For one thing, you're a lot sturdier than a shack (right).
We all know that combining burgers and the word "shack" brings drool to the corners of many a New Yorker's mouth, but that doesn't mean you should sling it around like that.
Small potatoes, I know; on to the food! Jimmy's serves mini burgers (beef, turkey, or veggie) on pillowy potato rolls. The mini burger, of which I was previously unaware, occupies the space on the burger spectrum between "slider" and "burger," hovering around the size of a slider but adorned like a full-sized burger. I'm making this up, but it's true.
My thoughts on the burgers themselves is that they're too big for the buns, and that if they were made smaller, they'd be too expensive at that price. Typically I am all about putting everything you can grab on a burger, but not on a mini. If you're going to be toppings mad, do it with a reasonable playing field. And I'm really sorry for eating Ed's grilled onion burger, both because he missed out and because I don't care that much for onions. They're OK if they're cooked, but not something I'd seek out most of the time. Out of two bleu cheesed mini burgers I ended up eating, neither one was worth ordering again. Why then, you ask, did I? I didn't! I ordered a regular burger with no cheese, and it came back bleu. Bleargh!
The staff is a mess and the seating was less than adequate. I just don't care for stools, I guess. At least give me a wider counter on which to eat. Perhaps Jimmy doesn't want you lingering in his shack. Fine with me, but those burgers don't overcook quickly, and you spend that time waiting in a space with a lot of other people. It would be nicer if you were able to sit down. Then again, it would be even nicer to get what you order! On our first visit we ended up with an extra order of fries but were short a burger. Take two had the right number of items, but not the right items. They're running at about 75 percent accuracy right now, which may be new-guy jitters or be a serious problem.
A more serious problem? Their take-out menu offers tater tots, but when I tried to order some, the woman at the counter told me "I don't know what that is." Lady, tater tots are magic! Jimmy's does offer both traditional and sweet potato fries, neither one made too much of an impression. When the fries are fresher, of course, they're better. When they're soggy, I'm sad. And don't get me started on the amount of paper bags we got for something we weren't carrying out. I'm pretty much at war with packaging right now, and BOO to Jimmy's on that front. Although it beats plastic or styrofoam hands down.
Can we please get back to the burgers? Jimmy's claims they serve "one tasty burger," but evidently it wasn't any of the ones I ordered. What I did order was occasionally overcooked, and would have been unbearable on a larger burger. The rolls are the saving grace, however. That and the fact that they have Dr Pepper on tap.
They have a lot to work on, but I'll bet they can shape up significantly. Then again, I didn't really love anything enough to warrant another visit. Then again, if they get the tater tots up and running, I might change my tune.
Jimmy's Burger Shack
Address: 258 West 31st Street, New York NY 10001 (at Eighth Ave.; map)
The Skinny: Mini burgers (not sliders) that have potential but so far have been too inconsistent and overcooked. Not to mention order mix-ups. Best to do take-out here, as there's limited seating.
Want Fries With That? Naw. Both the regular and sweet potato fries are hand-cut and fresh, which is good, but they're a bit soggy and not particularly mind-blowing.