise player. Now, there are four locations in New York (Hell’s Kitchen, UWS, Union Square & Astoria), in addition to Boston, Miami and Hot-lanta. And at this particular outpost, business always seems to be booming.
Is the secret to the famous Five Napkin Burger in the sauce? In between the buns are 10 ounces of beef slathered with Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions and a rosemary aioli. Also of note is the veggie burger, which was featured on a local talk show as one of the best in NY. But the menu stretches far beyond burgers; there’s sushi, Matzo Ball soup, even fish tacos. Fare warning? There’s a reason for the name; one napkin just won’t cut it.
Expect to find locals of all ages, literally; Five Napkin is frequented by young families with toddlers in tow, 20-something singles and UWS lifers. Basically anyone looking to grab a burger with all the frills, and wash it down with an imported lager, dry martini or a California Cab.
Happy hour runs from 10pm to close every night of the week; among their specials include sliders, 50-cent wings and discounted draft beers, Cosmos and wines by the glass. While crowded with Upper West Siders on a daily basis, reservations to sit inside or out aren’t needed; if anything, just put your name in with the hostess and watch the game at the bar while you wait.
Starters & sushi average around $8-15; Salads & entrees from about $14-20; Burgers from $12-16.
April 13, 2012