The U.S.-style burger experience goes abroad
Diners around the world can't resist an All-American burger with beer and fries.
We Americans have become accustomed to the upmarket gourmet burger. You know, the kind made from locally sourced meat and packed between two homemade rolls. They've even become the star attraction of some of the trendiest restaurants around, where that quintessentially American dining experience that mixes fine dining with fast food is put on full display.
Until recently, however, the "American gourmet burger experience" in much of the rest of the world meant going to McDonald's. No more. In places like London, Paris and Tel Aviv, Israel, restaurants are popping up that don't shy away from quality or from name-checking their influences.
London is perhaps the flashpoint of the craze, and no burger shop is more symbolic of this than Bleecker St. Named after the well-known New York thoroughfare, it serves up "New York-style" burgers and fries that are considered among the best in the city. Milkshakes are even on offer, and owner Zan Kaufman, a New York City transplant, made sure the coffee-flavored version featured beans from a roasting company in Brooklyn.
Across the channel in Paris, Paris New York has made its way into the pantheon of best burger spots, with menu items such as Morning California (topped with cheddar cheese and avocado), the Cowboy burger (cheddar and bacon) and even – Gasp! – french fries rather than frites. They now have three spacious locations in the city, all of which you can find packed at any given moment.
The cowboy burger at PNY offers diners a taste of the Wild West. (Photo: Bob Jouy/Flickr)
In Tel Aviv, the city is in the throes of a burger love affair. At America Burgers, a no-frills menu offers up quintessentially American fare of burgers, fries, beer and ice cream. A sign running across one side of the restaurant promises all this to "eat in" or "take out," and the loudspeakers play a cool mix of American oldies and alternative rock.
"What we did that was unique was to combine [quality food] with design and vision in order to create a fuller experience," owner Roy Hendeles told From The Grapevine.
Indeed, while there are countless burger places across Europe that make remarkable burgers, people are also looking to associate the meal with that relaxed American approach to the burger that is as much about good fun as it is about good food.
Explained Hendeles, "There's something about the experience of eating a burger that appeals to pretty much everyone – it's the ultimate comfort food but it can also be sexy and fun as a social hangout."
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