Manhattan : Lower East Side : Ludlow & Rivington
Before I get into Mikey’s Burger in the Lower East Side, a brief aside about my old friend 4Food. A while ago, a coworker and I decided to get some lunch. I asked him if he had been to 4Food, and as he had not (strange, since it’s literally across the street), we stopped in. I explained 4Food’s crazy gimmicks – the burger-building system, the “Buildboard” Chart, et. al. – and ordered one of my own creations (the “Salad Days”) while he discussed various options with the girl behind the register.
When we got our burgers he explained he told the girl he wanted to make “a Puerto Rican burger” only to have her tell her they already had one. I asked what it was called, because I myself had just created a burger called “El Puertorriqueño” a few days before. She had suggested El Puertorriqueño.
This was very funny to us both, that he had inadvertently ordered one of my own burgers (and given me some kick-back in the process). We went back to the office and told another coworker the story, and he was instantly intrigued about 4Food, especially when I told him I occasionally made enough money to get a free burger.
He immediately set to work creating a burger that would sell enough so that he would be getting “at least a free burger every week.” That burger, designed specifically not to taste the best or be the most interesting but merely to push the most units possible, was the “Midtown Cheddar Bacon,” a burger he gave the tagline “All business, all delicious.”
After a couple of weeks of build-up, the Midtown Cheddar Bacon quickly overcame the perennial Buildboard topper, the “Better Turkey Burger,” and has sat at the top of the list ever since. Not content with that, he then made another burger called “The Manchego Avocado,” which is currently number two on the list, and has been for some time.
In case you were wondering (in case there was any doubt), this coworker is in sales. Suffice it to say, he’s getting more free burgers than he can handle.
Anyway, my evil genius coworker aside, let’s talk about a different burger joint. This one is way down in the Lower East Side. It’s a small, old-school looking burger bar called Mikey’s. I was drawn to it both because of the retro look and its slightly oriental burgers, including the BLT Burger, which includes “Chinese bacon, kewpie mayo, lettuce and tomato.”
Sounds interesting, right? Unfortunately, “Chinese bacon” didn’t seem any different to me than regular old American bacon, and “Kewpie mayo,” while coming in a Japanese-looking bottle, tasted not dissimilar from Hellmann’s.
I can’t pretend I wasn’t disappointed, and though the burger was passable, as far as plain old American burgers go, it certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about. I also got fries, which were also fine, but also nothing amazing. Mikey’s biggest draw seems to be its retro look rather than the food itself. If that’s enough for you, have at it, although I think there’s enough better food to be had in the LES to really bother.