Like the old movie trailers had it...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Like the old movie trailers had it...

...years months in the making, featuring a cast cost of (hundreds of) thousands, Big City Burgers and Atomic Wings has finally opened.

(Also from the OtBB archives: "One en­couraging sign")

Now open: Big City Burgers and Atomic Wings

It is, of course, the former Johnny Chih's on the corner of Montauk Highway and Lilac Road.

(Disclosure: I have yet to eat there, but plan to as soon as I can scrape together the price of a burger.)

The simple menu is intriguing, more for its prices than anything else!

Located several hundred yards up Lilac Road from Westhampton Beach High School, the least expensive burger, a "Jr. Hamburger," on the bill of fare is $4.89, which puts it out of the realm of garden variety lunch money!

A regular burger and fries with a 16 oz. "fountain soda" runs to $11.37... before the sales tax!

G'luck and all that, George, but really....


Detail from the front page of the Corporate Web site

And while you're at it, George, you might like to drop a note to Corporate HQ about:

We'll give them points for originality, but still, a properly spelled location might help business in the long run.


1. Crabby said...

The second-homers will have no problem with the prices. It's mere "pennies."

For my "pennies" I'll keep going to Country Heroes (thanks for turning me on to them, Speir.) for their spectacular-quality heros or Finn McCool's so I can sit down and have an adult beverage with my burger.

If'n ya don't mind traveling to Eastport, the Triangle Pub (which my wife loves for their honey fried chicken!) offers a good burger for about the same price, and draught beer as well.

2. Michael Jacobs said...

IMO they'll do business but I agree with Crabby that they won't really dent Country Heroes in any significant way. BCB/AW is cheap... I mean inexpensive... no, I mean cheap. The former Johnny Chih's venue got some badly needed upgrading, at least on the surface, and a new purpose-built kitchen. The burgers are OK... and that's it!!! The junior is a single patty, the regular burger is a double patty. You can have it cooked any way you like as long as it's medium well (as suggested by the Suffolk County Department of Health) and there are a range of classic toppings. Sides are fries or sweet potato fries... and they are probably the strongest items on the menu.

I had the bacon cheeseburger with American cheese, the only choice, topped with fresh tomato and grilled onions (cholesterol be damed. That's what Lipitor is for). Decent, suitably sloppy... but not great. The wings were a huge disappointment for me. I have many fond, beer-fogged memories of Atomic Wings as I mis-spent many evenings of my largely mis-spent youth at their venue in NYC. These occasions were usually after hard-fought softball games in Central Park and the teams would repair to a local East Side watering hole (I want to say Brother Jimmy's... but, like I said "beer-fogged" and I meant it). The wings were sublime... crisp, spicy, served with fresh celery and carrot sticks and a super, chunky blue cheese dressing. The guys behind Atomic Wings were U. of Buffalo alumni. They endeared themselves to the owners of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, the creators of the recipe, and imported it to NYC. Their chicken was from the same purveyor and they created the near pefect Buffalo chicken wing.

The "West Hamptons Beach" iteration falls far short even forgetting that you can't get a cold one, let alone a pitcher. The wings were, well... "gummy" comes to mind. Not crisp... in fact barely "done." The sauce was close to the original and good enough to conjure up memories of the morning after... but we won't go into that. Celery and carrots came in a poly bag and the dressing in a pre-packaged dish like commercial dressing. If you do try the wings... order them extra crispy. Then let me know 'cause I ain't running back there.

The drill is you order at the counter, they make and package your food for take-out, call your number and that's it. There are a scattering of formica tables, wooden chairs and some high-tops on a black and white vinyl tile floor. Plastic wrapped plastic utensils and napkins on a roll are available by the condiment (ketchup and mustard) bar hard by the dispenser of fountain drinks.

I was hoping for better.

Good review, good narrative, Michael! Lemme know when you wanna do an "Eat Beat Guest Blog."

The one thing I noted about the physical lay-out of the interior: it's identical to that of Chicken on the Run which inhabited the premises 50 years ago.

But yes, after all these months in the making, it doesn't seem to be what it should have been.

But at least it's not boarded-up and dark.
– Dean

3. Surf's up! said...

Jack and Diane's in Speonk has great burgers!

We know... it's a favorite of ours as well.

4. Michael Jacobs said...

Amen on the "boarded up and dark!!!"

They'll get tradesmen for lunch and families with kids who won't eat their veggies for dinner. There's better (way better) burgers in the area... but few in the $5-$10 range.

Thanks for the kind words... but I prefer to maintain my amateur status.

  1. Actually the burgers at both The Triangle and Jack and Diane's meet that price criterion.
  2. You can keep your "amateur status;" you realty didn' think I was going to pay you, didja?
– Dean

5. Tugboat Bertha said...

Can they sleep upstairs and vote in the Village?

Actually, what I think you mean is: "Can they say they sleep upstairs and vote in the Village?"

6. 1340 said...

Not having patronized the place yet, if indeed they only serve "medium well" as opposed to my preference of rare/medium rare, I will not be paying them a visit. That the Suffolk County Department of Health Services can require, rather than suggest, is allowing the nanny state mentality to proliferate.

Interesting... I've done a lot of menus over the past 40 years, including a number of them since Suffolk County Department of Health got into the act, and this is the first time I've seen the following language included on a menu:
"All Burgers cooked to medium well (158° or above)."
One of these days I'm going to have to relate the "Great Menu Battle of 1998" here.
– Dean

7. Michael Jacobs said...

I'm pretty sure they're responding to a potential liability issue rather than a mandate. That said, the consequences one may suffer from ingesting undercooked hamburger can be nasty.

  1. You would be incorrect
  2. Aye!
Suggest you take a closer look at the menu of any food establishment when beef or chicken is served.

8. Michael Jacobs said...

I stand corrected. Apparently not only the County but the state and federal governments have regulations concerning the minimum internal temperature for ground meat. The following is direct from the County manual used to train and certify food managers:

"This organism lives in the intestines of healthy cattle. During the slaughtering process, the outer part of the meat can become contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7, and then during the grinding process these bacteria can be distributed throughout the ground meat. Due to this very common meat process, many publicized E. coli 0157:H7 illness outbreaks have occurred in undercooked ground meat." (hamburgers!) "These food-borne illnesses have resulted in federal, state, and county health regulations requiring all ground beef to be cooked to a minimum of 158°F. This is the CRITICAL CONTROL POINT for ground meat, which includes the time and temperature necessary to assure destruction of E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria."

There ya go!

9. Jim Cordo said...

imho, if you eat a burger that comes from 50-100 different cows, like in Mcdonald's or Wendy's, it should be cooked well done. The handling is very important also. After I took a food handler course (including gross close up pictures of bacteria they called "Jerry the Germ") which was required to work in or own most restaurants, I was surprised anybody lived after eating out. Just sayin.'

I'm sure you passed with flying colors... never had a bad meal, or got sick after eating at Il Piccolo Pomo.

10. 1340 said...

Risks be damned!! I'm not a Tea Party guy, or a "wing nut," but I do like my burgers, and most beef, rare-to-medium rare. Is it just me or does the idea of any level of government dictating that choice sound absurd?

I dunno... you sound dangerously close to "wing-nuttiness" to me! What would your life... anyone's life... be like without Gum'mit there to show us the right (note lower-case) path?

Ol' son, you just ain't seein' the bigger picture, the greater good, and such!

11. Shawn said...

Went to the new Big City Burger this week and had the hottest wings around. They were done just right. Started to sweat on the third wing. Great job and the building looks great, too. Good luck and you will see me for lunch.

Yes, the building is a big improvement!

12. Adam Lippim said...

Thanks for heads up about spelling "West Hampton Beach" on Homepage - Fixed. Michael Jacobs - I want to give you some free wings on me - we made some changes and back to good old days. E-mail me directly and I will arrange it.

The "West Hamptons Beach" has not been fixed, #1, and, #2, what "good old days?"
– Dean

Email address is not published
Remember Me

Write the characters in the image above