The Orange Line

Riding the B Line: Flatbush Avenue’s Secret Hamburger Stand

Somewhere in the world there may be a train line that covers more gastronomic territory than the B and V subway lines, which start in southernmost Brooklyn and end deep in Queens, but if there is, we don’t know about it. For the next twenty-odd weeks, we’ll be riding the B and V from Coney Island all the way to Forest Hills, jumping off frequently to rave about our favorite restaurants and food stores near the subway.

This week: Seventh Avenue

Would it ever occur to you to buy a hamburger here?haha

When you emerge from the B on Seventh Avenue and Flatbush, you’re at a not very promising corner, food-wise. On one side of Flatbush is leafy, residential Park Slope, and on the other side, leafy, residential Prospect Heights; and on Flatbush itself, only a pizzeria, Christie’s Jamaican meat pies, and a wireless store. Christie’s pies are flaky and lush, but you’re not always in a mood for their Scotch-bonnet-fueled heat. If only there were somewhere to get a hamburger! You walk past a newsstand, maybe buy a Snapple and the paper there. You walk out and miss your chance.

Because deep inside that newsstand is hidden an old-style lunch counter, with a full iron griddle and a friendly man in a paper hat. The place belongs to the neighborhood, which doesn’t publicize its existence. There is a soda fountain and a paper signs on the wall with different sandwich options, but we always get the burger: a preformed, six-ounce relic of a better time, when you could count on melted yellow American cheese, a sesame-seed bun, and a liberal schmear of mayonnaise to grease the whole affair down. It’s like eating the past.

Flatbush Deli & Convenience, 310 Flatbush Ave., nr. Carlton Ave.

Riding the B Line: Flatbush Avenue’s Secret Hamburger Stand