Pop’s Dollar Food Shop is Not Terrible (And Isn’t That as Good an Endorsement As They Could Expect?)
I love a good deal as much as anyone else, but it’s been years since I’ve found any great pleasure surfing the dollar menu anywhere. That said, when I saw the sign for $1 burgers and dogs at Pop’s in last week’s Links, I knew I’d have to investigate. Lunchtime Monday afternoon, I went over to 7th Avenue to check it out.
The low budget food court that Pop’s sits in looks like it was transported from two levels downstairs in Penn Station. In the front of the shop you’ve got pizza that looks about as good as the S’barro’s a couple doors down and the (in)famous Gyro II, which also serves beer, buffalo wings and an odd mishmash of other items.
The big bargain at Pop’s is of course that hot dogs, burgers and fries, which all cost $1 each. If you’re willing to spend a couple cents more, you can get chili on the dogs and cheese and/or bacon on the burger.
The burgers and fries were already packaged up and waiting in the ‘pick up’ area when I got there. There’s no ‘made to order’ nonsense here.
Further back, the hot dogs sit on the griddle like at a papaya stand in various degrees of done-ness. The counter man minds them as he flips burger patties and passes them off to get topped and packed up.
I ordered a burger ($1), a bacon cheeseburger($1.75), a hot dog($1), and fries($1)… you know, to be thorough. I also got a Snapple, which, at $2.25 was the most expensive part of the meal.
For $1 it shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that the burgers are small. The word slider has been tossed around by some, but that’s not quite right. Compared to the ultimate sliders, White Castle, the bread is too big and not nearly sodden enough in the burger grease to be considered a slider.
The meat inside, on the other hand, was probably about the right size for a slider and the little dollop of ketchup and slice of pickle aren’t quite enough to stop the whole thing from being a little dry.
The bacon cheeseburger was definitely an improvement on these counts. The toppings definitely added some moisture to everything and that single slice of bacon had enough smoke in it to up the game a little. The fries on the other hand were sad and dry and I made the mistake of not dousing them with ketchup when I was down at the counter. Not so great.
The hot dog was good though: a Sabrett’s, well done, with kraut and mustard and a bit of relish. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way for it (after all, there are other $1 hot dogs floating around), but it’s the closest thing to a papaya stand near Penn Station these days, so that’s convenient.
Obviously there is nothing about Pop’s that is going to make you think “Now this is my new favorite place!” But is that really the point? If you are looking for something great, and only have a few dollar bills in your pocket, well, good luck to you! If you’re outside Penn Station, and looking for something super cheap, you could do a lot worse than this.
Pop’s Dollar Food Shop, 427 7th Ave (btw. 33+34th)