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Burger Heaven

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I've been working on the Upper East Side, a
neighborhood that makes me feel like Rip Van Winkle
because when I was 11 or so in the mid-70s, my mom and
I would come down to Manhattan pretty regularly for me
to go to a doctor on East 64th street. We would always
walk—sometimes take a cab, which was usually a Checker—
the 20-odd blocks from Grand Central up Lexington
Avenue to the doctor's. There were stores I'd see and
go into every time—The Different Drummer, T-Shirt
Gallery, Stitching Horse Bootery. And I still have my
original Gap T-shirt that says, "Fall Into The Gap"
with a pair of feet sticking out of the waistband of a
pair of jeans. Does anyone remember that slogan?

Since I've been going up there regularly for almost a
year now, I've been aware there are still things
standing that haven't changed much since then. One of
them was the Burger Heaven restaurant on—I think—62nd
and Lexington. I've always been impressed when I went
in, because the decor and layout were exactly the same
as they'd been in 1975: long, narrow diner with
hexagonal red brick tiles on the floors and climbing up
the walls. Lunch counter. Tables for four. I remember
one time my mom and I were on the way to 64th street
and I felt ill; we asked at Burger Heaven if I could
use their restroom and I went in there and threw up.

It's a 2-story building that until a few months ago
still bore the sign of the hair salon that was there in
the 70s: called "Black Hair Is". That salon has been
closed for months now; the sign has been taken down and
replaced with a "For Rent" sign.

My question is, what are other people's personal
histories of New York like? I know I'm not the only one
who's ridden the "New York, New Haven, and Hartford"
trains (with the blue plush seats that flipped over so
you could seat a party of four if you wanted), or eaten
pancakes at Child's. What neighborhoods are you all
from and what are your memories like?

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  1. I hate to break this to you but Burger Heaven was
    renovated about a month ago and is now called City
    Cafe. It looks much brighter in there and a lot more
    "City-fied." It doesn't have the same greasy dinner
    look as before. I worked right across Lexington Avenue
    on 62nd and have watched the renovation for the past
    six months. The food there was never fantastic.

    Now for good food on the Upper East Side I recommend
    the joint right across the street Back Stage Deli. You
    can run in and get a great cup of soup or an enormous
    deli sandwich (turkey piled on for days!). There's a
    little area in the back for eating in and the
    hamburgers are absolutely sensuous! Big hunks of beef
    and cheese melted for a king. Steak fries and crunchy
    pickles!!!!

    I know this isn't a New York memory but I saw Burger
    Heaven and had to jump in...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ande
      r
      rebeccahodgson

      I was looking for references to burger Heaven and found this thread. "Burger Heaven" still exists at Madison somewhere between 39th and 41st ( I never remember exact location and/or name until I've been somewhere a zillion times) the sign is an old one and the long lunch counter is also quite authentic looking as if they'd been at this location a long long time.

      I wanted to mention it on these boards because I have become a gigantoc fan of their chopped chicken salad. i was looking for a decent place for luch a few months ago, went in, had the salad and fries and now I have been back five times and had the exact same thing FIVE TIMES! I will branch out next time but unfortunately i am always there by myself with a book - it's my getaway lunch, not social - and thus haven't had plates to share. So when forced with a choice of chicken salad or a burger its been the salad every time. Next time I will splurge with a shake, onion rings and a cheeseburger to give it a taste test.

      The salad is HUGE - I always take half with me when I leave - and has big chunks of moist warm chicken in a big bowl over very very fresh old school garden salad with large cut vegetables. They give you warm pita bread on the side which is okay but not real pita and not so impressive. I always have to order more dressing as the amount they give you is completely out of proportion to the gigantic size of the salad. I also really really like their fries - nice and well-cooked but floppy ( I am not a crunchy fry eater) - just perfect.

      Anyone else eat there? The service is perfect for lunch - fast and no-frills. Price of my standard meal is approx. $10.00 with tax

      I ahve yet to eat a burger there or a have a shake but I will report back when I do.