How things change. In late 2009, Michael Mina and Rajat Parr's RN74 was still national-media feature material, after opening in the spring. News leaked of a fabulously recherché burger, available only in RN74's owners' lounge, reserved for the Eloi who owned condos in Millennium Tower, up the elevator shaft from the restaurant. Rich Baumert, then managing director of New York's Millennium Partners, the building's owner, talked about all-access to RN74 and its burger as if it were a perk of ownership, like a free Sunday Times subscription. "It is the hottest restaurant in the city of San Francisco, period," Baumert said. Grub Street tracked down Mina himself, who said bluntly that the condo-less rabble clamoring for chef Jason Berthold's $19 burger would just have to find something else to eat. Grub Street:
"We really have a restaurant concept that we want to keep the way it is," [Mina] told us last night at the Condé Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards dinner in New York. "I love the fact that it's a great burger, but we want people to order what the chef there, Jason Berthold, [is] really known for. Honestly, it works out perfectly. Right now our prime beef... we only get enough of it [to make a few burgers]."Well, it looks like somebody upped the meat order.
Last month, Berthold put the once-exclusive burger on the lunch menu (seems like the price dropped to $16 once it found its way out of the owners' lounge). And come Monday, the formerly gilded burger forms the heart of a promotion to scare up lunch business, called "Business Over Burgers in Burgundy." You get the formerly cordoned-off burger, salad or fries, and the boozeless house drink, which changes seasonally, and cookies to go, all for $20.
That price makes the BOBIB sound suspiciously like a nearby door-buster burger (though that one comes with an actual ABV percentage). And just think: You don't even have to cough up the price of a condo association fee, though you will have to sit at the bar or in the lounge to take advantage. And those cookies to go? Something tells us that diners in the owners' lounge were never handed a goody bag and the check.