Pop Burger Food Porn May Appear Larger Than It Actually Is

You’ve seen the plywood, the facade, the interior, and the crowd on opening day.  But what about the food?  I have never been to the Chelsea Pop Burger, so this is a new phenomenon for me.  I don’t think ‘Midtown Lunch will never be the same’, but it certainly is an exciting addition.  Why?  Because I love sliders.  If for no other reason than they are fun- and in the end, lunch for me is about one hour of fun in an otherwise busy day at work.

On the other hand, I do see the possible complaints that could arise from the slider situation.  (“Fat man want big burger!”)  Anytime you are asking me to pay more money, for less food, you’ve got to step it up.  Some people do it well (Oms/b), some people- not so much (Yushi).  Pop Burger finds itself somewhere in the middle.

On to the food porn!!!

Cute right?

Small amounts of food are very difficult to photograph.

And here they look postively gigantic.  Each burger is about 2 to 2 1/2 inches across (after it’s cooked), and you get two for $5.  Not bad (and fun!).  They come with lettuce, tomato, cheese and pop burger sauce (some sort of ketchup/mayo concoction).  One of the two was well done (and really dry):

But another one came perfectly cooked, and saved the day!  The lesson in this is you don’t really know what you’re going to get.  All in all they were very tasty, and if the interior is left medium rare, the charred exterior provides a nice contrast (if not, it’s just way to dry and crunchy).  The potato roll buns are a unique (and pillowy) touch.

At a quarter of a pound of meat (pre-cooked), two quality sliders for $5 is not a terrible deal.  The side dishes, on the other hand, I had an issue with.  $3.75 gets you french fries or onion rings (standard Midtown prices, I’m sorry to say), but for the purposes of trying as many things as I could, I requested 1/2 and 1/2, which they kindly obliged… for $5.

Now, let’s recap.  French fries are $3.75.  Onion Rings are $3.75.  1/2 French Fries, 1/2 Onion Rings are $5.  I’m no mathologist, but that doesn’t seem right.  Alright, maybe you get more (although it’s not called 2/3 & 2/3)…

Um.  Doesn’t look like it.  Unlike the burgers, which look larger in the photos- the amount of fries and onion rings I got for $5 looks just as pathetic in the photo as they did in real life.  If they were the best fries and onion rings I’ve ever had, it may have been forgivable- but the rings tasted like your run of the mill, frozen out of a bag onion rings, and while the fries were better, I prefer the fresh cut potatoes from Five Guys, or the shoestring fries from Burger Joint or Goodburger to the crunchy, tastes like they been battered style of fries served at Pop Burger.

In the end, the overpriced sides didn’t ruin the overall fun of the sliders at Pop Burger- a welcome addition to the neighborhood.  And while it would be easy to call the number of burger places in Midtown ridiculous, what’s more ridiculous is the lines at every one of them during lunch.  Just think, the more places they open up- the shorter the line will be at your favorite.  (For me, that’s still Five Guys.) 

As for Pop Burger, I think I will keep it firmly in the snack category.  That, or the place I will go after work if I want to eat sliders, while surrounded by Midtown douchebags. (I kid rich Midtown bankers, I kid!)

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • A quality slider comes to Midtown (no offense to the White Castle on 8th Ave. in the 30s)
  • The burgers get a nice char on the outside
  • The mini potato rolls are tasty, and a nice change in pace from the other burger places in Midtown
  • I love the crunchy on the outside style of fries that taste like they’ve been battered

THE - (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • With high turnover, and thick for slider patties- there is a chance you will not get your burger the way you want it.
  • The charred outside makes for a well done burger (some of the time)
  • The onion rings are nothing special (for $3.75 you expect something that tastes a little different than BK).
  • I like shoestring fries, so I’d be better off at one of the other burger places in Midtown.

Pop Burger, 14 E. 58th St. (btw. Mad+5th), 212-991-6644

11 Comments

  • I always found Pop in Chelsea to be (yet another) substandard burger. Too easy to overcook due to their size and quite frankly the food is average at best. I doubt the midtown version will be better…

  • Pop in chelsea was only good cause you could come rolling out of APT late night style and grab some grub to ease the coming hangover. You just didn’t care if it was a great burger, it was good enough. Hardly worth the wait, though.

  • O’rings look the frozen type too.

    Even in London i’d complain about the amount, and we never complain.

    Less is more my Arse.

  • Rudy – The Brits had no problem booing the Star Spangled Banner during the Mayweather-Hatton fight.

    Hatton has the heart of a lion, Floyd is just too tough.

  • And George Washington was a terrorist, your point being?

  • Also the pic of the outside facade,looks like a huge bloody slot machine.

  • I went there after work today — the second floor lounge. For now, it’s better than the original — cleaner and friendlier. The bartender knew her trade well, and the sliders were terrific. Let’s just hope it remains clean and friendly. I’m surprised that people don’t get food poisoning at the original location — it’s so grimy there.

  • The first pics look like little burger boobs

  • I DID get food poisoning there and so did most of the 30 or so people I was with! The only people who didn’t get sick were the two vegetarians! At the time, I thought the place was OK, but I wouldn’t go there again. Horribly sick. Filled out DOH forms, the whole bit!

  • it’s $6 for the 2 sliders now. not worth it!

  • i love this joint i’ve been to both and never had any complaints. the chelsea one is a bit more my scene.

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