By Olivia Scheck and Patrick Hedlund
HARLEM — Accusations that a new East Harlem burger joint ripped off popular competitor Shake Shack apparently gave the store an unexpected boost among the city’s food connoiseurs.
Second Avenue eatery Milk Burger — whose menu, design features and even a photo of its signature burger have been blasted for their strong similarities to Shake Shack — has seen an uptick in business thanks to one high-profile new fan, said owner Erik Mayor.
Ottavia Bourdain, wife of food personality Anthony Bourdain, tweeted last week that she had forsaken her beloved Shack Burger for Milk Burger.
“Tonight I’m cheating on the love of my life Shake Shack and ordering from Milk Burger. They deliver and I’m lazy,” she wrote Aug. 1.
“Shake Shack is still my husband but Milk Burger can be my booty call.”
A day later, the Upper East Side resident told her 18,000-plus followers that she had ordered Milk Burger yet again.
Mayor said the endorsement was enough to send a new crop of well-heeled patrons running for the restaurant, located between 105th and 106th streets.
“There are people who wouldn’t normally come to Spanish Harlem rolling up in a Mercedes-Benz,” he said, “When I ask them ‘Where did you find out about us?’ They’re like ‘I found out from Ottavia.'”
“It’s crazy because he’s this international food celebrity,” Mayor added of Ottavia Bourdain’s husband, Anthony, who’s a household name in the food industry, as well as an author and television host.
Mayor said he was “shocked” to learn of the allegations about Milk Burger trying to steal Shack Shack’s style, but nonetheless expressed excitement at the comparison to the burger behemoth.
But Shake Shack doesn’t have to worry too much: OttaviaBourdain tweeted Monday night, shouting out her husband’s TV show, “@NoReservations I’m going to Shake Shack.”