Mon-Fri, 7am-7pm; Sat, 7am-5pm; Sun, closed
E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.
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44th St. to 54th St., Third Ave. to Broadway
This venue is closed.
Until time travel becomes feasible, there’s always the Primeburger, an authentic diner that’s frozen in 1965. Everything is unchanged, from the faux-dark-wood paneling to the terrazzo floors and once-futuristic conical lighting fixtures. There are 24 individual box seats with swing-out trays that look like they came from an ancient amusement-park ride. Even the menu is old and predictably dependable: It’s all burgers, classic sandwiches, and a few fried dishes, like chicken-in-a-basket. Most of the fare is ordinary, but the honest, handcrafted burgers have been keeping people coming back, literally, for generations. The modestly sized quarter-pounders are made from freshly ground lean chuck; they’re moist and tasty but do not require a three-napkin cleanup job. The fries are hot and crisp, but the French-fried onions (not rings) are superior. It’s the cracker-meal dusting prior to frying that makes them unusually crunchy. For desserts you can choose among exceptionally flaky pies made daily in house by Ed Adams, a 60-year baking veteran. The apple and cherry versions are expertly balanced between sweet and sour; they’re best à la mode. Situated across the street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Primeburger gets especially crowded during the holidays. After all, it’s a pilgrimage site.Recommended Dishes
Primeburger deluxe, $9.95; French fried onions, $3.95; pie à la mode, $5.25