The Early Word: Pop’s of Brooklyn (in Manhattan)


Burger and shakes chain Johnny Rockets shuttered on Eighth Street a while back, and the space now houses the Manhattan outpost of Pop’s, basically the yuppified version of its predecessor, with a few more gourmet offerings. Meaning, you know, the burgers are now Pat LaFrieda and the pickles are house-made instead of the corporate generic kind. Although still in its infancy, we popped (ha! sorry — couldn’t resist) in for a quick lunch.

The menu is more limited than at the Brooklyn branch, but offers a range of burgers, hot dogs, assorted sandwiches, and appetizers like wings and a super-cheesy mac ‘n’ cheese.

We decided to sample the junior burger and a crispy chicken sandwich. While the accoutrements on our burger left a little to be desired (tomato wasn’t ripe enough and caramelized onions could have been cooked a bit longer), it was a fine griddled burger, if slightly overdone to our liking. We preferred the chicken sandwich (pictured above), however, which featured a plump and juicy breast, coated in crunch and gently spiced with a touch of honey.

And to end our meal, we sprang for a root-beer float. Originally we had wanted a shake, but were told that they wouldn’t have shakes for a few more days. The float, made with Boylan’s root beer, was a good, classic version hopped up with lots of vanilla ice cream.

The interior of the restaurant has an old-school diner feel, but unlike its predecessor, which went for 1950s kitsch, this has more of a hipster Brooklyn vibe going on. Seating is somewhat limited and the restaurant could surely add some additional tables. All in all, though, a decent spot for inexpensive, non-corporate eats (note that it’s cash-only right now). And now that NYU is back in session, expect crowds of wide-eyed teenagers who have yet to learn that you don’t pronounce Houston Street like the town in Texas.

42 East 8th Street

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV, or me @ldshockey.

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