Food & Drink

Q&A: The Gourmand Behind New York's $666 'Douche Burger'


Q&A: The Gourmand Behind New York's $666 'Douche Burger'

Courtesy Mackenzie Keegan

New York City’s 666 Burger food truck has a treat for you. For just $666 you can purchase a foie gras-stuffed Kobe patty covered in Gruyere cheese that’s been melted with champagne steam and topped with lobster, truffles, caviar, and a BBQ sauce made with Kopi Luwak coffee beans that have been pooped out by some sort of animal called the Asian palm civet. The whole thing is then served in a gold-leaf wrapper. It’s called the Douche Burger, and, yes, it really is for sale. Franz Aliquo, 36, co-owner of 666 Burger, explains why.

Why are you selling a $666 Douche Burger?

The idea came from our deep-seated disgust and hatred of all the other douche burgers out there. A burger is about meat, bun, and cheese. All of this other stuff just ruins the flavor.Courtesy Mackenzie Keegan

We were talking about terrible overtopped burgers one night, and my girlfriend at the time said, “Somebody should just make a burger and pile all the rich people stuff on it and it would be the douchiest thing in the world.” So we’re like, “Yeah! We’re gonna do it.”  We got our license for the truck, and we’re on the streets about three days a week now. We took everything that people socially associate with rich people food and threw it on a burger and made it the most expensive, disgusting burger ever.

Ah, so it’s a joke!

It’s a satirical expression of these burgers that people make and try to sell in all seriousness.  It’s a Frankenstein of burgers. We took the most offensive pieces from other famous burgers and just took it up a level. I mean, what’s the point of putting gold flakes on your food? It doesn’t add to the flavor, it’s just to be able to say you ate gold flakes. So screw it, we’re going to wrap the whole patty in gold and make people eat that.

Do most people get the humor?

I hope so. But we’ve also gotten to the point where food trucks are sort of quasi-gourmet, so there’s a level of believability to this. People see it and are like, “Oh yeah, a $666 burger. OK.”

What were your, uh, inspirations for this thing?

The [$295] Serendipity burger. Even Burger King has a superexpensive burger. There are a couple of places that sell $100 burgers here in New York, and there was one in Las Vegas that’s like $5,000, comes with champagne and glasses. A lot of these burgers all came with something extra to justify the price. The one from Serendipity comes with a diamond-encrusted gold toothpick. Then you’re not really buying a burger, you’re buying a diamond toothpick with a burger attached. Just be real about it.

Are people actually buying the Douche Burger?

Oh, absolutely not. There are pictures online of one man named Lance Brody eating one. He was the only one who paid us for it. It’s the great marketing ploy to use for us. Our regular burger cost $6.66, so people come to our truck because we offer the douche burger, but then they buy our regular $6.66 burger. That was the end goal.

What makes a good burger?

Our customer-service philosophy is more in line with the Soup Nazi or Kenny Shopsin. I refuse to put lettuce and tomato on my burgers. They’re only meat, cheese, and bread. I’ve gone and returned someone’s money and thrown his burger away because he was arguing with me about ketchup.

Wait, why can’t I put lettuce and tomato on my burger? I like lettuce and tomato!

People use them to make up for a deficiency in the burger. If you don’t toast your bun correctly, it’s not crispy enough and you need lettuce to make it crispy. If your meat is too dry, tomato helps hide that fact, gives you the juiciness. But if you’re toasting your buns, getting a nice crust, and you’re cooking your meat properly, there’s no need for them.

OK, so the Douche Burger is a joke and nobody buys it. But they could buy it, right?

Absolutely. I’ll tell you that you’re an a—hole, but I’m still going to take your money.

Suddath is a staff writer for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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