Mayer Hawthorne Gets His Own Umami Burger, The Hawthorne
On paper, it sounds a bit dubious and random–a Mayer Hawthorne-designed speciality Umami burger, “The Hawthorne.” (Not to mention a party for the express purpose of unveiling a burger in itself might seem a tad silly.) But any snickering or hesitation go out the window once you tuck in and get one of these things in your piehole. Suddenly Mayer’s a genius for hooking up with Umami; Umami, in turn has some fun and picks up some of Mayer’s cool.
The recipe on this guy—“Umami beef patty, cognac-infused parsnip puree, cognac fondue sauce, hatch chiles and crispy hatch chile straws”–is not a random concoction, as you tend to get when, say, some C-list celeb turns up at Millions of Milkshakes throws any old shit in a blender, but The Hawthorne is a savvy mix of ingredients, with some nice spice to it from the chiles–a worthy addition to the menu. With these floating around the courtyard, the open bar quickly lost its appeal and tracking down a waitress wielding trays of sliders became priority. You can mix a drink at home; you cannot make these things at home. At least not easily. Hell, after the free tasting hour ended, I plunked down cash dollars for a couple more bites.
My guess is that few fans of Mayer are going to trek out to Umami and order up The Hawthorne strictly because of his association. But that’s not the strategy at play here. These days, with returns on radio play and CD sales unreliable, young artists developing their fan base want to build a real world web out in the culture for fans to constantly brush up against your name/brand. So it’s a top burger in town this time. Maybe later you slap your name on a hip new beverage, hook up with some tight new sneakers, brand some hot eyeglass frames, and so on. The key is to keep it subtle and tasteful, partner with quality products and not spread yourself too thin or take your fans for granted. Umami is a step in that direction.
N.B.: For now, “The Hawthorne” is only available at Umami Urban (Space 15 Twenty) location.