Clinton Street’s forever in-motion restaurant row is going through another rebirth. Within the last few months it has added Speedy Romeo slinging St. Louis style pizzas, Galeria with Brazilian healthy-ish food, Boba Guys upping the bubble tea game, and next week, a new burger joint to rest our weary tastebuds.
The Burgary, taking over the old Barramundi space, is a cheesy, hamburger-y homage to the building’s colorful history as the crooked 1920s bank, Garfunkel & Tauster. The two bankers, Max Garfunkel and Marcus Tauster, ran into trouble when the city discovered they’d amassed the savings of almost $235,000 from nearby tenement-dwellers, offset by only $76,000 in securities and other holdings. In 1924 they were convicted of forgery, larceny, perjury, and receiving money of depositors when they knew the bank was insolvent. (Tauster did a stint as a fugitive on the run, but eventually was traced to Ontario, Canada, where he was posing as a shop-owner.)
The Burgary partners, Tim Gashi (Rocky Slims) and Valentino Gjekaj (Arté), have no such criminal past, but decided to run with the theme. The walls are decorated by street artist Mustart, amped up with leering cartoon criminals like a Beagle Boy robber, a dastardly Uncle Scrooge, and burger-wanted posters. It feels a little like you’re at an evil version of the kid’s room at a bowling alley, until you turn around to take in the sleek bar, well stocked with bourbon, speciality beers, and savory cocktails like the Venetian shandy (which includes limoncello and truffle water), or the popcorn sazerac, complete with popcorn bitters.
As the name suggests, the menu is unapologetically burger-centric. Besides a black bean burger, a caesar salad and a few appetizers, like a mezze plate, it’s all about the quality meat, provided by Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors. There’s potato chip-encrusted chicken, bourbon-bacon jam, and Black-Angus short rib sloppy joes galore. Or you can build your own burger (their blend has “a nice real soft flavor to it, a little funk from the dry aged meat,” Gashi said) and pile on the decadent-sounding toppings like truffle aioli or chipotle ketchup. Milkshakes are made with Laboratorio del Gelato ice cream.
If you survive the meal still wanting something more to cap off your evening, head to the secret vault in the back. In PDT-style, the Burgary is connected to a sophisticated speakeasy, Garfunkel’s, which has been open since February. If you reserve online (apparently a must on the busy weekends) you can punch in the code to get inside. During the weekdays, you may have luck just showing up.
The Burgary, 67 Clinton Street, bet. Rivington and Stanton. Opening Monday April 18th.