HUGE Shoutout to Jared from Food & City NYC and Jabber from Komeeda for having me! Shoutout to the winners and new NYC Taco Showdown champions, Coney Shack

Shoutout to all of the other participants as well, this was a great event! Taco Mahal NYC, Choza Taqueria, Pampano Taqueria & Tac N Roll NYC.

Had TONS of fun at Kommeda’s Chef Showdown V event. Check out the re-cap and let me know what you think! Shoutout to everyone and I met and to the founder of Komeeda, Jabber for having me.


Uncle Mario’s – My favorite pizza spot in NYC.

When you’re from a city like Providence, RI, you get spoiled by all of the great options there are for pizza. I even did a Providence blind pizza taste test with some friends for Beyond The Eats before.

I had to start with that note to make it clear that I’m a VERY picky person when it comes to good pizza. But hey, at least it’s easy for me to admit. I’ve tried pizza from a lot of different spots in NYC. Everywhere from the popular Artichoke Basille’s (which I’m NOT a fan of) to the even more popular Prince Street Pizza, to all of the dollar slice joints.

Now, before I mention a little more about Uncle Mario’s, I have to point out one IMPORTANT distinction. My favorite SLICE in NYC is at Prince Street Pizza, but my favorite overall pizza spot is Uncle Mario’s. You can go there, pick whatever you’d like, & it’s likely to be a solid choice. 

Now that that’s clear…

Here’s how I found out about Uncle Mario’s

Uncle Mario’s is a pizza joint in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of NYC. I found out about it through my friend, before I ever lived in NYC.

During my internship in New York, back in 2013, my friend Kyle drove up to NYC for the same internship program I was involved with. During the ride up he asked “hey, do you mind if we stop at Uncle Mario’s? It’s my favorite pizza spot in the city” At the time, I didn’t think anything of it.

My thoughts were more along the lines of “sure, why not, I love pizza & he’s driving anyway” I Also knew that he was from Rhode Island too, so I knew he’d be a tough pizza critic.

We got to the city, found parking after a few laps around the block, and walked into Uncle Mario’s. I ordered a grandma slice and remembered thinking it was good, but not great.

We left Uncle Mario’s, did all the shit we had to do for our internship, then went back home to Rhode Island.

Fast forward a couple of years…

now I’m living in NYC, eating like I’m 18 again, and I had been to tons of other pizza places. I ordered the grandma slice and a buffalo chicken slice because I was “feeling experimental” like the Big Sean song say.

Let me cut through the bullshit and long explanation – I fucking loved it. I actually ordered another buffalo chicken slice right after I ate the first one. Clearly, my taste had changed. 

I thought “Could this be my new favorite?” saying something is your favorite when there are probably 300 more places to get the same thing in a city is bold, so I held off.

I went back to Uncle Mario’s to try again the following week. I had what I like to call my “objective taste buds” ready. I decided to throw a curve at Uncle Mario’s greatness by ordering something that I never do…

I ordered a slice with pulled pork on it because I thought it would just be OK, but nope. Amazing.

In the following weeks, I continued to try other slices from Uncle Mario’s and they were all great.

Yeah, this is my favorite pizza place.

I proceeded to obnoxiously tweet about Uncle Mario’s over and over like I tend to do when I find new things I love. I also admitted to my friend Kyle that he put me on game STUPID EARLY.

What pizza places do you like in NYC? Is there somewhere that is better slice for slice? Let me know in the comments!

– Rouk

Hard Times Sundaes Burger is back on Beyond The Eats, and even better. 

I edited this entire video pretty quickly and decided to throw it up on my site on a Sunday night. I’ll probably update this writing, but for now, this is a wrap up of my 2 (dream) days in the life of Hard Times Sundaes. From the two-year anniversary party to Time Out New York’s Battle Of The Burger event. 



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Rhode Island isn’t like many other places….


Among many other things, Rhode Island is known for its beautiful summers, fresh seafood, & beautiful people (if we’re being real here).


But what it’s not known for is an established bbq culture.

binge bbq grill, newport, RI


Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but if you say the word “barbecue” to most people in Rhode Island, they’ll probably think of a cookout with family and friends, which isn’t how bbq is perceived in other parts of the country. Why? I’m not sure, but I’d say it’s because the seasons change drastically in Rhode Island. Winters get so cold that your car doors freeze and the summers are so humid that you want to take three showers a day! This inconsistency in weather probably contributes to why the bbq secene isn’t the most hardcore. 


In places like Texas for example, the word “barbecue” is more associated with the slow cooking, beer drinking, super high tech’ smoker type of bbq. It’s a serious sport and you don’t fuck with people’s barbecue game.


To me, The Ocean State BBQ festival marks the beginning of something that is new and exciting. Something that has the potential to eventually shift the culture and get people in the area excited about new things.

Galloway's Catering & Prepared Foods


I got to the Ocean State BBQ Festival and had no clue what to expect….


I was still recovering from one too many drinks from the night before, so the fact that I was about to eat tons of good bbq was heaven sent.


The first thing I noticed is that everyone was VERY friendly. I got a warm greeting as soon as I walked into the event and started looking for Andy who is the organizer of the Festival. Naturally, Andy was busy tending to the event, so I decided to take a look around.



Before shooting at events like this one, I like to walk around the area just to get and idea of exactly what and how much I would like to capture, and something interesting began to happen….


I started realizing that this wasn’t your regular ol’ bbq with a few grills from Lowe’s and good meats. No. These people had HUGE smokers, some made by hand, some built by family, some a result of a Kickstarter campaign. HUGE charcoal and wood grills, & meat that had been smoked for 12, 14, & even 24 hours straight! (hmm..  I suddenly wonder if any of it was aged)



To be honest, I underestimated the event. I quickly realized that there were a lot of good things around for me to capture. I took a look around and immediately said to myself…

“shit, this event is the real deal”.


After some wandering, I was able to find Andy Cutler, the event organizer. Andy was extremely friendly and a great personality for the event overall. He made sure I had everything I needed from food to drinks, to interesting people to capture and questions to ask. He was very helpful throughout my whole time there (Thank you Andy!).


I began to shoot and tried to get an interview from each of the vendors and participants. I came really close, but missed about 2 – 3 vendors (which I’m sorry about). Through these vendors, I learned sooo much. I can’t really find the right words to express how much I picked up about bbq in general. I’ve always imagined having a crazy bbq setup at home (once I actually have a home), so I soaked the information up.

Great Northern BBQ RI


I learned about the different types of smokers, the capacity they’re able to hold, and even how to tend to different ones. Some were more “set it and forget it”, some were tall, some were wide, some were built by hand, some were bought to cook specific meats, it was a lot.



This event was full of great people and made me look forward to the growing bbq culture in Rhode Island. For anyone reading this and wondering if they missed out, the short answer is yes. This event was very unique and you shouldn’t miss the next one, trust me. 

Thank you for checking out this experience. -Rouk


Another year means another summer in NYC. 

Longer days, longer nights, harder drinks, more drinks, more friends, & of course the Big Apple Barbecue block party!!

But first, what is The Big Apple Barbecue?  

2016 Big Apple BBQ Block Party


2016 marks the 14th annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party. It is an annual barbecue festival that is held in New York City at Madison Square Park.

In the park, there are games, barbecue related samples/products, musical performances, a shaded area with seats, and a beer and wine station among other things. However, on the outskirts of the park, in the street and along the sidewalks are where the food and fun truly lie.

Lining the sidewalks are some of the most well-known Pitmasters from all over the country who come and show off what they can do! This year, there were 14 contestants. I listed them below and you can read more about each pitmaster by clicking on their name, and visit their restaurant’s website by clicking on the name of the restaurant. 


Beef Rib @bigapplebbq #bbqlife #langsmokers photo – @docsconz

A photo posted by Billy Durney (@wdurney) on

Have a smokin good Fathers Day weekend y’all!

A photo posted by ubonsbbq (@ubonsbbq) on

John stage working the grill, slathering up some #ribs @bigapplebbq #alwaysgoodsmoke #bbq #bigapplebbq

A photo posted by Dinosaur BBQ (@dinosaur_bbq) on

Legendary Pitmaster Mike Mills, of @17thstreetbbq, showing off a beautiful @cheshirepork heritage hog. ? #bigapplebbq

A photo posted by Big Apple Barbecue Block Party (@bigapplebbq) on

A photo posted by Sam Jones (@samjones1980) on

A photo posted by Mariana Vergara (@marrrrri_) on

A photo posted by John Sconzo (@docsconz) on

They bring their squads, their smokers, their best meats, their recipes and their game faces. They feed thousands of hungry new yorkers as they line up for sample-sized plates that are for sale.

Unlike other barbecue festivals that have judges and give away prizes in order from greatest to least favorite in different categories, The Big Apple BBQ Block Party is more of a “you try it and be the judge” kind of event, which I’m assuming not many people mind. Since the first time I heard about The Big Apple BBQ, I couldn’t wait to attend. Three years ago, before moving to New York, I was in my hometown, Providence, Rhode Island
scanning through any pictures and videos that I could find of what I felt was a dream event called The Big Apple BBQ.

2016 Big Apple BBQ Block Party

I had Promised myself that I would catch this huge event one day because I love barbecue so much and genuinely wanted to learn more about it.

Fast forward – Three years and three Big Apple BBQ’s later I’m living in New York City, where I’ve been able to take full advantage of the event which is one of the largest barbecue festivals in the United States.

After my first two experiences, I saw that this event was everything that I had been hoping for and more. I was able to try great food from pitmasters from around the country, began to learn about smokers, techniques, and other real barbecue equipment, and was able to meet some really cool people from all over in the process.

But for my third trip, I really wanted to do something different. 

2016 Big Apple BBQ Block Party

By the time my third Big Apple BBQ experience came around, I felt that I wanted to capture the experience for people who are like I was before. I was just at home looking for the best pictures, videos, and any other coverage on the event that I could find, and although I did get an idea of what the event was like somewhat, I couldn’t find anything that I was truly looking for, or that really made me feel like I knew what the event was about, so I decided to try to help by making it on my own.

The day of The Big Apple Barbecue was scorching hot. I took my camera out and tried to get some good shots of the people, food, and the event in general while also attempting to not melt away. Soon after the event, I wrote this post, put the footage together, and uploaded a video that I feel represents The Big Apple BBQ Block Party much better than anything I’ve seen. 

If you’re watching this, I encourage you to leave your comments and/or your thoughts.


2016 Big Apple BBQ Block Party

If you’re thinking about trying to make it to The 15th Annual – 2017 Big Apple BBQ Block Party in NYC, it is highly suggested that you do! 

– rouk  



I’ve been to over 30 NYC burger joints in search of the most delicious burgers. Use my map to find a decent burger joint, and scroll down to see my (very) honest opinions of each one.  


I moved to New York City three years ago, and like most people who are new to the city, I was ready to adventure starting with food (and bars). I’ve always been a fan of burgers because they give me such a natural comforting feeling, so of course I wanted to find a really good burger, but had no clue how to find THE BEST NYC burger joint. However, I knew I had to find it so the quest began.  

I started at the places that everyone talks about like Shake Shack, JG Melon, & Bill’s Bar & Burger, but eventually had to branch out to some other establishments. I’ll probably update this writing, but as of now, I’ve been to over 25 NYC burger joints. I’ve had styles from the super thick steak burger, to the thin super old school diner style, to the modern age Shake Shack style that’s super mushy and has the cheese melted in nicely. 

Although venturing this city and trying all of these burgers has been a blast,

what good would my journey be if I didn’t share it with other people who might be looking to do the same?

For my first post in my #eatwithrouk section where I’ll be sharing reviews and suggestions, I figured I would start with my strong point, burgers.

Whether you’re new to the city like I was, traveling from another country, or just taking a quick ride up to NYC from somewhere close, I genuinely hope you can use this map and the suggestions in it to guide your New York City burger experience.

If you would like more information about any of these places, have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me via my contact page. I check my e-mail often.

Last but certainly not least, I would appreciate if you tagged #beyondtheeats and reached out to me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to let me know how you used my map if you did. I’m always looking for ways to improve upon it and would love your help and/or comments. 

– rouk

Burgers on this list: 

Two 8 Two Burger  Grade: 4/5

282 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Cooked perfectly every. single. time. Well seasoned. 

The burgers at Two 8 Two are on the thicker side, but not like a full on steak type of burger. They do an amazing job of cooking the burger exactly how you ordered it, so my fellow medium fans, rejoice! The patties are simple but well seasoned, and the beef is quality 

Pro tip: Get the greek fries, they’re amazing.

Hard Times Sundaes – Grade: 5/5
630 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Top 5 on anyone’s list. Need I say more?!

The burger at Hard Times Sundaes is delicious every time, really, the consistency is impressive.  

I classify this burger with the other “Shake Shack style” burgers of the world. Super soft, cheese gets melted to perfection and is guaranteed to make all your friends jealous as soon as it is posted to Instagram.

Pro tip: If you like Caramelized onions, GET THEM ADDED ON, the caramelized onions are slow cooked and have a hint of sweet flavor that go along with this burger perfectly. 

Shoutout to the owner of Hard Times Sundaes, Andrew Zurica. Extremely diligent and personable guy who I interviewed for Beyond The Eats in the past. You can check out the interview here.


A photo posted by Rouk (@beyondtheeats) on

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

Burger Joint – Grade: 3.5/5
119 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019

Tucked away at the bottom of the Le Parker Meridien Hotel, Burger Joint is a small but well-known establishment. I got slightly lost the first time I went here, but asked a couple of people some questions and figured out where it is.

The burger here is very simple but good. Not as thick as a “steak” type of burger, but it’s definitely a medium size. It’s topped with ketchup and mustard, and the cheese comes melted perfectly.

Pro tip: the fries are a must!

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

Dutch Boy Burger – Grade: 2/5

766 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238 

Well, to be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with this burger.

It was dry, not cooked to medium as requested, and overall just not very memorable or incredibly enjoyable. Maybe I’ll go back soon to give you a more in-depth review? 

If you’re in the area, this burger is a go! However, if you have the ability to explore, I’d say to head somewhere else.



A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

Pizza Loves Emily Grade: 5/5

919 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11238


It deserves all caps.

If you’re into burger lists and what’s “hot” in the city burger scene, in even the smallest capacity, you’ve probably seen this burger on every burger list that exists. Literally.. every single one.

The Emmy burger is a dry aged beef patty, with caramelized onions, covered in their secret sauce and served on a pretzel bun. MUST TRY.

Pro tip: Try the burger

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Pauls Da Burger Joint – Grade: 3.8/5

131 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

I’ve been to Paul’s on 3 different occasions, and I wanted to find a reason to like it more than I actually do every single time because they’re sooo close to being amazing.

The burger size is good, it’s cooked well, and they have a ton of options for what you want to put on your burger. The downside? The burgers aren’t very well seasoned here. I never want to believe it and keep trying, but I always leave feeling the same way.

If they ever season their patties properly, I’ll jump back into this post and update.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

American Cut  – Grade 5/5

363 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Ok, the burger here is just UNFAIR.

I should start by saying it’s an “off-menu” burger, and they only serve a set amount of them every day. They usually announce how many they have available every day via their Twitter, and the number is typically under 20 – get there early to be safe!

This is definitely within the top 3 burgers I’ve had in NYC, but also feel like a lot of steakhouse burgers should be judged on a different scale because they tend to use a lot more/sophisticated ingredients.

For example, the burger blend is a mix of brisket, short rib, and dry aged rib eye. It is topped with bourbon cooked caramelized onions and served on a pretzel bun (but did someone say more bourbon please).

Pro tip: The fries are more like potato wedges. 

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Fritzl’s Lunch Box – Grade: 3.8/5

73 Irving Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237 

Update: Fritzl’s lunchbox has recently closed. Sad to hear it.

I’ve been here twice and each time I go my burger is cooked perfectly.

Outside of the delicious relish topping, this burger is fairly straightforward. It’s served on a sesame seed bun, and the cheese is always melted down perfectly.

I’d recommend going here if you want a burger that’s just consistently good. Plain and simple.

Pro tip: Get the limeade

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Bill’s Bar & Burger – Grade: 4/5

22 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

I’ve been here twice and had “The Fat Cat” on both occasions as they claimed it was rated number 1 by CNN not too long ago.

It’s a great burger that features caramelized onions and cheese. If you’re a fan of bacon, you should also get bacon on the side, they even put some fat from the bacon in the little side cup.

Best I’ve had? No. Top 5? No. But it’s just a damn good burger

Pro tip: Get the side of bacon to add on.

A photo posted by Rouk (@beyondtheeats) on  

Black Iron Burger – Grade: 3.5/5

540 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009

A good friend of mine suggested Black Iron to me. He said his experience was great, and that this burger needs to make my list when I got around to making it.

I made the trek to the Lower East Side to try it the following weekend and was surprised that I had never heard of Black Iron considering how solid it was.

Again, this is a really good burger, but not one that I would crave necessarily. However, I would crave the loaded fries and they are HIGHLY recommended. My favorite part of my meal at Black Iron.

Pro tip: Get the loaded fries.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Shake Shack – Grade: 5/5

409 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 


You’ve probably already been here, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!?!

Not saying it’s the flat out best, but this is my personal favorite without a doubt.

No matter which location you go to, what time it is, or if the person over the grill is pissed that day, this burger is one of the most consistent in the game. Delicious every. single. time.

Their shakes and other items are delicious as well, so don’t be afraid to get a side.

Pro tip: You have to ask for onions if you like them on your burger

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Genuine Roadside (Gotham West Market) – Grade: 5/5

600 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036

Ok, I didn’t intend for this burger to be right after Shake Shack on this list considering the similarities, but hey, we’re here now.

The burger at Genuine Roadside reminds me of the Shack Burger, like a lot. It’s on a Martin’s potato roll, cheese is melted onto it, and the beef is very fatty, and has a secret sauce that rivals Shake Shack’s own.

We know there’s only one Shake Shack, but to compare this burger to it, speaks volumes. 


A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on 

Dumont Burger – Grade: 4.8/5

314 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11221

Thick and delicious are the first two words that come to mind.

The burger at Dumont Burger is a little bit more pricey that your typical “affordable” burger joint, but is well worth it. It’s a thicker style burger that is sure to leave you satisfied. The burger is quality, and the “bun to meat ratio” is on point. No fancy ingredients, no big thrills, just a hearty burger experience. 

Pro tip: Get the fries with garlic and parmesan on them. Not only are they delicious, but they make for an interesting Instagram

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

No picture could do it justice, I tried. #eatwithrouk

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Blue CollarGrade: 2/5

160 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211


Was impressed by neither the burger nor fries here.

The burger had no real flavor to it, and the fries were standard, not perfectly crispy, not soggy.

This place is ok. 

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Smash Burger – Grade: 3.5/5 

80 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Although Shake Shack owns the “smashed burger style”, Smashburger has figured out a different way for them to do it well.

The burger itself is pretty straightforward and served on an egg bun unless you request something else. 

Pro tip: Get the SmashFries. They’re covered in oil, garlic, and rosemary and they’re amazing. Admittedly, I probably like the fries more than I like the burger.


A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

5 Napkin Burger – Grade: 3.5/5

150 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

5 Napkin burger is cool, but you can usually find a better burger close by because they’re in high traffic/popular areas.

I might be jaded because the burger I had was overcooked both times, but I’m personally not too crazy about this burger.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Corner Bistro – Grade: 4.8/5

331 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014

In my top 5.

Corner Bistro looks and feels like a regular bar with shitty food, but that is clearly not the case. 

At Corner bistro, the burger is thick, juicy, always cooked correctly, and affordable. The fries are more thin than I prefer, but they’re always cooked to be perfectly crispy, so I can’t complain. 

Perfect spot for anyone who wants to go to an actual bar, but get a really good burger in the process.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

Umami Burger – Grade: 3.8/5

432 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10011

Surprisingly, my first time trying Umami Burger was in Los Angeles.

While visiting LA, a friend of mine asked if I’ve ever had the “manly burger” from Umami and he explained that it is his favorite burger. I knew there was a location in NYC, but had never bothered to try a regular burger from Umami Burger. I went just one time, and they were serving a special burger for a limited time called the Monte Cristo.

Anyway, we went to umami and I ordered the “manly burger”. It was delicious. The manly burger is covered in Bacon, fried onions, and cheddar cheese, and yes it is as good as it sounds. 

Highly recommended.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Petey’s Burger – Grade: 3/5

30-17 30th Ave, Astoria, NY 11102

Petey’s is sometimes called “The In-N-Out of the east coast” and the name is VERY fitting.

 Although it’s not as good as the original In-N-Out burger the ingredients and overall flavors are the same. The “animal style sauce”, the presentation, and the overall way it’s prepared are just like it. 

Craving In-N-Out but stuck in NYC? This is your spot.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Burger Bistro – Grade: 4/5

177 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217 

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about this spot is Groupon. It’s almost always on there so you should take a look before visiting.

 Now that we have that out of the way…

This is a solid burger. It’s unique because you can taste/smell the flame broiled flavor immediately, which isn’t a very popular style as most burgers now are made on either griddle or in a skillet.

 Cool burger and definitely worth trying whether you get a deal on it or not.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

67 Burger – Grade: 3/5

67 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

First thought: Definitely get the sweet potato fries, they’re made perfectly here.

I’ve been here twice, and my burger was overcooked on both occasions.

Outside of that, I’d say my burger was ok… As I sit here wondering what else to say about it, all that comes to mind is “meh”, so yeah. Will go back soon so that I can give you a real review. 

Pro tip: Get the sweet potato fries

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on 

44 x 10 – Grade: 4.8/5

622 10th Ave New York, NY 10036

Why in the hell have I not been back here yet?!

The burger at 44 X 10 is DELICIOUS. It is served on an English muffin, but the burger isn’t too much for the bread even though it’s very thick.

The cheese is melted down perfectly, and it comes with some perfectly crisp fries as well. 

I’ll stop writing now. I’m going to 44 X 10.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Brindle Room – Grade: 5/5

277 E 10th St, New York, NY 10009

Definitely sits within my top 3, and I don’t think  it will ever be taken out.

The burger at Brindle room is just amazing. Thick, VERY flavorful from the skillet they use, and the fries are perfectly crispy.

Although Brindle Room gets acknowledgment, I don’t think they get enough. 

In my top 3 is all I can say.  

Black Tap – Grade: 3/5

529 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

Lately, this place has been mentioned everywhere due to their milkshakes. So lucky I was able to try this burger before the lines for just the milkshake were unfathomable.

Been here once and was not impressed. However, I do feel like they deserve another try.

I’ve Been here once and was not impressed by their burger. However, I do feel like they deserve another try.

My burger was definitely undercooked, and the fries were soggy. 

The bright side is, the flavors were there for sure. I’m not going to blast Black Tap, just going to say it was an off day because that’s really what it seemed like.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Wilma Jean  – Grade: 4/5

345 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

I wasn’t ready for how good this burger was. At all. Very unexpected. 

Similar to the burger at The Burger Bistro, Wilma Jean had that charred taste that I don’t prefer but can appreciate.

Also not a huge fan of sesame seed buns, but I can appreciate them as well. 

They have a good burger here, but I might be slightly jaded by a bad customer service experience if we’re being honest.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on  

Bubby’s – Grade: 3/5

120 Hudson St, New York, NY 10013

Not a “burger joint” exactly, but they do have a good burger here. Not great, not A-1, but it’s good.

Pretty thick, has some well-cooked onions, and a simple sesame seed bun. Not much to say beyond that, but it’s good.

Bubby’s is a great option if you’re looking for a restaurant that can satisfy many different people with many different tastes.

A photo posted by ‘rouk (@itsrouk) on 

J.G Melon – Grade: 4.8/5 

89 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012

As I write this sentence, I’m realizing JG Melon is in my personal top 5 (wow).

Everyone raves about this burger for good reason.

The burger at JG melon isn’t exactly thick, but I’d say “mid-sized”. It’s always soft, cooked to perfection, and tastes even better when topped with bacon. 

Another HUGE plus at JG Melon is the burgers are reasonably priced. Not always the case at popular NYC burger joints.

A photo posted by Rouk (@beyondtheeats) on  

HousemanGrade: 4/5 

508 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013

Fairly new on the burger scene but making a lot of noise is Houseman in Tribeca. Also not a “burger joint” but serving up great burgers. 

I really enjoyed this burger because it’s so unique.

It’s topped with a caramelized onion and mushroom mix that is (forgive me in advance for using the phrase), “to die for”. Besides the fact that the burger itself is really good, who thinks to make a mix of caramelized onions and mushrooms? You geniuses.

Houseman, I’ll be back.  

The Spotted PigGrade 3.5/5

314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

Ok… the hype over this burger, I get it, it is quality.

I’m not a huge fan because I felt the blue cheese that comes on top overpowered the taste of the actual burger so I scraped it right off. The overly powerful blue cheese kind of messed up the experience for me. 

Also not a fan of the shoestring fries as they were kind of tough to approach. Do I slowly eat them one by one? Do I take a huge handful and just stuff my face? Do I use a fork? Why do these taste like chips? Regular fries, please and thank you!

 Will I be back to The Spotted Pig for one of these? Ehh maybe.  

Trademark – Grade: 3/5 

110 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

New burger joint alert.

Trademark is decent. Great if you’re in the area, otherwise I wouldn’t really go out of my way to come here.

Considering this is a new burger spot, I’m assuming they’ll change things as they get more reactions from customers. But, as of now, it’s an average burger.

Little too much ketchup and mustard on it, it’s really sloppy but not in the good sloppy way, and the fries were just a tiny bit too soggy.


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        You don’t like apple pie?

How could you not like apple pie?! I think I can speak for most people when I say it brings a very warm and nostalgic feeling. I didn’t used to eat apple pie very often, but after shooting the apple pie contest, I gained a new found respect for it, and I have definitely enjoyed my fair share of pies since. No ice cream included yet, but ask me about that in a week. At the apple pie contest, I was lucky enough to not only learn about making pies, but I also got to meet some cool people who work with food in various ways which I am very thankful for. outsideGG's

I kind of (luckily) stumbled upon the apple pie contest. One morning, I was reading through my e-mail and saw an e-mail from GG’s. The flyer was well designed, and on it were details for an apple pie contest. As I continued to read the flyer, I saw the e-mail address of a woman named Eva and reached out. To be honest, I thought she would say
no to my request of shooting the event, but luckily, that didn’t stop me from asking. I sent the e-mail off thinking something along the lines of “well it’s worth a try!”. The day after, I received an e-mail back with a few questions. After those were answered, I got the ok! I was amped. Special shoutout to Eva and Mona Creative for letting me shoot this. 

Opies3n the day of the apple pie contest, I got there pretty early (read: very early). Early enough that people were surprised that I was there for the apple pie contest (and yes that was a little awkward). I stepped outside and got some shots of GG’s to burn time. After 45 minutes, I went back inside and Eva looks and me and says, “I don’t know what to expect of this event”, meanwhile, I was just happy to be there shooting something cool. Slowly but surely, people began to file in. There ended up being 14 different pies, and they were all unique in their own way, but they all had one thing in common – deliciousness!

It was a night full of laughs, light booze, and great pies. What I found very interesting was how the crowd meshed together in its own way. Although not everyone knew each other, it was the type of environment where it didn’t feel crazy to just walk up to someone and say hi. That was my favorite part of shooting this event.pies4

This was the first of what will hopefully be many apple pie contests. Who knows, maybe I’ll get in the lab for a year and participate in next year’s competition. I might just have some tricks up my sleeve because I got to ask some questions.

 Thank you for reading this, thank you for (hopefully) watching the video. If you have any constructive feedback or general comments, I’m all ears and you can find me on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

If you like this post, please share it. I’d really appreciate it.

– ‘rouk

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12/21/2015 – 6:28AM

Holy s*** it’s finally up.

As I upload this first experience to YouTube, and I get mentally ready to share this with all of you, I can’t help but to think about what a journey creating all of this has been. A few months ago, I began to think about the type of stuff I wanted to have for you to watch for my launch date. Strangely, I couldn’t get my home of Providence, Rhode Island out of my head. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for 3 years now, but have so much pride for the city that I come from that I knew it had to be involved in some way from day 1. I immediately thought about doing something with
pizza because the Providence pizza game is immaculate/undefeated/the best/fire/lit –  I’ll let you choose how to describe it here.




At the time, I just knew that I wanted to involve pizza somehow/someway and record a video, so I let my mind just chew on the idea as I so often do. Fast forward about a week ( even though I honestly have no clue how much time was in between), It was a warm morning and I was on the A – train heading to work. Suddenly, a large group of very f****** annoying high school students get on the train. After some light thoughts on  how annoying I must’ve been (read: was)  in high school, I overheard one of them say something like “I bet you wouldn’t eat that if you were blindfolded”. It immediately clicked and I suddenly wasn’t as mad at these children (read: devils).


The Blind Pizza #Squad

But, in all seriousness, Providence has some amazing pizza spots and I felt like this would be a good chance to shine some light on that. I contacted some friends who I thought would be good for the video, and everyone loved the idea so I thought I was on the right path. On the day of the actual shoot, a few people didn’t show up so I asked Hil if he’d step in. SO glad that he said yes, because him and Sabrina together were funny as f***, it worked well. I knew Ben was gon’ be Ben so that was that, knew Annie would just naturally say something worth capturing, & asked Okie to join in because anything could go from 0-100 when he’s around (I’ve seen it happen). There were so many laughs and so much background commentary that I couldn’t cut it all out, which I think is a good problem. We had a lot of fun, and I hope you have at least half as much fun watching as we had eating cold pizza. I planned for this video to be shorter, but I had a hard time trying to cut too much out just to fit a quota I set for myself. That’s stupid.

Thank you for reading this, thank you for (hopefully) watching the video. If you have any constructive feedback or comments, I’m all ears and you can find me on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. I also love meeting new people, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me via my contact page.

If you like this post, please share it. I’d really appreciate it.