You Get What You Pay For At Manhattan Gourmet
Way back in 2009, Zach shared with ML readers what he believed to be the worst burger he had had in Midtown, a $6.25 bacon-cheeseburger from some generic deli. In that post, he says, “Part of me thinks that there must be a decent one of these cheap deli burgers in Midtown, but there’s another part of me that thinks you get what you pay for.” For years now, I’ve been conflicted about the exact same thing – I really want to discover some amazing $5 burger from some unexpectedly terrific place, but the thought of making the rounds from one generic deli to the next, trying mediocre burger after mediocre burger, is absolutely daunting. So, you may be asking… what prompted my visit to Manhattan Gourmet?
Located on the corner of 6th Ave. and 56th street, this place looks just like any other generic midtown deli, except for a couple of things. First, they don’t use stock photos in their window or on their menu. The pictures of sandwiches and burgers and whatever else that they have hanging up look like actual pictures of real food made onsite. Regardless of how things may taste, it’s nice to see that they’re at least trying distinguish themselves from the hordes of generic competitors. They also happen to have the cheapest burger special I’ve ever come across…
Holy moley! Just five bucks for a burger, fries, AND a can of soda? If there was ever a time and place to try a generic deli burger, well, this was it. Once inside, I saw that they have a whole bunch of summer specials, daily sandwich specials, a relatively cheap by-the-pound buffet, an udon and soba station, and plenty of other options that seem appealing at a glance. Overall, I’d say that Manhattan Gourmet has more options and cheaper prices than your average midtown deli. How is the actual food, though?
As you may have predicted, the burger kind of sucked. Given the extremely low price, it was kind of silly to expect anything else, but I was being unfortunately optimistic at the time. The patty was mostly flavorless, possibly overcooked, and had a bit of a rubbery texture. The cheese was slapped on last minute and was not at all melted. The fries were shaped liked McDonald’s fries, but were super plain tasting. At least the Dr. Pepper was pretty good.
The good thing about cheeseburgers is that they can only suck so much. No matter how bad, they still usually taste like a cheeseburger. I can probably count on one hand the number of times in my life a burger has been so bad that I found it inedible. So sure, Manhattan Gourmet isn’t very good, but come on – five bucks for a BIG burger, fries, and a can of soda. Five. Bucks. When you find a price that unbeatable, it almost doesn’t matter what it tastes like.
Would I recommend Manhattan Gourmet? Absolutely not. But if your only goal is to buy the biggest cheeseburger you can for as little money as possible, you’ll find plenty to enjoy about Manhattan Gourmet. It’s obviously not the best cheeseburger ever, but hey, I still ate the whole thing.
Manhattan Gourmet, 1377 Avenue of the Americas (btw. 55+56th). 212-246-4410