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Everyone’s A Regular At Paul’s

IMG_0325Meredith Hoffman Paul’s Da Burger Joint, 131 Second Avenue.

Here’s a test: You come back to your office with your lunch, peel the silver-foil rim off the cardboard lid, and behold a very large hamburger slathered in a layer of sauteed mushrooms and onions so vast that it carpets the container; the combination of grease and a plasma of melted American cheese has rendered the bottom bun so soggy that the whole mass can be held only with great care, and the assistance of many napkins. The test: Do you think “Gross!” Or do you think “Yes!”?

If you fall in the first camp, there is no good reason to go to Paul’s Da Burger Joint at 131 Second Avenue, between Saint Marks Place and Seventh Street. You probably should stop reading this article right here. Only the hard-core carnivores still with me? Okay, let’s proceed.

In days of yore, the East Village was full of joints — pizza joints, burger joints, beer joints. Today the neighborhood is given over to the Danish open-faced sandwich and the Japanese pork butt — which I, for one, am happy to celebrate. But a place without neighborhood joints is hardly a neighborhood at all. Paul’s, founded in the remote era of 1989 and bearing the accumulated grit of years of honest service, is the kind of place Jane Jacobs would have celebrated in “The Death and Life of Great Cities.”
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