Located within the lobby of Parker New York (formerly known as Le Parker Meridien) in a windowless room about the size of a New York City studio apartment, burger joint is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall, but only in the most positive sense. From outside burger joint, the only indication of its existence is a small neon burger sign - and, of course, the crowds of people waiting their turn for what has been voted "best burger in New York. " Inside, the walls are wood-paneled with iconic movie posters hanging on them. A back white brick wall has the signatures of celebrities who have eaten at the restaurant - everyone from hip hop artist Talib Kweli to Heidi Klum. The other walls - and even some of the tabletops - are also covered in writing, though these signatures are less recognizable. It is not actually encouraged to write on the walls; rather it was regular customers who noticed the celebrities' signatures and decided to carry on the tradition themselves. The menu is no-frills and written on a chalkboard: burgers, fries, sodas, milkshakes, Sam Adams, a brownie and that's about it. Having opened in 2002, burger joint has gained a "cult following" due to its unlikely location. According to the hotel's marketing person, Marisa, who kindly gave us a tour, she explained that people enjoy the juxtaposition of Le Parker's sleek elegance and burger joint's underground feel. Though its customer base was once mostly locals in the know, today the restaurant is overwhelmingly populated by tourists, including plenty of international visitors. Burgers are part of the American experience, and a burger joint burger has evidently become part of the New York City experience. When I commented to Marisa that I could not believe how long the line was at 3: 30 in the afternoon, she took one glance at the hectic scene before immediately pronouncing, "This is quiet for us. " Indeed, the employees often find themselves churning out up to "1000 burgers per day. "After so many years with only the one location, burger joint has recently begun to expand, opening a (much larger) restaurant on 8th Street along with outposts in far-flung locales like Seoul and Dubai. Marisa told us that there are plans to expand further, but the original location will always have a special place in the city's heart - all 600 square feet of it.
The delectable assortment of French pastries was only the beginning of the excitement for me when I first visited Eclair Bakery. Getting to observe and speak with owner Stephane Pourrez, as he was preparing pastries, macarons, croissants and, of course, a variety of eclairs made the experience very special. An alumnus of Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris, Pourrez worked in New York for a year as a pastry chef before he fulfilled his "childhood dream" of opening his own bakery. No matter what time I chose to pop in, I always found others sipping on their cafe au lait, and mingling with fellow French natives.
At Coffee Project NY, coffee-themed cocktails and high-quality java brewed with a mixologist’s eye are the stars of the menu. The concept was created by co-owners and founders Chi Sum Ngai and Kaleena Teoh in 2015, and has since expanded to having several other locations across the five boroughs. “We are very excited to be part of Hell’s Kitchen! ” Ngai said, adding, “In the opening of this new location we hope to create a community gathering space while sharing our passion for coffee with the neighborhood. ” “I’m a bit of a coffee snob and [Coffee Project] delivers on very good quality coffee, ” shared Paul David, a Hell’s Kitchen local. “I also really like the environment — the seating isn’t too crowded and it’s really peaceful. ”One of the shop’s innovative specialty beverages is its deconstructed late, which manager Jed Baxter said evokes a multi-sensory experience. In addition to deconstructed lates, Coffee Project offers classic lattes (complete with intricate latte art), classic pour-over brews, and teas. The cocktail menu includes drinks such as spiked Irish Coffee made with Teeling Whiskey and the brand’s own Teeling-blend beans. This story was adapted from the W42ST article, "Brew-tiful Transformation: Coffee Project Opens at Ikebana Zen with Day-to-Night Caffeinated Creations! ”