MANHATTAN — Vegetarians need not apply.
Burger chefs throughout the city will craft delicious off-menu hamburgers for the city's third annual Burger Week, offering New Yorkers their only chance all year to taste the uniqe creations.
“Burger Week is not for casual burger fans,” said founder David "Rev" Ciancio. “If you really love burgers, this is for you.”
From May 1 to the 7, more than a dozen restaurants will participate in a slew of events that feature the most mouth-watering burgers in town. They include a Cinco de Mayo-themed burger fiesta, a boozy burger brunch and a burger showdown featuring the man behind the Ramen Burger.
The festivities will kick off May 1 with a sold-out showdown between two of the best burger chefs in town, Jeffrey Maslanka of Black Shack and Keizo Shimamoto of Ramen Burger.
On Saturday, bun lovers can pig out at the annual Burger Crawl. For $70, guests can walk into any of 11 participating burger joints, including the Rodeo Bar or the Lower East Side's Idle Hands Bar, and get a free beer and unlimited access to $3 burger specials. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Autism Speaks.
The best way to cure a burger hangover is with a boozy burger brunch at Rare Bar and Grill in Lenox Hill. For $23 you’ll be able to get three mini burgers that have been flambéed with booze, a bourbon or tequila pairing and sweet potato fries.
On Cinco de Mayo, while the rest of the city celebrates with tacos and margaritas, you could be having a hamburguesa fiesta with your closest amigos at the Bar Room in Murray Hill. For $50, you’ll get two cocktails, nachos and a three-course meal that features a burger topped with aged cheddar, grilled tomato and fresh pico de gallo.
Each year, Burger Week pairs up burgers and brews with a classic rock album. On May 6, chefs will pair each plate with a track from AC/DC’s "Back in Black" at an event at Idle Hands Bar on Avenue D. For $30, your belly could be hearing "Hell’s Bells" while you get three mini burgers, a side of tater tots, five beer samples and a shot of whiskey.
Burger Week will end May 7 with a cinematic appreciation for the cultural significance of the burger at Tribeca Cinemas. The 6:30 p.m. screening will include George Motz’s "Hamburger America," a film that spotlights eight burger joints across America. During the screening, chefs will serve some of the best burgers featured in the film, including Milwaukee's Butter Burger and Santa Fe's Green Chile Cheeseburger.
Ciancio credits the idea of Burger Week to the now closed RUB BBQ, where he and what he calls New York’s "burgeratti" would meet up once a week to try off-menu burgers.
“Every Monday they’d do a specialty burger and they’d all be amazing,” he said. “I talked them into doing an off-menu burger bash and it sold out in an hour.”
They had so much fun doing it that they decided to have a whole week of specialty, off-menu burgers, Ciancio said.
Last year, New Yorkers consumed 2,549 burgers during Burger Week — for a total of 450 pounds of beef and well over 80 pounds of cheese, according to organizers. Tickets are still available for this year's festivities, but many events are selling out quickly.
“New York is a burger city,” Ciancio said. “There are a lot of great chefs making great burgers.”