I’m a notorious cheapskate when it comes to lunch, and a devoted follower of Midtown Lunch as a result. Many of the places in my regular rotation come from the recommendations of the website.
So when they announced the arrival of a suspiciously Five Guys-like burger setup in the back of the 2 Bros. Pizza location nearest me, of course I had to check it out.
2 Bros. is known specifically for its cheap pizza: $1 cheese slices, and they’re regular-size eighths of a large pie, not thinner or grandma slices. The front counter was lined with freshly-baked pizzas, produced seemingly assembly-line by a cople of guys, stacks of dough in tins awaiting their near-future transformation.
I walked to the back counter and grill. As you can see from the big board (and note the cook’s height relative to that), most of your choices are strikingly similar to your choices from Five Guys. Several dollars cheaper, but strikingly similar.
Both times I came here for lunch recently, I chose what I’d normally get at any such place: double cheeseburger and medium fries, which costs $6.50 currently. It’s essentially the No. 4 special ($6.75) that comes with a drink, but I didn’t get the soda or water, so the guy at the register knocked a little off the a la carte price without any complaint from me.
Everything is cooked to order, and unlike most cheap burger places or deli grills, the grill guy here left the meat to cook without mutilating it. Sure, he used the hot iron to speed things along, but he didn’t mash the patties with it nor commit the cardinal sin of chopping into the meat with the spatula. It takes a couple minutes longer, but it’s how it should be.
As with Five Guys, your best bet is to stick to the Medium fries. Large is way too much potato for one normal person.
Also as with Five Guys, a bunch of extra fries are chucked into the bag, leading to the signature look by the time one gets back to one’s desk.
That’s a fine-looking foil-wrapped burger, and a lot of extra fries.
Let’s start with the French fries. The fries, as you can see, are more of the steak-fry variety. They aren’t seasoned much beyond a healthy salting, and you can smell the grease. They get a single, long frying, and it shows in the look and taste. In a word, terrible. The first visit, the fries, though they don’t begin to cook until you order, and are emptied into the bag with a heavy hand, were not really edible; sure, they were cooked, but they were limp, lifeless, mealy potato sticks. Even the couple I ate prior to starting the walk home were bad. The second trip they had improved, with lots of crispy small tips in among the larger chunks of potato. There were signs of life occasionally, but the greasiness weighs them down and apparently doesn’t get hot enough to really deliver a quality fry. Frankly, I think I’ll be skipping these next time.
Unwrapped, and with allowance for the walk back to the office, this is a good-looking burger unwrapped, too: the cheese has cooled considerably in this picture, but it was well-melted when it was wrapped up. A healthy amount of grilled onions were added; I also received hot sauce, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and jalapeno pepper — amusingly, the bottom bun was dressed with four slices of fresh jalapeno, meticulously placed, both times I ordered this.
Granted, this isn’t LaFrieda, or any “special blend” meat, or even anything above what I can get at the grocery store. But that’s kind of the charm — it’s what I could do at home if I had the drive. Well, that and the pile of condiments and vegetables they offer. It’s a good double burger, juicy both times I’ve had it, once to the point where the bun failed. If it isn’t busy, I do recommend asking for it less than the medium-well I’ve managed both times, however.
2 Bros. Pizza’s burger counter is a great value for lunch. While the quality isn’t quite Five Guys caliber, it’s also not nearly the same price. It’s one of those places that just hits the spot once in a while — a big cheeseburger made entirely of beef at a fair price. I can heartily recommend the 2 Bros. burger to the value- (but not health-) conscious Midtown Lunchgoer.