The Legend of the Burger Bunch
Once upon a time, a fellowship was formed.
Allow me the opportunity to tell you the legend of the Burger Bunch. The year was 2013, and myself, Daniel, Jordan, Ethan, other Daniel, Alix, Adam, Emily, Daniel #3, and Dov were coming up on the end of our first summer as camp counselors. With mere weeks to go before we spread across the world to begin our first semesters of college, we knew we needed one final adventure. As we ate the camp's modest attempt at burgers, it dawned on Alix.
“We should find a really good burger spot in the city,” she said, as if she had just proposed the unthinkable.
We all gazed into the distance. For each of us a different distance, a different restaurant, and a different burger formed in our brains. Chaos erupted. Allies who had been trusted like family for years, were now being viewed with immense scrutiny. Everyone's taste buds were on display and being challenged. Amidst the rabble and terror, one soul had the courage to stand up. We had been sitting on the floor at the time.
“There is only one place to go for our inaugural burger,” he said, unsure as to whether or not he had correctly used the word “inaugural”.
And so it was that the first meeting place of the aptly named Burger Bunch was decided. Burger & Barrel, located in the heart of downtown NYC, which is itself, the heart of NYC, was to be our Rivendell. A Facebook group was made, and the members established.
The night came, and our fellowship trekked to the spot. Clearly the youngest of the restaurant's clientele, we strode in, giddy with excitement. Several of us had been deliberately starving ourselves for days, if not longer. And when those burgers arrived, and we each took our first bites, our souls were bonded together, never to be crushed, for the bond was made of mithril.
The night passed by as if it were a dream. Between elated laughter from mouths filled to the brim with burger, we shared our excitement, our concerns, and our hopes for the semester ahead.
A semester later, the Bunch was reunited. While I would never say the moment was more powerful than the fellowship reunited scene from Return of the King, it was certainly on par. The restaurant was different, but our spirits were as high as ever. Was the burger as good? No. Was the atmosphere straight out of a movie? No. But we were together, and that was all that mattered.
Over the years, we have all gotten busier. And as fans of burgers, regardless of the availability of the Bunch, we have all grown accustomed to smaller groups getting together to munch. But once a year, excluding a couple years here or there, without fail, aside from those couple years I just mentioned, we all get together at Burger & Barrel, to fuel our nostalgia, and fill our bellies.
Alas, in these dark times, as a cloud of danger turns a sky once filled with hope into a dimmed melancholic hue, the Bunch is unable to meet, and burgers are unable to be had together. But it is not all for naught. Through texts and facetimes, messenger pigeons and beacons of Amon Din, we maintain strong ties of brotherhood, sisterhood, and fellowship. Our collective gazes, now united, look to the east, where the dawn of a new day begins. Because this darkness, like all darknesses, is only a passing thing. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Regardless of whether or not that last part was stolen from Lord of the Rings, I am here today speaking on behalf of my Bunch. We are all in this together. So from all of the members of the Burger Bunch, to all of you, living with your Bunches, or communicating with them over various mediums, hang in there.
And to Burger and Barrel, you shining light at the end of this dark tunnel, hang in there. We will be back before you can say medium-rare.
Burger & Barrel, its sister restaurants, and its head chef, Josh Capon, have brought me endless joy. So to have the opportunity to raise awareness for them during uncertain times is a chance I could not pass up. If you live in NYC and haven't been, I highly recommend. If the affable Chef Capon has ever made your meal something special, or their food has ever blown your mind, I encourage you to show your support by donating to their Go Fund Me, or sharing it on social.