By Ava Stryker-Robbins
The hamburger is perhaps the epitome of American food. According to a recent study, the average American consumes 60 burgers per year, and one in five Americans say that burgers are among their top menu choices.
Mel’s Burger Bar’s signature patties provide a flavor that is not only enticing, but reminds one of good times spent with family and friends.
Mel’s has been open for 13 years as a craft beer and burger joint. Approximately three weeks ago, they introduced a new dish to the menu: the Prime Burger. While this burger has the fundamental aspects of any ordinary one, it is much higher quality because the patty is created with 100% New York strip steak. Owner Steven Kay says that a colleague once told him “80% of a dish is dependent upon the quality,” and the quality of the Prime B)urger is “top-notch.”
The burger was flat-out delicious. The meat was juicy and flavorful. Any standard condiments or toppings can be added to the burger free of cost.
Kay has been in the restaurant industry for all of his 30-year-long career. He attended hospitality school in upstate New York before working at a range of bars and restaurants. He opened Mel’s because a burger joint is what personally appealed to him. He explains that he is someone “who just likes a good, cold beer and watching the game and having a burger.” He says the only way to survive in the restaurant industry is to “love what you do, and love having people over and making them happy.” As he says, “the smartest thing to do is make something that you love.” Kay owns both Mel’s Burger Bar locations in the city (the other is on 2nd Avenue). In addition, he owns a six-month-old steakhouse in Greenwich Village. The Prime Burger was first introduced at the steakhouse, but was recently brought to Mel’s.
According to Mel’s website, the restaurant is named after Kay’s first chef’s grandfather, someone who loved the smaller moments in life. Mel’s was created in honor of that belief. It is for “everyone who appreciates the simpler moments in life.”
The Prime Burger can be served with one, two, or three patties with one costing $8.95, two $12.95, and three $16.95.
The Dish: Prime Burger
The Restaurant: Mel’s Burger Bar (2850 Broadway between 110th and 111th Streets)