Touring musicians have a great gig. Rock and roll! It’s doubly great when they’re interested in exploring the international culinary world. We do realize some bands subsist solely on Taco Bell and Coke Zero. Shame on them! There’s Hatch chile to sample in New Mexico. Pappy Van Winkle in Kentucky. Doppelbock outside Hamburg. Tortas on the California-Mexico border. In Good Food, Rocks, we track down a band member serious about their grub—and who has held a job in the food industry too.
By combining proto-punk cockiness (see: The Stooges) and goofy-smart jokes (see: Ween; Adult Swim), Brooklyn ensemble Cheeseburger fits into a narrow, though exceedingly fun, sub-sub-genre. And, no, they should not be confused with anything related to Jimmy Buffett. “The band’s name was a toss-up between Cheeseburger and Michael Jordan,” recalls bassist Christian Gordy. Good decision! We caught up with Gordy to discuss Brooklyn eats, bad restaurant music, and getting shit hammered on Buds and Bulleit.
Are you a medium, medium-rare, or well-done kind of guy? And do you have a particular blend of ground beef you subscribe to?
Burgers I do medium rare, steaks rare. I just buy whatever’s at the ghetto grocery. I rarely cook burgers at home, so I’d probably up the ante to some grass fed free range shit in that scenario.
You worked in restaurants for years…
Restaurant jobs are as good as your co-workers. If you work with rad people, it’s a rad job and vice versa. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some great and interesting people—usually musicians, artists, and general weirdoes. The last food service job I had was in Atlanta at Savage Pizza in Little Five Points. We had a great crew, so when the work was sucking and people were being dicks, I was still around my bros.
You currently live in Brooklyn. What are your favorite spots?
I love The Commodore in Williamsburg. Stephen Tanner, who’s also in rock band extraordinaire Harvey Milk, developed their menu. He’s an amazing Southern cook and they have some of the best fried chicken and biscuits I’ve ever had. It’s also a great place to get shit hammered on frozen mojitos and piña coladas. I actually ate there yesterday and had this smoked pork torta that was incredible. I usually order the burger (which is close to perfect) and of course the three fried thighs with biscuits. But seriously, everything on the menu is good.
Anywhere else in Brooklyn?
Roberta’s in Bushwick is another fave. It started off as a pizza joint and it’s developed into this high end, local ingredient fancy pants destination. It’s just hard to get a table now, so I don’t go as much as I used to. Their pies are out of control. I also like La Superior, Walter Foods, Crif Dogs, Pies ‘n’ Thighs, New Mexico Place, Fette Sau, Hana Foods Deli. There are too much to name.
Do you have any drinking rituals before shows? A particular brand perhaps…
Yes, I get shit hammered on Buds and Bulleit bourbon.
Has anybody ever thrown a cheeseburger at the stage during a show?
No, it’s usually just lots of beer.
Can people start?
As long as they don’t have ketchup on them, feel free.
Favorite food city outside of NYC?
Atlanta, Southern Louisiana, and San Francisco.
Your favorite spots there?
In Atlanta, Son’d Soul Food, Nick’s Food to Go—mainly for the pasticcios—Rathbun’s, Floataway Cafe, Pura Vida and Super Pan. In San Francisco, every taqueria I’ve been to. Especially Taqueria Cancun. In Louisiana, not any restaurants in particular, but all the fantastic Creole cuisine that you can pick up at little stops off the beaten path. The best one I’ve been to is literally called “Best Stop”—they make the best smoked boudin and fresh hot pork cracklins that I’ve ever had. My mom used to send pounds of it to me frozen on dry ice.
Worst restaurant music you have encountered?
The techno music at Ru San’s in Atlanta. It’s a cheesy sushi joint with mediocre food. Not recommended.
What song SHOULD NOT be played in restaurants?
Any reggae song.
OK, let’s cut to it. Your all-time favorite cheeseburger in the world?