The Primeburger: A Throwback from 1965 Lives On
We left IAH in Houston on an early morning to LaGuardia Airport. A private car was waiting to pick us up and chauffeur us to the Waldorf-Astoria where we were staying for the next five days. Yeah, I was already in Heaven at that point. Certainly goes without saying. We checked in and waited on a girlfriend of her’s from Connecticut to meet us for some sight-seeing. Okay, okay sight-seeing … being a tourist, call it what you want.
We met up in the lobby area of the hotel and headed out toward The Met. It was almost four in the afternoon and we decided to find a place for a quick bite to eat. Now the journey has started!
Walking down West 51st Street between Madison Avenue and 5th Avenue, we came across a burger joint across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, call The Primeburger. Looks cool enough for us! Once we walked through the door, I swear we were teleported back to 1965 when they first opened. Never an upgrade in decor. That is what makes this place so charming. You can either sit at the infinity counter or one of the school-desk style individual booths with a flip tray. Uber-cool!
The staff wears crisp white jackets and black bow-ties. Yeah, I must be in the right place. The place was moderately busy but not crowded. We found a few stools at the counter and parked it. If you know me, when I walk into a diner or a cafe, I AM going to sit at the counter. If there is no room, I’ll wait. It’s part of the experience. Plus it is a great place to strike up a conversation and meet people. While living in California, I would take my two boys to a diner for breakfast. They thought I was friends with everyone! That is what makes diner’s and cafe’s so cool. Conversation!
We were handed a laminated menu with a simple design. No need to get fancy. Placed our orders and I for one, went for a bacon and swiss cheese burger with a side of curly fries. I am one who likes them with no veggies. I want to taste the meat, the crackle of the bacon without taste-bud interference of veggies. Save those for your salad.
The waiter brought out our food on simple white plates. All the condiments were within reach, but no worries I did not reach for any. I wanted no taste distractions!
What you see here is MY burger. Nothing supersized here. Four ounces of prime beef that is broiled to lock those juices in. Flavor in every bite. The bacon was crispy to perfection in my book. I like my bacon with a glistening of grease, not dry but crispy with a nice texture. I was not disappointed. The swiss cheese oozed over the entire burger and bottom half of the bun. For a moment, should I be overly-proper and eat it with a fork? Hell no! Pick it up and eat like a man, you fool! My inner Donald won no doubt. Now I love my buns toasted but not here. They are plump and soft so you can get a bite of the whole burger easily. I actually liked it that way here.
My fries, oh yes were crispy! Look at how golden brown they are. I’m not a big fan of curly fries as so many places can’t seem to fry them all they way, leaving them lifeless. In my book, double fry fries are the best. I love a good crunch and a golden brown color. They were so good I didn’t grab the ketchup or ask for ranch dressing. Yes I eat fries the California way…with ranch. So sue me.
I thought about getting a slice of pie as I love desserts! This time around I opted to wait for when dinner rolled around after our visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I recommend if you are in the area to stop in, grab a seat at the counter of The Primeburger. It’s more than the food or decor. It’s an experience to sit, look around and feel what it was like back in 1965. From the laminated wood grain walls, copper top ven-a-hood to the old-style school desk booths. Where a sharp dressed waiter in white greets you with a New York flair. As you look around though, you’ll think you are in a diner elsewhere and anywhere in America.
Remember, there was no such thing as a diet soda back in ’65, so when you order, ask for a real Coke. Take a sip and say hello to the person next to you. You never know who may be sharing counter space with. It could be the mayor of NYC or a tourist wearing black socks and Bermuda shorts from Wisconsin. That is the beauty of diner’s. Bringing people together.
…next is on the rooftop of The Met!
See you there!