Checking Out Roberta’s at the BMW Guggenheim Lab (Plus a Padma and Baby Sighting!)


According to its website, the BMW Guggenheim Lab is a traveling “mobile laboratory” that will visit nine major cities over the next six years, hoping to “address issues of contemporary urban life through programs and public discourse.” Pretty neat, no? And the cool factor of this pop-up museum located at the corner of Houston Street and Second Avenue is upped because the café is run by none other than Roberta’s, the hipstery Bushwick pizzeria. So obviously we had to visit the Lab. The result? An afternoon of culture and good eating!

The menu at this Roberta’s is actually quite limited, and doesn’t offer any of the beloved pizzas. The main items available were a cheeseburger, tomato salad with smoked ricotta and cucumbers, and a Sicilian tuna sandwich (although a ricotta-and-eggplant sandwich was available the other day). Momofuku Milk Bar cookies and cereal milk offer something for those with a sweet tooth, plus chips and beverages. A limited breakfast menu is also offered.

We began with the salad ($7), pictured above. Chunks of cucumber plus perfectly ripe red and golden tomatoes bathe in a lovely, light lemony olive oil dressing. A glob of creamy, smoky ricotta adds a deep complexity to this seasonal salad. Cooling and refreshing, it’s definitely a must-order.

Following that, we had to get the cheeseburger ($9), which came with lettuce, onions, and pickles. Salty and super-juicy, the beef patty was hefty with a nice grilled flavor. The bun? Soft and squishy, none of that fancy crap. If you’re looking for a good ole classic cheeseburger, this is it.

We washed it all down with a refreshingly tart lemonade. At $4, it runs a little pricey for lemonade, but on a hot summer day, sometimes you just gotta pay the big bucks to keep cool.

Oh, and an added bonus — Padma walked by while we were eating, babe (well, toddler, really) in arms! Alas, the bars hindered us from getting a full shot, but still a fitting way to end our afternoon of outdoor eating.