September 11, 2013

At Joy Burger Bar, you can order your patties in three sizes — mini, midi, maxi — while Usher serenades with “Burn”, perhaps to mull a recent breakup, or Aaliyah with “Miss You”, if you would rather think about your best friend who died 13 years ago.

Your order is ready when the man with the gruff West-African accent calls out the playing card that corresponds to the one you receive upon paying.

In my case, it was the 10 of clubs – one of a kind – though that’s not how I would describe my meal, a midi with mozzarella cheese, lettuce and barbecue sauce.

It got the job done – I would go back in a pinch, though certainly not out of my way. But for a place with “Burger” in its name, you have to do much better.

As for the Heinz at every table, they looked “57” all right. As in 1957, not 57 varieties. The plastic bottles were slightly deformed with faded colors, tucked away in shallow cubbies along the wall. In a word: gross.

This is a carry-out atmosphere, though, and they make no pretenses about high-class service or fancily-prepared dishes. No points off for that.

Put simply, I came to Joy starving, my standards significantly diminished. I was ready for a burger. The one I got was fine, but certainly not great.

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