Sporting a retro neon sign, mint green banquettes and Formica tables, the latest iteration of Brooklyn the Burger Joint’s hit restaurant chain reads like a 1950s American diner.
The resemblance, Brookyn the Burger Joint owner-chef Park Hyun revealed, is intentional, as are the diner-like opening hours -- 24 hours, seven days-a-week.
“I wanted to do it somewhere big and I wanted to do a 24-hour spot,” Park, 35, explained how he came to launch Brooklyn the Burger Joint’s fourth outlet this June near Seoul’s crowded Garosugil.
Park’s latest and most ambitious project to date is meant to be a haven for everyone, including customers who need a comfortable spot to grab some satisfying grub at any hour, be it past midnight or early in the morning.
“My coworkers, my friends and I, we all eat dinner late,” Park said.
The inspiration came from personal experience.
Frustrated by what he felt was a lack of diverse late night dining options, he decided to create his ideal spot himself.
Outfitted with an ice cream shop-in-shop called FRZ Ice Cream, the newest Brooklyn Burger covers all its bases, from a 12,500-won breakfast platter to new burger and side additions and an extensive drinks menu that includes 43 different milkshakes.
Hungry diners can dig into everything from hot wings, fried-to-order corn dogs and massive fish burgers.
While fish burgers -- which feature huge hand-shaped, square fish patties dressed with tartar sauce and gooey cheese -- can also be found at other Brooklyn the Burger Joint outlets, both the quadruple decker, aptly named Fantastic 4, and the lamb burger are currently exclusive to the new Garosugil outlet.
Brooklyn’s Fantastic 4 is an effective exercise in strategic restraint. Sans onions, tomatoes or lettuce, four 60 gram beef patties swaddle two layers of American cheese for a burger that closely resembles a layer cake of pure rich, juicy meat.
“We serve it with a whole dill pickle,” said Park, revealing that inspiration came from the usual pairing of pickles with meat-centric Reuben sandwiches.
The lamb burger marries a well-seasoned succulent patty with a sweet layer of onions. Lettuce, which is placed underneath the patty, is used to prevent the bun from getting soggy.
“The lamb is juicy, so we put the lettuce on the bottom,” said Brooklyn general director Cho Whi-sung, 33.
Then there are Brooklyn’s brand new sides, from crisp shelled corn dogs, uber-thick onion rings to fries slathered in cheese, sour cream and bacon bits, a nod, Park says, to the standard fixings used to top baked potatoes.
Jalapeno poppers -- battered-fried chilies stuffed with cream cheese, cheddar and jalapenos -- are another addictive addition, gooey, crisp and crunchy, all at once.
No detail is spared, even down to the drinks.
Brooklyn’s Pepsi Lemons are served up in vintage glasses, with fresh lemon slices carefully layered all around the inside of the glass. Milkshakes in flavors like gingerbread and eggnog arrive with generous swirls of whipped cream and Maraschino cherries, and drip coffee is served up in thick, sturdy mugs.
All things ice cream-related are also available, from sundaes to floats to soft serve, an attraction in itself, because according to general director Cho, “Some people just come for the shakes and ice cream.”
Given the massive milkshake menu, which includes alcoholic variations and a Birthday Cake flavor that Brooklyn crewmember Lee Seung-eun revealed is crafted from housemade vanilla ice cream and rainbow sprinkles, it is not surprising to hear that customers are making the trip out to the new spot for dessert.
Given its strengths on all fronts, be it burgers, sides or sweets, the future looks promising for Brooklyn the Burger Joint’s latest operation.
Brooklyn the Burger Joint Garosugil Store
540-11, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open 24 hours, seven days a week
Early bird breakfast plate costs 12,500 won, burgers cost 7,800 won to 12,800 won, fries and other sides cost 4,500 won to 14,000 won, milkshakes cost 5,500 won to 9,500 won, soft serve costs 4,000 won, frozen custard and sorbet costs 4,000 won to 4,900 won
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org