Every NYC neighborhood needs a place like Bill’s Bar and Burger, with its crowd-pleasing menu, everything reasonably priced, all of it reliably excellent.
I especially appreciate restaurateur Stephen Hanson and the BR Guest crew’s friendly and fun burger joints when I need a place to eat in the Meatpacking District (home of the first Bill’s Bar and Burger) and in the heart of tourist-choked Midtown around Rockefeller Center (home of the second).
I mean, both of those neighborhoods have plenty of decent places to eat, but you can also go way wrong, and spend a fortune while doing so. Bill’s Bar and Burger? Always the right choice.
I was reminded of all of this the other night, when life landed me near Rock Center with some time to kill and a belly to fill. I’ve been to the Bill’s Bar and Burger in the Meatpacking District plenty of times, which opened in the fall of 2009 and, among its many other qualities, has always been a sure-bet place to bring your out-of-town visitors after walking the High Line. Also: anytime you’re with little kids. Or teenagers. Or college kids.
Anyway, the Meatpacking District Bill’s Bar and Burger always makes my Top 5 NYC Burgers list, and the setting is cozy, the atmosphere convivial-tipping-to-raucous, depending on the time of day or night, but I had never been to the gigantic, office-drone and tourist-magnet Rockefeller Center outpost, which first opened its doors in the fall of 2010. Thankfully, a burger at Bill’s Midtown behemoth is every bit as good as the one downtown.
Bill’s Bar and Burger at Rockefeller Center has two levels, several seating areas, a huge bar, and somehow manages to feel comfy despite its huge size and sterile, concourse-y exterior. I had what I usually have, a Bill’s Burger with bacon, and it was, if anything, even better than I remember, the La Frieda secret-blend patty juicy and meaty and prepared perfectly, the bacon adding swine and smoke and sweet, the LTP (lettuce, tomato, pickles) toppings all fresh and crisp. A terrific burger, one of many on the Bill’s Bar and Burger menu.
And my initial disappointment about the lack Veggie Fries on the Bill’s Rock Center menu–they’re my favorite side on the Bill’s Meatpacking menu–I was assuaged somewhat by how much I enjoyed my boat of Sweet Potato Fries, which were salty and just the exact right combo of crispy and chewy. All in all, a total winner.
Bill’s Bar and Burger Rock Center is located on 51st Street near Fifth Avenue; Bill’s Meatpacking is on 13th Street and Ninth Avenue. For lots more info about everything, including complete Bill’s Bar and Burger menus, check out their website.
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