Counter Interior/stairway
At the counter & Interior/stairway

Yesterday, Midtown Lunch held the 4food preview event, and lucky for me, I gotten a sneak preview of one of probably the most talked about fast food chain as of the past week.

Initially, I heard of it from my friend Andrew who almost obsessively talked about 4Food weeks before I really read about this on the food blogs. Reading about 4Food on their site, I’m a bit of a skeptic as to how they can make their food “de-junked” and with the plethora of ways you can build your burger (with 6-7 different types of patties, 5 buns, 16 “scoops” which act as the filling to the hole in your patty, etc.), I don’t know how the typical person who has an hour to lunch make up their minds as to what you want to eat. But to get an idea how this good but a bit crazy concept would work, I gave it a try and brought my 4Food fan (Andrew) along.

Entering this large restaurant, it sort of looks like an Apple Store. It’s minimalist with mostly bare walls with only the decals of ingredients of a few burgers adorn the columns near the counter, the huge glowing LCD panels of their offerings above the registers, and on the far left of the store (or closest to the stairway) was the wall glowing with the Foursquare board of people checking into 4Food. There were employees on the floor decked out in black with yellow trimming 4Food tracksuits and paperboy hats. Spiffy.

As I went up to the register, staring at the bright LCD menu screens, I had to figure out what I really want in my burger (as my issue prior to entering, stated earlier). I settled for a burger that has a brioche bun with a pork patty, filled with roasted brussels sprouts, Fontina Fontal cheese, and horseradish cream with sweet chili sauce on the side. I have added their Square Roots, which was essentially, their healthier version of french fries and a white peach sparkler.

My food with all that packaging
My food with packaging

My first issue when receiving my order was all that packaging. For one of this company’s several missions who wants to reduce waste, this doesn’t look like it. Everything has it’s own container. (Though 4Food had commented on Midtown Lunch’s “live blog” that they can recycle everything and people who are eating in are getting reusable trays.)

My bitten pork burger
Square Roots (fries)
Burger innards and Square Roots

As for my food critique, I thought my white peach sparkler was refreshing. Not too sweet and if they have charged me for $3.50 (according to my receipt), it’s arguably acceptable.

My pork burger (with the supposed price of $5.50) was on the dry side. I think they took out a lot of the fat prior to cooking, overcooked the poor patty, or it’s me who took too long taking photos of the food. (But looking through the comments of the aforementioned link to ML’s live blog post, I’m not the only one who had the dry pork patty.) The only time it’s not so dry is when I added my sweet chili sauce into the burger. A personal lesson to myself, perhaps, not to add fontina with brussels sprouts and panchetta since I barely tasted the latter two as it overpowered everything. The brioche bun was a bit too sturdy, as my Twitter friend Jose, who attended a different 4Food preview event commented while I was having lunch, tweeting and sending info over to Zach of ML. In terms of size, it’s a tad smaller compared to a Shake Shack burger though taller because of the bun being puffier.

The Square Roots fries were actually a lot more denser than what I was thinking for fries. It’s a mixture of three different tubers – potato, sweet potato, and taro that are one-inch cubes that aren’t fried. It filled me up more than the burger, strangely. From a personal standpoint, I prefer to have the sweet potato fries separate from the potato and the taro just because it’s a lot sweeter than the two.

From this preview of 4Food’s food, this is pretty good for something healthy. They did have PRs and possibly managers who were asking around everyone’s feedback. I have the feeling it would be packed for the first several weeks with the mesmerized patrons staring at the LCD menus. Hopefully, the online ordering system is working swimmingly without the issue of finding your order when you check-in since mine or Andrew’s didn’t seem to be found when we’re ordering.

For the rest of my photos of this preview event, please click through below.

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286 Madison Avenue (at 40th Street)
New York, NY 10017
Map; Twitter


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. Danny says:

    when will people stop trying to do healthy versions of french fries?! it’s french fries!! i don’t know why but their food just has no appeal… maybe it’s because healthy fast food is such an oxymoron.

  2. Danny: I agree about the french fry issue. Healthy fast food is an oxymoron. At least it’s not inedible or insipid food compared to some other places that are trying to be healthy fast food.

  3. T.C. says:

    Yea, the square roots were decent. Not really in the fries category of course. Ask for extra organic ketchup if you need it. Haha. Nah, they were fine. Better than the sides at Energy Kitchen IMO. Burger too but that’s because EK’s food is even blander to make sure calories are lower.

    I has a pork burger too on multi-grain with mac&cheese and pancetta but it wasn’t too dry. Nothing special though.

  4. Nancy S says:

    I was lured in this AM for breakfast with a $5 off coupon, resulting in a tab of $.57. Coffee (a latte) was very good. The rest (the most basic egg sandwich I could find on the menu, as I am not in the mood for chili in the middle of my eggs at 8:30am) was a dry-ish bagel, an egg ring which they filled with carmelized onions, some pancetta, and a disgusting amount of ketchup. It tasted like a dry bagel egg white andwich with loads of ketchup. I can do better at many a local deli for a breakfast sandwich, both price and taste. Staff was very nice, food cooked to order, but I don’t have a sense that this is going to last…

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