In a bittersweet coda to the Schnäck saga, the restaurant's Long Island City sister won the Burger Battle of the Boroughs last night in the Astoria World Manor. The Schnäck burger now lives only at the Water Taxi Beach, which opens Sunday, and owner Harry Hawk competed with six other teams for burger honors last night. The field included Coals from the Bronx, Resto and Brgr from Manhattan, the Farm on Adderley and 67 Burger from Brooklyn, and Joe's Bestburger from Queens.
Grub Street was on the judging panel, and we experienced sensations ranging from sublime satisfaction to what is known in competitive-eating circles as “urges contrary to swallowing.” One burger was slathered with blue cheese, rendering taste — and nearly breathing — impossible; another was so salty we almost experienced renal failure. A double-bacon cheeseburger from Joe's was a model of fast-food greatness. But the judges agreed that the Water Taxi Beach burger — loose, juicy, and supple, and served on a warm, toasty bun impregnated with pan juices — was in a class by itself. Harry Hawk accepted his burger crown and award with glee.