Where’s the Beef?

Or: What I learned waiting in line at Bobby Flay's new burger joint in West Philly

I am standing in a line that snakes around three times before stretching out the door.


Not just any burger, I tell myself. A burger from Bobby Flay’s new burger joint, on 39th and Walnut. Since its April 6 opening, Bobby’s Burger Palace has been drawing flash mobs at meal times. [SIGNUP]

Now, I like a good burger as much as the next carnivore, but I haven’t encountered a line this long since my last tango with airport security. I loathe waiting for anything — especially if it’s edible — and yet, here I am, cooling my heels at 1:30 on a Thursday afternoon.

This had better be the best burger in the history of the known world. Or at least of Walnut Street.

Forty minutes later, I finally reach the counter. I place my order for a Classic Palace burger (American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion) and a black-and-white shake. I pay my $12.42 check, take a number, find a seat.

After 10 minutes, the waitress brings my meal. The burger is tasty, but hardly the best I’ve ever had. And it doesn’t even come with fries. The shake, albeit delicious, is kiddie size. What was I expecting for five bucks?

Scanning the paper menu, there is not a single reference to the surname of the Food Network’s “Throwdown!” star. There’s a Philadelphia Burger and a Miami Burger and an L.A. Burger and a Dallas Burger, but there’s no Bobby Flay Burger.

I look around the restaurant for something, anything, that would link the eatery to Bobby Flay. Zero.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’ve never heard of Bobby Flay. You wander into Bobby’s Burger Palace, wondering why there’s a line and who this Bobby is. You can’t believe they’re getting $7.50 for a Crunchburger (double American cheese, potato chips), but you order it, anyway.

It’s good, but not $7.50 good. As you leave, you ask yourself, “Why did I wait so long for an overpriced burger in a crappy bun?”

And that, my friends, is called getting Flayed.

GAIL SHISTER writes for The Philly Post every Tuesday.