NYC's Burger of the Month Club (BOTM)
"BOTM is like the Bizarro World version of AHT."
Yes, we've seen the story. Thanks to everyone who emailed us the link. Would have had it up on the site earlier in the day, but AHT editor Robyn Lee is out, leaving a skeleton crew to run this here burger boat.
"What story?" some of you are asking? The one in the New York Times today about the Burger of the Month Club (BOTM, for short).
Every month on a Monday, eight New York City guys have gotten together to rate a different burger. They've been doing it since the summer of 2005. And they have a site, burgerrankings.com, which is down as of today (May 6) due to all the traffic the Times is sending its way.
Folks wanna know what AHT thinks.
BOTM's Top 10
- Peter Luger: 178 Broadway (Driggs Avenue), Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-387-7400
- Donovan's Pub: 57-24 Roosevelt Avenue, Woodside, Queens, 718-429-9339
- City Hall: 131 Duane Street (Church Street), TriBeCa 212-227-7777
- Primehouse: 381 Park Avenue South (27th Street), 212-824-2600
- Bobby Van's Grill: 25 Broad Street (Exchange Place), Financial District, 212-344-8463
- Parker Meridien Burger Joint: 119 West 56th Street, Midtown, 212-245-5000
- Landmarc: 179 West Broadway (Leonard Street), TriBeCa, 212-343-3883
- Genesis Bar & Restaurant: 1708 Second Avenue (88th Street), Upper East Side, 212-348-5500
- Black Iron Burger Shop: 540 East Fifth Street (Avenue B), East Village, 212-677-6067
- Back Forty: 190 Avenue B (12th Street), East Village, 212-388-1990
It's pretty frakkin' awesome is what. Anything that gets people trying burgers and sharing burger intel is great.
Though I do have some reservations about the way they order their burgers—always with bacon. I think putting bacon on there totally skews everything. How can you really evaluate the beef if you've got loudmouth bacon at that party, shouting everything else down?
My other immediate thought, upon looking at their top 10 list, is that it's heavily weighted toward pub-style and steakhouse burgers. I'm not a huge pub-style burger fan, and I think most steakhouses don't know how to do burgers. So their top picksdon't excite me. Still, I can appreciate a good pub burger when I run across one. Donovan's is good, but I wouldn't put it at No. 2 in the city. And I really can't believe they have Luger at No. 1.
That Shake Shack is No. 30 is crazy.
Come to think of it, BOTM is like the Bizarro World version of AHT, given that we're more into fast-food-style, thinner, griddled burgers.
But, holy shit, you have give them mad props for doing this once a week and really sticking to it. And, the article does say that not everyone in the group thinks alike:
"Certain people like a steak-type burger, certain people like something thinner," Mr. Weiss noted. "Do you rank a burger based on, 'My friend came in from out of town, where should I take him?' Versus, 'If I had all 45 burgers in front of me sitting on a table, which one would I eat?' That’s the healthy debate."
Even if their list does lean toward the pubby and steaky, it's great to see people getting out there and experiencing all the burgers they can.
How to Rank
I also admired their ranking system. The article discusses how it has morphed over the years, from a complicated points-based tabulation taking into account atmosphere, service, quality of sides, etc., to a letter-grade-based system, to, most recently, a system where the men simply place the burger at the appropriate ranking in their running list.
(For a while, I've thought of doing a ranking system on AHT that takes into account various burger components—bun, meat, cheese, cooked-to-temp., etc.—but it has always seemed too complicated, and in the end it comes down to how well everything works together, anyway.)
I can't wait until the burgerrankings.com site comes back online so we can all delve into the standings.