It’s commonplace for chefs to begrudgingly add a burger to their menu as an easy selling, universally appealing gateway to their more innovative, personally felt fare. Some even deign to stack an egg on that burger, in search of fleeting Instagram infamy secured through the camera phone lenses of 20-somethings, seized with somber-faced concentration as they perch precariously above their chairs.
Yet these shrewd mini-maneuvers in no way match the wily cynicism of the newly opened 2nd City, a West Village eatery not just in tune with social media, but entirely, explicitly shaped by it. Conceptualized by former model Jordan Andino, the “Original Filipino Taqueria”–we wonder what Swell Dive would have to say about that–serves exclusively on-trend, food porn-qualified items with conveniently captioned names: think “Bi-Curious Tacos,” “Plan B-Ritos,” “Poke Me” bowls glistening with atolls of carrot, avocado and tuna, and “Nice Buns,” a duo of fried pork belly bao, their pert Pac-Man mouths painted with a languidly dripping slick of hoisin. And then there’s the space, which makes a further play for the millennial crowd with hashtags on the mirrors, free 5G Wi-Fi, “secret” password-based dishes and a sandwich board out front, actively wooing acolytes of Pokémon Go.
And while he admits that 70% of his current customer base comes via Instagram and Yelp, Andino already envisions his three-month-old eatery as part of a cut-and-paste global franchise, starting with 20 different offshoots in less than ten years. So steel yourselves, because according to Grub Street, the next one may very well be in Bushwick, with paperwork pending on a storefront between Knickerbocker and Troutman. Perhaps we’re deluding ourselves, but its tough to imagine such a construct gaining traction in Brooklyn, where businesses simply can’t survive being lumped on culinary one-and-done lists, but rather, depend on the fierce, everyday allegiance of their surrounding communities. But if we’re wrong, chefs might just as well toss their local-seasonal ethos out the window, and commit to slinging frosted donuts, dangling noodles and towering burgers, surmounted with molten centered eggs.
You can follow Sarah’s food exploits on Instagram @brooklyndining; although she refuses to stand on chairs and is utterly hapless when it comes to the artful egg yolk poke.
Photos Courtesy of 2nd City USA