EAST VILLAGE — A new eatery aims to be a patriotic haven where you can chow down on comfort food, watch "Walker, Texas Ranger" and check out some guns and war memorabilia.
'Merica, the latest concept venture from the team behind the Tim Burton-inspired Beetle House and Will Ferrell-themed Stay Classy, seeks to transport its diners to the "real America" — or at least a humorous, tongue-in-cheek homage to the idea, decked out with race cars and guns, inspired in part by co-founder Zach Neil's childhood.
"I spent a good portion of my childhood around the backwood, hillbilly southern Republicans, then I moved to Pennsylvania and grew up next to a NASCAR race track," said Neil.
"Imagine the Donald Trump campaign coming to your backyard every weekend."
In fact, the rise of Donald Trump was part of the impetus behind the restaurant's launch, said Neil — he and co-founder Radoune Eljaouhari, who is shuttering his Moroccan restaurant Zerza to help facilitate the star-spangled eatery at 320 E. Sixth St., felt the need to find the humor in the current presidential election.
"If you're going to laugh in today's society, there's so much to laugh at," Neil said.
"There's also a lot to cry about, but we don't want to be on the crying side."
The T-Rump Mexican Burger, for instance, is constructed as an edible joke on the Republican nominee's behalf, making light of his promise to make Mexico foot the bill for a wall along the border.
The meat is cut from the rump of a cow, said Neil with slices of American and Mexican Pepperjack cheeses separated by a wall of onions, peppers and mushrooms.
The burger, like much of the restaurant itself, is a form of silent comedic protest against ideas spouted by Trump and his supporters, the eatery's founders said.
"One bite and you'll realize these tastes belong together," said Neil of the T-Rump burger.
But lest diners think the lampooning is one-sided, the business doesn't just parody Republican platforms.
There is also a Hillary Clinton-themed burger, or the "100 calorie lie" — a triple bacon cheeseburger slathered in mac n' cheese that's falsely advertised as being 100 calories.
The eatery will also feature a "Chuck Norris week" where diners wearing camo get a discount and Norris films are shown.
Thursday night at 'Merica will be debate night, where patrons will go head-to-head on a variety of topics — both serious and comic — with food-related penalties for the loser, such as having to pay for the winner's meal.
The restaurant, which will serve wine and beer, opens Oct. 15. For updates, check out the 'Merica Facebook page.