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A Hamburger Today

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Watch Out, Kevin Pang

Daniel Zemans becomes an official Chicago burger critic.

By Helen Rosner

Levine Gets Serious; Playbill Plays Dirty; Automat Could Be Out

Ed Levine launches food portal in cooperation with A Hamburger Today, Amateur Gourmet, Slice, and others. [Ed Levine Eats] Feud between Bamn! owners could mean end of automat renaissance. [NYS] Actors reportedly bribed to recommend advertiser restaurants in Playbill. [Amateur Gourmet] Club crackdowns continue after Sean Bell shooting. [NYDN] State Liquor Authority to perform background checks on bar employees. [NYP]

Heroic Blogger Saves Burger Lovers From Winter of Discontent

Adam Kuban, editor of A Hamburger Today and a Yahoo Food blogger, has solved a problem that has perplexed New York's burgerphiles for a long time now: Shake Shack will close for the winter on December 1, and the city will once again be stripped of its most acclaimed burger. How can one hope to sate that singular Shake Shack craving? Tantalizingly, Blue Smoke (owned, like the Shack, by Danny Meyer) uses the same meat mixture — but their burgers are twice the size, making for an almost grotesque substitute. Ordering one of them is like asking to borrow dad's Corvette and getting the Lincoln; it's great, but it's the opposite of what you have in mind. Inspired in a rather literal way by King Solomon, Kuban has devised a bold and brilliant work-around: Ask the kitchen to split the burger in half. Of course, were it not for the cooperation of the restaurant, all would be lost. Blue Smoke general manager Mark Maynard-Parisi tells Kuban that "the restaurant is happy to make two 4.5-ounce burgers for the same price as the single nine-ounce sandwich on its menu ($11.50, comes with fries; cheese and bacon each $1 extra)." Not only do you get a nice approximation of the Shake Shack's burger in winter, you also don't have to stand in line for it. If the hamburger world had a meritorious public-service award, Adam Kuban would have just earned it. Blue Smoke on the Cheap [A Hamburger Today]