Umami Burger Planning to Take Over NYC Burger Market, Shake Shack Unimpressed


Los Angeles-based Umami Burger is about to start a bi-coastal burger smackdown with New York City’s Shake Shack, which is perfect for those of us who like our burgers nice and bloody. Just kidding. Probably.

If you’re from New York, you’ve probably never even heard of the $10 burger phenomenon that is Umami Burger. Shake Shack has dominated the NYC burger scene since it showed up in 2004 and destroyed the competition with their line of burgers and the signature frozen custard that causes lines to form around the block as soon as they open their doors. But Umami Burger CEO Adam Fleischman thinks that his burgers are good enough to change all that. He’s built Umami Burger from a basement operation into a multimillion-dollar success based on the idea that each burger should be unique and packed with umami — the controversial “fifth taste” that he claims is the best part of a gourmet burger (though his critics claim it’s just plain old MSG).

Fleischman has also taken a few cracks at Shake Shack, saying, “Burger chains like Shake Shack are all designed the same. The food is designed to taste the same. We don’t do that.” And in another interview, “Shake Shack is down-on-the-farm.” We’re not exactly sure where he was going with that, but we’re willing to bet Shake Shack would disagree. Let the burger battle begin — and pass the ketchup.

H/T Grubstreet + PicThx Umami + ShakeShack


NY Elementary School Cafeteria Goes 100% Vegetarian

vegetarian school

Public School 244 is the first elementary school in New York to adopt an all-vegetarian menu, with animal-welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals saying it might be the first veggie-only public elementary school in the nation.

Of course, the transition didn’t happen overnight. When the school opened in 2008, the cafeteria began serving vegetarian meals three days a week.

“We then started to try out recipes with small groups of students, see what they liked, see what they didn’t like,” the school’s Principal and Co-Founder Bob Groff told ABC News. The recipes turned out to be a hit, according to Groff, and the feedback from students encouraged the staff to expand meat-free meals to four days a week. Eventually, the school adopted an all-vegetarian menu in January.

So what’s for lunch? The kids get an array of creative and healthy options from tofu vegetable wraps to black bean and cheddar quesadillas with a side of salsa and roasted red potatoes. No questionable mystery meat or cardboard Cheez Whiz pizza here.

Of course, if the students don’t dig the new grub, they’re still welcome to bring their own lunches containing meat. Phew.

 H/T + Photo Courtesy of Animal


Apparently, Hollywood Thinks All Chinese Restaurants Look Like This

Ever watched a movie set in New York City that had a scene in a Chinese restaurant? Most of us have, and chances are it looked something like this:


Or this:


Or this:


Lots of dragons, paper lanterns, intricate woodwork, red wallpaper: The quintessential Chinese restaurant experience. The only problem? Those restaurants don’t exist. At least not in New York City.

That’s according to Nick Carr, a New York movie location scout who’s tired of directors demanding that he show them some “really over-the-top Chinese decor” for them to use while filming in Manhattan. Carr doesn’t dispute that there’s a ton of Chinese restaurants in New York City, but none of them look like what the directors are envisioning when they tell Carr to “be on the lookout for dragons. Golden dragons would be awesome.” Instead, the average Chinese eatery in Manhattan looks something like this:


This makes a certain amount of sense; the abundance of Chinese restaurants in the area means that individual businesses focus on elevating the quality of their food to attract customers, rather than playing into stereotypes of  “orientalism on steroids” for revenue. Thanks to Hollywood’s refusal to see Chinese restaurants as anything but dragons and red wallpaper, however, “orientalism on steroids” is all we get to see.

H/T Scouting New York