Schnäck brings back fond memories. My first tiny burger experience occurred here only two years ago. From that point on, I was changed. I could no longer live in a regular-sized burger world; I needed diversity. I'll always love a full-sized burger, but the combination of cuteness and burger is too much to pass up. But I digress.
Schnäck sits on a quiet block in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, surrounded mostly by residences. When you get inside, the decor is kitschy, but not over the topsilly enough to be entertaining while still feeling quite homey. Unlike the other tiny-burger restaurants we've reviewed this week, Schnäck is a sit-down restaurant (if you're in a hurry, you can do delivery or take-out, though). Once you find your table, the staff, especially co-owner and manager Harry, are quick to crack jokes and make you feel at ease.
Aside from Harry, the other two owners are Alan and Jim. This duo is responsible for a number of other popular Brooklyn eateries, including Patois, Uncle Pho, the Red Rail, and the Gowanus Yacht Club. They seem to have found a couple hits in there, but Schnäck will always be my favorite.
The tiny burgers, Schnäckies, are a dollar a piece, with cheese costing an extra $0.50 (kraut or onions are free). All Schnäckies are served with Schnäck Sauce, which is a version of thousand island, like most secret sauces. Although I recommend the singles, you can get doubles, triples, or quads, which are just more patties on one bun. My one complaint about this place is that the double costs $2.50 while a single is a dollar. That just doesn't make sense.
Unlike Sassy's Sliders, Schnäck prefers to serve its burgers without too much in the way. The buns are simple, and the sauce is complimentary. This works because the meat is actually quite tasty. If you look at the photos above, you'll see that they cook the burgers pretty thoroughly, which seems to add flavor. It doesn't seem that Schnäck adds anything special to the beef, but I wouldn't be surprised if the place used some salt and pepper. Bottom line, the burgers are flavorful considering how tiny they are.
Like Shake Shack or Blue 9, I highly recommend you grab some fries and a shake to compliment your burger. I would come for the shakes, fries, or burgers alone, which is what makes this place so dangerous. On top of the typical burger and hot dog fare, Schnäck's menu features quite a few options that would satisfy your non-burger-loving friends. Although, if your friends don't love burgers, you should really question your relationship.
As an aside, Schnäck is holding its inaugural hot dog eating contest on Memorial Day. Unlike other food-eating competitions, this one is for amateurs and it's about speed, not quantity. The first to finish a 30-inch-long custom-made Stahl-Meyer hot dog wins. The contest will take place at 1 p.m., and, if you arrive between 11a.m. and 1p.m., you'll get a free hot dog. Because of the potential hilarity and free food, I'll most likely be in attendance. If you can't make it, feel free to follow along on Schnäck's blog.
Location: 122 Union St. (between Columbia and Hicks), Brooklyn, NY
Cost: $1 for a single
Short Order: These tiny burgers are heaven sent. Great with anything.
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