Bread Factory Cafe Hops on LaFrieda Bandwagon
Burgers made from Pat LaFrieda beef are becoming more and more common in Midtown. It’s long been the calling card of Shake Shack, and recently other burger places like Bill’s Bar & Burger and Schnipper’s have used LaFrieda beef to try to separate themselves from the pack. With so many “burger places” using LaFrieda beef, it wasn’t a total shock when Zagat reported that Bread Factory Cafe (on 8th btw. 55+56th) was now advertising LaFrieda beef, even though Bread Factory is an all purpose, generic Midtown deli (minus the by-the-lb buffet), not a place that specializes in burgers. Clearly this situation warranted further investigation.
Bread Factory has a sign out front advertising their LaFrieda burgers. I was still a little skeptical, but inside an employee confirmed that they had started using LaFrieda meat about 3 weeks ago. He even went so far as to say that he had the receipts to prove it (I wasn’t pressing the matter with him, but I think he’d heard about a Zagat commenter challenging their claims). Regardless, I didn’t come here to talk, so I ordered the cheeseburger deluxe ($7.75 plus tax).
So far so good. I was impressed by how the burger and fries looked compared to diners, which might be a better comparison for Bread Factory than Midtown delis. The fries were hot and fresh. There is no salt on them so you can add as much or as little as you like.
As for the burger, I have no reason to doubt that it’s LaFrieda beef, but it’s also clearly not as flavorful as the Shake Shack blend. It’s still a pretty good burger though. The beef has a meatier, fattier flavor than you get at a lot of diners. The relatively thick patty was unseasoned and cooked all the way through but it was still plenty juicy. In fact, it was a bit more juicy than I’d have liked as the nicely toasted sesame seed bun was soaking up a lot of grease. The burger was grilled as opposed to cooked on a griddle as it had the tell-tale marks. If you prefer grilled burgers, then Bread Factory should be all the more appealing to you.
With so many different blends of LaFrieda ground beef, a place simply serving LaFrieda is no guarantee of a great burger. Bread Factory Cafe’s burger is satisfying and juicier and more flavorful than what I’d expect to get at most diners or delis. Over $8 for a cheeseburger and fries isn’t a great deal, but it’s sit down quality food that you don’t have to tip for. All in all, it’s probably cheaper than what you’d get at most Midtown locations serving similar food. It’s no destination burger like Shake Shack, but it’s a solid meal-sized burger and frankly you can do a whole lot worse.
The Bread Factory Cafe, 935 8th Ave. (btw. 55+56th), 212-586-2221