Brooks Headley in the new Superiority Burger.
Photo: Dolly Faibyshev
The once and future king of veggie burgers has returned. Saturday night, Brooks Headley and team quietly reopened the bigger, better, souped-up Superiority Burger exactly as promised: with neither pomp nor circumstance. This officially ends a year-and-a-half-long drought between the closing of the original space and this debut, during which countless New Yorkers asked themselves, Will I ever get to eat the labneh gelato again? What about the burnt broccoli? (Most of those people, social-media users will already know, took to the comments of Superiority Burger’s Instagram account to express their longing.)
For the time being, the restaurant is open Thursday through Monday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and here is where it gets even better: If you order that broccoli, you can now eat it on a plate. Unsurprisingly, the news is causing a mad dash to the East Village. It was a full house on Sunday around 7 p.m., with the door being presided over by Christina Brown, an old friend of Headley’s, whom he has described as “the face of the place at times.”
Eager customers were being quoted hour- to hour-and-a-half-long waits. They might pass the time by admiring the newly unveiled sign, designed by Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford. “Oh, Superiority Burger opened up!” one passerby said to a friend, prompting a briskly walking stranger to respond, “That place is awesome!”
Fans have begged for months to know when the restaurant would reopen, egged on by a slow drip of posts that Headley shared on Instagram, mostly of menu items that were being tested. Good news arrived in February, when the restaurant’s gas was turned on and the wheels started turning for real; the owners began to hold a notably extended friends-and-family period over three weekends in March. Word of new dishes and drinks — Funnel cake! Coke … with peanuts?? — spread across the internet. On the final night of this preopening service, Headley was zipping around the dining room greeting tables, along with general manager Sheryl Heefner. Pastry chef Darcy Spence delivered plates of pies to tables.
There have been regular sightings of new dishes, including a lunchtime “2NAH Melt,” boiled pierogi, waffles, and a leafy salad that you can get with a perfectly realized carrot-ginger dressing. An early contender for a standout new dish is the collard greens tangled in melted cheddar on sesame focaccia. Upon first taste, my own table unanimously declared, “A star is born.”
Anyone who spent time at Odessa, the former tenant of 119 Avenue A, will recognize the space: The booths are intact, as is the soda fountain, behind which desserts are displayed next to a plate of fake spaghetti brought from Japan. There’s a liquor bar farther back, where customers can order drinks like Cosmos and highballs. Eventually, there will be a private dining room.
The kinetically cramped original basement location was a special place, but it was never big enough. As Headley told me back in January, “We outgrew the space on the first day.” The new room — decorated with punk photography from Martin Sorrondeguy, a framed poster from the now-closed Souris’s Saloon, an old print for the Odeon, and photos from Superiority Burger Japan — feels, in short, like a fully realized version of the original. That was the idea. “My dream is that people come and they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, the food’s the same as it used to be. Just, there’s just more of it,’” Headley told me earlier this year. “And then, ‘Oh — the desserts are amazing.’ So that’s what I want it to be like.”
This post has been updated to correct the current hours of operation.