1026 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10065
brgr UES launch–sample grass-fed beef burgers and meet the farmers
One of the reasons I got myself into the music business as my day job; I love working behind the scenes, helping artists and being the first to hear, see, meet, learn about new music. It’s a blessing and a curse for a music junkie. When I get to help out a band I love, like Alice In Chains, it’s amazing. However, it does ruin a little of the mystique and change the fan experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I’ve been pretty careful not to let similar factors change my experience in the world of food. This is nothing more than a fun hobby and identity which pays off in delicious food. Let me very blunt about this, I have no shame in the food game. Promise me free food or give me a look behind the scenes and I will respond with positive reviews and updates. I’m not out to prove journalistic integrity or uphold some corporate responsibility to maintain secrecy in my approach. I am a press whore and will do anything for a restaurant that does something for me. Having said that, everything I write on here is absolutely, 100% representative of my feelings and all ratings reflect my real opinion.
..but I will always accept a free burger!
That’s exactly what happened on September 22, 2010. I received an invite from NYC local grass-fed burger specialists, brgr to attend the launch of their Upper East Side location.
“Who: brgr, the home of the 100% grass-fed beef burger, invites you to join us for the opening of our new Third Avenue Restaurant. Meet brgr CEO Steve Leicht, along with John Wood, the founder and head farmer of grass-fed beef purveyor U.S. Wellness Meats, and Rick Osofsky, farmer for New York State’s Ronnybrook Farms Dairy.
What: brgr is growing and we want you to celebrate with us! Our new Third Avenue restaurant has the same delicious grass-fed burgers and fresh milkshakes that have made our Seventh Avenue restaurant a Chelsea favorite. Sample the burgers, the milkshakes, and the fries; check out the new space; learn about the grass-fed difference; and meet the people behind the food
Because you’ll find out that grass-fed beef can taste good and be good for you. Because you’ll get to meet a couple of real, live life-long farmers who will talk to you about how their farming practices are better for you, for the environment, and for the animals. And, really, how often do you get to meet the people who actually made and produced your food? And drink while doing it?”
That’s good enough reason for me to come out and bring a couple members of the Burger Conquest “Team Burger.” I’ve reviewed brgr in the past on a visit I made with Aaron, from the band The Almost. It’s a damn tasty burger with a great concept. brgr serves grass-fed burgers because, according to them, they taste better, are healthier and better for the environment. Plus owner Steve Leicht is a damn nice guy and even once offered to send me burgers when I was laid up in the hospital. What brgr didn’t know is just how special this occasion was to me, but more on that later.
Due to traffic delays caused by dignitaries at the United Nations (grrrrrr), Jackie and I arrived 45 minutes late for the event where Bram and Buckshot were waiting for us. We walked in right as Steve, John and Rick were giving their heartfelt presentation about the care that goes into maintaining the quality of their products. I’ll skip the paraphrasing and deliver the message exactly as it was presented that evening.
“Our grass-fed beef brgrs aren’t just good for you and the planet, they’re also just plain good! Enjoy yours pure and simple or topped with such fresh gourmet toppings as Roquefort, Gruyere and Cheddar cheese, Haas avocado and herb mayonnaise.
Or try our equally great-tasting natural turkey brgr and garden veggie brgr. All pair deliciously well with sides of russet potato fries, sweet potato fries and onion hay. Top it all off with one of our award-winning milkshakes made with farm-fresh milk and ice cream that contain no hormones, antibiotics or additives. “
That evening, at the private event, all menu items were available for free. We could have as much or as little as possible. While part of me wanted to order one of everything, I thought that would be wasteful and not at all in line with brgr’s concept. Instead I selected just 2 brgrs and 1 side to order;
1. THE RAINFOREST BRGR / Beef Patty + Gruyere + Avocado + Herb Mayonnaise + Lettuce + Tomato
2. THE FRESH MORNING BRGR / Beef Patty + American Cheese + Fried Egg + Thousand Island Dressing + Grilled Onions + Lettuce + Tomato
3. The Trio / Russet Fries + Sweet Potato Fries + Onion Hay
While I waited for the food to be cooked, I met John Wood from US Wellness Meats to learn more about his company’s beef prep techniques. I also got a chance to say hello to Steve who profusely thanked us for coming and spread his praise for our silly website. With little delay, the food order was up and I was ready to eat.
I started with the Fresh Morning brgr. Aside of cheese, my favorite topping on a burger is an egg and when I saw that on the menu, I had to try. After a bite or two, Steve came over and asked for my thoughts on the brgr. When I told him “its’ really good. You can taste the freshness in the beef and it’s distinct flavor is truly delicious. I love the egg. It was prepared just right! Most places over cook and fry the egg but this one was juicy and creamy without being runny.” “All of our eggs are organic,” said Steve as he began talking about how they make their brgrs. The guy has a lot of pride and its shows in the food. While I don’t love thousand island dressing, I will say the sweetness of the sauce and the grilled onions, compliment the saltiness of the beef and cheese. The leaf lettuce is fresh and crispy and if you love yourself like I love me, you’ll order your sandwich on one of brgr’s fresh, soft and tasty whole wheat buns.
Up next, the Rainforest Brgr. Using the same tasty beef patty and yummy whole wheat bun as the basis of the burger, leaving room for the toppings to work their magic. The avocado tastes as though it was picked that morning and is very fresh and creamy. The Gruyere is a very savory cheese that adds but does not take control of the sandwich’s flavor. I’m not a mayo fan but everyone once in awhile will add it to my burger when it’s a house specialty. I’m glad I did for this one because the dominant taste is the herbs, not the mayonnaise. They add a subtle taste difference to the brgr.
I love french fries. I also love sweet potato fries and onion rings. What I love even more is when I can order all 3!! Oh man, ask Jackie, these things are addictive! Hot, juicy, crispy and oh sooooo savory. Jackie was having trouble stopping herself from eating the entire basket. Be sure to get The Trio as the mix offerings all work to compliment each other.
s you care like attention to detail and that is most certainly the case with Steve and brgr. From the decorative walls telling the story to the extremely clean bathrooms and the floor made to look like grass, everything about brgr, beyond the food, calls attention to style, care and design. It’s great and you will love it. On the way out we were handed a gift bag containing a brgr shirt, $10 gift certificate and 3 of the most delicious cookies I have ever eaten in my life. If there is such a thing as grass-fed crack cocaine, it’s in these cookies. It’s a sweet, oatey, chocolaty and sturdy but not crunchy adventure in desserts. I brought them home where my wife Cara and I devoured every amazing bite.
Now, what Steve and crew did not know was the special nature of this Conquest. This was to be Jackie’s last Burger Conquest as she was moving to Los Angeles only a few days later. I have had the pleasure of working with Jackie and calling her one of my friends for 8 plus years. She is by far one of the nicest, most generous and fun loving people I have ever known. Jackie’s hard work and dedication helped to make our company, Yeah! Management, what it is today. Anyone who has ever met Jackie knows she is as high quality a person as a brgr! It is with a heavy heart that I wish Jackie all the best in her new life as she is one of my favorite people in the world. Other than my wife, Jackie has been on more Burger Conquests than any other friend of mine. You’ll be missed my burger eatin’ pal but the West coast better look out! The delicious burgers in South Cali have no idea what’s in store for them.
I love ya lots and look forward to eating with you in the burger capital of the West. May the beef be with you.
And now for a special announcement, meeeehhhhhh