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The South Williamsburg institution, serving steaks since 1887. If you haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for? A trip to their old school, classic New York dining hall is a rite of passage! They also have a fantastic and enormous burger. Cash Only.
Here’s their story:
When “Carl Luger’s Café, Billiards and Bowling Alley” was opened in 1887, the restaurant quickly became a neighborhood favorite in predominantly German Williamsburg. Peter Luger owned the establishment, while his nephew, Carl, manned the kitchen. Luger’s was not the only thing doing in the small Brooklyn neighborhood. With the opening of the Williamsburg Bridge in December of 1903, Manhattan became far more accessible and a new crowd of businessmen crossed the East River. It was not until 1920 that Sol Forman, a seventeen year old who had dropped out of high school to work full-time lighting street lamps, established Forman Family with his siblings just across the street from Carl Luger’s… When the restaurant fell into disrepair following the death of Peter Luger, Sol was faced with the unhappy task of finding another lunch spot for his clients. Instead, he decided to try his luck at the auction of Peter Luger’s, and was the only one who did; alone at the auction, Sol was able to purchase the restaurant for the price of the real estate. Soon enough, Sol had Peter Luger’s back to its former glory, and it’s been on top ever since. Still under Forman family management, the restaurant has been rated the top steakhouse in New York since 1984, has earned itself a Michelin Star, and has joined the ranks of American classics.
“Still the one and only”, this circa-1887 Williamsburg “monument to meat” sets the bar with its “buttery” house-aged beef (“they define porterhouse”) served by “cantankerous” career waiters in a “busy” “old-time” German beer hall setting; the “rough-and-tumble” style “only adds to the charm”, but prices are “stiff” and they don’t take plastic, so come with “a lot of cash.”
There are plenty of other steakhouses you can go to for a better all around meal. It’s simple and easy here: bacon, steak, dessert and off to bed. The service is gruff and cold. The food comes quickly – it’s no secret that they’re rushing you along to make room for the next hungry family. Also, it’s cash only. Deal with it. That’s the drill at Luger’s. It’s been this way for 120 years and is precisely why it’s so awesome. A small price to pay for (arguably) the best bite of steak you’ll ever eat in your life.
The most popular order at Peter Luger is a cheeseburger — American cheese being the only option for an extra $1.50 over the hamburger’s $14.95 price tag. I am here to tell you to skip the cheese entirely. The cheeseburger is excellent by any measure, but it pales compared to the elegant purity of the hamburger. While I am a staunch advocate for American as the ideal cheese on a burger, the beef here is simply too lush and flavorful to require it. In fact the cheese serves to obscure much of the gentle gaminess inherent in the dry aged component.