Summer in New York is the season of baseball games, terrace cookouts, rooftop beer gardens and weekend trips to the Hamptons. That means consuming more hotdogs, hamburgers, pretzels and schnitzel than the rest of the year combined—and that means it’s time to beef up your condiment collection.
Meet Sir Kensington. Before founding the gourmet company in 2010, Scott Norton and Mark Ramadan began making and selling ketchup out of their dorm room at Brown, perfecting a very old and natural recipe that they unearthed in the archives at school. Now Sir Kensington’s ketchup and mayonnaise are served in some 300 eateries and sold at more than 3,000 retailers around the country, including Whole Foods, Fairway and Dean & Deluca. In 2012 the co-founders made Forbes’ “30 Under 30: Food and Wine” list of entrepreneurs to watch, and they’re still on the up and up. Just last week, Sir Kensington expanded to include a selection of mustards.
What sparked the creation of Sir Kensington’s, according to Norton, was the realization that for a staple condiment like ketchup, consumers have incredibly few options to choose from. But instead of challenging the Heinz monopoly head-on, they decided to create an option for eaters with more refined palettes.
“The only thing that was being offered as ketchup was very processed high-fructose corn syrup with an overly sweet flavor profile,” says Norton. “We didn’t think about alienating the average places that use ketchup as much as we considered making something appropriate for places that are high-end—because they do serve ketchup at the Four Seasons, the Spotted Pig, ABC Kitchen and those places are very different from the Piggly Wigglies and the McDonalds of the world.”
Moreover, when it comes to the man with the monocle—Sir Kensington himself—Norton says that he and Ramadan wanted to build a brand that didn’t take itself too seriously. “We wanted to contrast the super highbrow brand and concept with the fact that ketchup is, for the most part, pretty lowbrow,” explains Norton. “There was a humor in that for us, so we always strive to put that Sir Kensington wink into everything we do.”
Keeping their newest offering in mind, here are Norton and Ramadan’s choices for the city’s best mustard-savvy spots to grab a burger, a pretzel or whatever you prefer for summer fare.
1. BFB Highline in the West Village
“Owner and chef Chris Mitchell is reigning in his varied culinary experience to focus squarely on burgers, all of which are rich, juicy and flavorful. They’ll offer our mustard, which will go great on their burgers, and—pro tip—make sure to ask about their secret off-menu selection.” bfbhighline.com
2. Heidelberg Restaurant on the Upper East Side
“This is a really old-school German restaurant that serves schnitzel and has traditional Bavarian décor. They play rowdy German drinking songs, making it almost feel like German medieval times. It’s one of those New York gems that has somehow never been replaced or left behind.” heidelbergrestaurant.com
3. Eataly Birreria in the Flatiron District
“Modeled on a Northern Italian biergarten, this place has a beautiful rooftop view and a program where they make their own sausages in-house. It’s a mixture of German food as well as traditional Italian cured meats and such.” eataly.com
“One of our favorite burger restaurants in the city, this mini-chain is famous for its all-natural and local sourcing, specifically with non-traditional meats like bison and ostrich. They will be carrying our mustard and ketchup, so you can add them to your (totally customizable) burger.” bareburger.com
5. Standard Biergarten in the West Village
“This is probably one of the more image-up places we’re recommending—it’s a chic take on a traditional biergarten. They’ve got a great mixture of indoor and outdoor spaces, along with traditional German fare and Hefewiezen. It’s a more scene-y version of the Eataly Birreria, but with great pretzels and ping pong.” standardhotels.com
6. Mighty Quinn’s in the East Village
“Some of the best barbecue in the city for my dollar—and my palette! This place is out of control. It may be the least obvious choice on this list, but they actually have an amazing smoked sausage, and they already serve our ketchup.” mightyquinnsbbq.com
Portraits photographed by Meredith Jenks
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