The banner is still new on this Port Authority storefront.
One of the bright spots of the budget dining scene over the last year or so has been the sprouting up of dollar pizza stores. Yes, the slices at some of these places are inferior to artisanal pizza, but the idea that you could now never be too poor to buy a slice proved a powerful one, and lines formed around the block. Now, dollar burgers step up to challenge dollar pizza for the heart of working-class New York.
The dollar burger is charcoal-grilled, is furnished with ketchup and mayonnaise (at your request), rides a seeded bun, and is quite good. But do you see anything unusual about it?
Recently, the city’s first dollar burger spot popped up just south of the Port Authority on Eighth Avenue, an area that’s been spawning diverse and interesting cheap restaurants lately (check out Ninth Avenue, too).
The burger is flame-grilled at the rear of the kitchen as you watch, and put on a good bun with condiments of your choice (OK, “your choice” includes only ketchup and mayo, with mustard totally absent).
The burger is indeed a dollar (plus tax), but it includes no further toppings unless you pay for them separately. At the left is a chart showing how much each item costs.
Still, the burger itself is an interesting creation — succulent and smoky, really needing nothing except the condiments provided. But as you chew thoughfully, something occurs to you — namely, that the thing is made of chicken and not beef. Can this really be called a burger? Oh, hell, why not?
Kashmir Dollar Burger
601 Eight Avenue
Some of the other victuals available at Dollar Burger
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This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 19, 2011