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Andrew Zimmern on an Adland Favorite: Corner Bistro

Corner Bistro New York Aimee Herring Sky July 2010

Photo by Aimee Herring

Corner Bistro opened in 1961 and its signature burger debuted in 1977.

The Locale: 331 West 4th Street

Agency: ArnoldNYC

Clients: Hershey’s, Côtes du Rhône, Lee Jeans

Entertaining: Most of Arnold’s clients are from outside of New York, so when they come to the city, they want the real thing. Some favorite spots? The Spotted Pig, Inoteca and Corner Bistro—a dive bar in the West Village that boasts a simple tavern menu. “Quality is valued more than pomp and circumstance,” says Maggie Connors, Arnold’s director of new business and development. “Clients aren’t necessarily looking for glamorous; people want a unique, authentic New York experience, which could be a $5 burger.”

The Crowd: This neighborhood burger joint starts hawking burgers at 11:30 a.m. and calls it a night (er, morning?) at 4 a.m. The atmosphere changes as the hours pass by—business lunches turn into happy hours, which turn into late-night shenanigans with the young professional set. When the kitchen finally closes at 3:30 a.m. . . . well, just use your imagination.

The Tradition: Corner Bistro opened in 1961 and its signature burger debuted in 1977. Bill O’Donnell, who has run this place for 43 years, says the key to its success is simply quality and consistency. “We’ve been dealing with the same meat guy for 40 years,” O’Donnell says. The combination is pretty straightforward—ground chuck for flavor, mixed with sirloin and a 10 percent fat content.

The Menu: While O’Donnell serves a mean chicken sandwich, chili and BLT, the Corner Bistro is famous for its burgers. Eight-ounce patties are grilled in a salamander broiler and topped with the basics—lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. If you’re a bacon cheeseburger freak, opt for the Bistro burger. Pair it with fries and a frosty McSorely’s dark brew (from the city’s oldest continuously run ale house) for an authentic New York experience. The best part? This is one of the only spots in the city where you can get a full meal for two for less than $20.

Good to Know: Bring cash, as Corner Bistro doesn’t accept credit cards. And if you’re a music junkie, check out the jukebox—it’s full of old-school gems. “We’ve got a lot of old, classic jazz,” says O’Donnell. “We discourage all the current hip-hop crap.”

This article was adapted from the original, which appeared in the July 2010 issue of Sky.

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