NEW YORK — Opening a new burger eatery is not exactly the stuff of culinary revolution. Certainly the ubiquity of such meat shops caused restaurateur Jonathan Morr a moment of pause, though not enough to prevent his carnivorous boîte, Stand, from opening this week.
“This is something I’ve had on file on the back burner for at least three years now. Originally, it was quite a simple idea: There are no burger places that specialize. At this point, everyone’s doing burgers….At one point, I almost decided not to do it,” says Morr. “But then I’m like, forget it, why not?”
With his Midas-touch background, it seems like a sure bet. Republic, his student-friendly-priced Pan Asian restaurant in Union Square, is still going strong after more than a decade, and the well-heeled set continue to flock to Bond St., even though its buzz has quieted down.
Stand is more akin to its Republic sibling with variegated communal dining tables made of bronze-cast wood and an NYU-proximity right off University Place. A khaki-hued wall faces a wallpaper installation of black-and-white images of diner booths, while an open kitchen and spacious interior allow for a sleek dining-hall feel.
As for the food, the menu focuses on specialty burgers Morr describes as related to the quintessential Big Mac, “in the sense that it’s all there, it’s made for you, you just cut into it, and you feel everything within every bite.” Offerings include the classic beef, a chicken variety (on a poppy seed bun with tartar sauce) and a bacon-and-egg cheeseburger (with hard-boiled-egg mayo), each paired with its own special sauce. There are salads for those attempting to be healthier (but who goes to a burger joint with their cholesterol in mind?) and an array of sides like mashed sweet potatoes with Parmesan and shoestring fries. The bar is stocked with a slew of regional draught beers, and there are enough soft drinks, like toasted marshmallow ice cream shakes and homemade ginger ale, to bring nostalgics back to soda-fountain days.
And Stand is just one venture in what Morr hopes will bring attention to humble fast-food dishes. His next project, an upscale food market in Las Vegas, will include a hot dog stand. “I don’t even eat hot dogs for the most part, but it’s just that Americans consume something like five billion hot dogs a year,” says Morr. “The idea is…I mean, it’s not the hot dog on the street. It’s really to elevate fast food to a completely different level.”