After a 45 minute workout I figured I deserved some post exercise sustenance. As a burger lover there was going to be no frou-frou wheat-grass protein infused concoction, I was going in for the pure beef pleasure of a burger. Now my laziness this day did not permit a schlep over great distances, so I decided I’d give POP Burger a shot. This retro-pop art inspired burger lounge was the creation of famed restaurateur Roy Liebenthal. His claim to fame was the unforgettable celeb lavish spots such as Cafe Tabac, Lemon and POP restaurant which at the time I personally frequented much to my own decadent detriment. Roy’s vision in POP Burger was to create a stylish yet functional burger spot for urban fashionista’s and corporate big shots, whilst fusing the two in a landmark location just a stone’s throw from such other 5th Avenue commercial tenants as Bergdorf Goodman, Apple and FAO Schwartz.
The decor is modern and sparse, keeping up with the Andy Warhol inspired movement created in the early 60’s with a controversial replica of his famous Campbell’s Soup Cans plastered over the rear wall, of which, Roy and team were caught in a fierce legal battle to remove. I approached the counter and ordered the signature POP Burgers, which were miniature style burgers a little bigger than a slider, with cheddar cheese, thinly slice lettuce and ripe tomato. I also ordered the onion rings to partner my burger friends, enticed by the look of them frying in the hot oil right behind the cash register. I sat in rather uncomfortable stools and proceeded to embark on yet another taste journey in my pleasurable and never-ending quest. I grabbed the little guy with conviction and was sure by the look of it that the taste was going to be Poppin! However I found the POP burger lacking in flavor and quite dry, also the flavor was masked by a mass of bread the dominated the overall taste.
As I continued hoping for a change in consistency it never came even throughout its twin counterpart the burger was just in a word lack luster and not warranted of the status that POP Burger has achieved, having said all that I realize every burger place has its day and this just may have been theirs. On the contrary if you like onion rings these little fried wonders were very tasty and were the saving grace in my afternoon POP Burger experience. For the price of the burgers at 7.50 they certainly won’t hurt your wallet, the vanilla shakes were another item on the menu that I tried after my burger and onion rings they were the perfect dessert, a rich and creamy shake delicious to the last slurp. The restaurant also offers a late night lounge with pool table and full bar if you feel like making an event of your burger experience, the addition of some drinks and the promise of a good game of pool and conversation with your friends makes this a versatile and entertaining pastime while you take a break from giving the credit cards are beating on 5th Avenue.
POP Burger has another location in the meatpacking district, which is much perhaps better than their midtown location; I know that burger connoisseurs have raved about its fun late night after club burger gorge, whilst resting tired feet from trouncing around the Meatpacking District club scene. But then again maybe those reviews were just masked by too much partying and too much of “Pass the Dutchie” and “Manic Monday” which seemed to be playing in the background at 58th Street, quite possibly the same DJ frequents the downtown location? I dare you to find out !!