50, rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, in the 10th Arrondissement. 01 47 70 15 24.
Open Mon–Sat, 12:30 p.m.–3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–11:30 p.m.
There are a few sacrifices one has to make in order to fulfill one’s dreams of living in Paris. Sometimes it may not be an actual sacrifice but a simple trade. When my family moved here, I had to trade big, juicy burgers and crispy fries for confit de canard et pommes sautées. Although this small change is generally worth it, and you get lots of options like the perfect baguette and endless quantities of éclairs to make up for the sacrifice, you do miss the wonderful tastes of the United States. Thankfully, there are lots of people who think the exact same way, and lucky for me, they have made it their duty to bring down-home American cuisine to Paris restaurants.
The problem is that a lot of the people who miss the taste of America are French people savoring a vague memory, or worse, owners of Paris restaurants who have never been to the States but want to cash in on the (French) American dream. The result is that they don’t always succeed in properly replicating our beloved meals. It is much easier to find a delicious entrecôte than a decent burger in this city, and I had given up looking years ago.
Last Saturday, however, I learned that it is possible to find a decent burger. A new restaurant has recently opened in the Strasbourg–Saint-Denis area, run by a young French guy who fell in love with the American burger while walking the Continental Divide from Texas to Wyoming. Walking, he explained, makes a man hungry, and he ate a lot of burgers throughout his adventure. The result is Paris–New York. It’s a rather small place that is already learning to accommodate long lines, as it is completely full throughout the lunch and dinner hours.
Once we arrived, the waiter directed us to the top floor, where a mirrored wall reflects the small windows overlooking the Faubourg Saint-Denis. We sat down at diner-style tables and were handed a clipboard with a simple menu that offered a burger, a different kind of burger, another type of burger, a chicken filet and a vegetarian option. We then had a choice between fries and a salad. My mother was happy that she could have a salad instead of fries, and even happier that I’d be ordering fries so that she could steal a few.
Not only were the burgers perfectly juicy and delicious, but the generous portion of fries was the best I’ve had in Paris in 12 years. A homemade lemonade served from a Mason jar accompanied our meal. Although the owner successfully manages to bring a good burger to Paris, you can never completely ignore French traditions. First, the bun wasn’t your average hamburger bun but more of a brioche, which made the burger taste even better.
The only complaint is that the portion sizes were French: I was still hungry after our meal. Fortunately that was easily remedied by ordering the wonderful cheesecake for dessert. This burger joint, the perfect combination of the American hamburger and French cuisine, exceeded all my expectations, and I’m guessing it will do very well in the future.
In a nutshell: A great burger joint that mixes American know-how with French quality.
Price check: A burger and fries with lemonade, 18 euros.
If you like the sound of Paris–New York, you’ll also like le Camion Qui Fume and Blend. Read the reviews.
Le Camion Qui Fume
All over Paris; visit website
for locations and times.
06 23 19 74 92.
44, rue d’Argout, in the 2nd Arrondissement.
Mon–Sat, noon–2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–11 p.m.
Le Camion Qui Fume
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Maya Rose has been an American in Paris since she was five years old. She is now 15 years old and would be a sophomore in the United States, but since the French do things backward, she is only in second grade. She finds it hysterical that the senior year is called terminale, like the fatal stage of some horrid disease. Maya loves to communicate, so she writes short stories, takes acting classes, represents her school’s debate team and speaks four languages: French, English, Spanish and Mandarin. She won’t travel anywhere without her hair straightener and thinks it’s shocking that the price of a baguette has risen 120 percent in the past 20 years.
Editor’s note: For a gourmet walking trip, check out our DIY downloadable Paris trips.