Burger Joint has been packing them in at Le Parker Meridien since 2002, serving flame grilled burgers with the works – lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mustard, mayo, ketchup – to droves of hungry tourists and New Yorkers alike. While the building in which it is ensconced is a swank, luxury hotel, the Burger Joint is anything but. Hidden behind a curtain in the hotel lobby, a neon burger lights the way into the small, intimate room covered from floor to ceiling in graffiti, stickers, and rock and movie posters. Tables and chairs line the long wall, while booths flank the ramshackle structure that houses the kitchen area.
In the moments before opening the room seems quite serene, with the warm lighting and the kitchen staff quietly preparing quietly for the rush. But outside a line has already formed, and as soon as the door swings open and the stereo is flipped on the flood begins. Moments later burgers are sizzling on the grill as the first orders come in. The line grows in length outside, spilling in to the hotel lobby, and the tables and booths quickly fill up while the telephone rings incessantly with orders for pick up.