Original City Burger Better Than Black Label? Combo Comes Down By $1


Earlier this week I had an email exchange about the new changes at City Burger(on 39th just East of B’way) with Josh “Mr. Cutlets” Ozersky. Not only is he editor of The Feedbag, but he is also the self appointed president of the Pat LaFrieda fan club:

Josh: “You better get on down to City Burger… Went there with a few other people the other day. It is SICK! Really, really good now.”

Me: “I don’t know.  [The black label burger] is a little pricey for my cheap-ass blood… but yeah, I’ll probably break down and try it this week.  Have the regular burgers changed at all?”

Josh: “Listen to this! I like the regular burgers BETTER than the black label. They’re top-three burgers in town right now.  They got rid of the grills and brought in griddles…started warming the buns… oh man I wish I had one now.”

That is a bold statement… top 3 burgers in the city?!?!  (Not even just Midtown?) The truth has been narrowed down to 2 possibilities.  1)  City Burger has significantly improved their burger.  Or 2) The Abitino Brothers (who own City Burger) have some serious dirt on our good friend Mr. Cutlets.

Only one way to find out which is true…

Regular City Burger w/ the Works

I admit I am no burger expert, but the regular City Burger has definitely improved with the change from the grille to the griddle. What used to be a hard hockey puck is now greasier, way juicier, and as a result much more flavorful. And most importantly, it was cooked perfectly (a big issue when they first opened.)


They’ve also heard the cries of the Midtown Lunch mob, and reduced the price of a burger/fries/soda combo from $10.55 to $9.55. It’s still a little overpriced for my taste, especially because I think the burger is now a little thinner, but I still applaud their effort. I also will admit that it is comparably priced to Good Burger and the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien… but that doesn’t make me any happier to pay $10 for a burger, fries, and a soda.

What about the new Black Label Burger, you ask? It’s completely against everything I believe in to pay $11 for a take out burger for lunch, but after Danny’s description last week, and some of the other posts I had read, I couldn’t help myself. I think it was the term “funky” that piqued my curiosity the most…

It doesn’t really look any different…

And funky it was… not in a weird way, but in that you-know-you-are-definitely-eating-some-serious-beef kind of way. To put it another way, it has a very pleasing, very strong beef flavor that makes your mouth water as you eat it. Really, really enjoyable. Worth the $11+ for lunch? Fuck no. (What can I say? I’m a cheap ass through and through.) It also doesn’t help that it is a small burger that doesn’t fill you up, and after spending all that money, you still have to pay extra for cheese. That being said, I agree with Danny and the commenters who said it is worth trying once.

And with the regular City Burger vastly improved, and half the price, it’s tough to disagree with Cutlets. Top 3 burgers in the city? That may be going to too far… but certainly a worthy (albeit slightly overpriced) Midtown Lunch.

City Burger, 1410 Broadway (on 39th Street just East of B’way), 212 997-7770


  • Was this written by an attractive single woman who wants you to say hello if you see her eating alone? I think for equality sake, you should profile the city’s best veggie burger spot, ha ha..

  • My god, Zach, I can’t believe you are singing the praises of eating burgers for lunch! You self-centered b*st*rd!!! Don’t you realize that there are some of us out here who have pet cows and simply don’t want to see them slaughtered? Did you ever consider that, or are you too self-involved to even considered what is important to other people out here???? it’s not like we really *choose* to have pet cows! Someday even you might wind up owning a pet cow, even if you think you’re young and immune to such things now.

  • The regular burger look freakin’ TINY in your innards shot. Quick question: Did you order the burgers medium well? I’m probably going to cough up the scratch and check this place out. I’ll just be sure to get reasonably filled up on a decent-sized lunch beforehand.

  • lol @ moze


    moze, are you sure you don’t work for chik-fil-a and trying to tell us to “eat more chicken” while dressed up as a cow?

  • @JustNancy – Naw… they were cooked “Medium” which is the default if you don’t ask for anything specific. I would have asked for Medium Rare but I was with a friend and we were sharing…

  • This calls for a burger wars most-overhyped burger of 2008 edition: the Pat LaFrieda City Burger vs. the Ryan Skeen Irving Mill Burger

  • chikin! eat more chikin!!! stop the senseless slaughter, Zach!

  • I don’t know about any of these burger centric places that are not named mcdonalds, wendy’s or BK. My favorite burger that I’ve had in the City is from Houston’s. Yes, bring down the fire and brimstone upon me! I am a heathen. I am not a huge fan of shake shack (due to the ridiculous line), nor Corner Bistro, nor Pop Burger, Zen Burger, or anything else with Burger in the name. But dammnit, Houston’s makes a damn good burger. I would say the best I’ve had since my original burger place, Diane’s, up around Lincoln Center, closed about 10 or 12 yrs. ago. Diane’s had the best burger in the City, as adorned by my esteemed 72 yr old father, who was born and raised in Brooklyn.

  • The best burger and fries are in brooklyn, at Bonnies. Zach, grab the stroller and the Mrs and come visit me for lunch.

  • agreed on houston’s…definitely best chain burger in the city.

  • Bonnies is AMAZING

  • And it’s cheap!

  • whoa, zach had to share a burger. i feel funky.

  • Was it a Kiss & make-up lunch with Matt?

  • What’s with all the pickles on that regular burger? They’re three high fer chrissake…

    A dangerous step towards less meat and more veg…beat back that Zen Burger craving Zach, embrace 20% fat content beef

  • @wayne – that’s what you get when you order “the works”

  • @ Wined and Dined===Great minds think alike!

  • Yo, Mamacita, I thought you were cool. But now…..Bonnie’s? Freakin’ Bonnie’s? It’s the only place in my (our) nabe I will refuse to eat. And don’t even mention that chipotle mayo nonsense. It’s Miracle Whip with chipotle powder. It won’t make a dry, over spiced burger taste good, my fine and fellow Midtown luncher. Let’s get that happy hour $10 buck Wagyu beef burger together at Melt sometime. It’s better than decent. It’s my duty to get you off Bonnie’s. Oy.

  • Done the burger at melt about 5 times now, and while it’s good… I still love my Bonnies. And dry?? are you kidding? There a huge puddle of greasy juice left on my plate every time. I usually order medium or med. rare. Do you do yours well? Oh, the char.. oh the wonderfull char… yet so juicy…..and the fries..

    Ok, I’m in, lets get some burgers nancy.

  • hmmmmm Girlie Burger Face off……if it involves Nutella…can i watch?

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