Want to Build a Better Burger? Then Check Out This Interview with the Boys of New Gotham Sauce Company!

Find out why every good burger company starts in a gynecologist's office.

September 13, 2012 1:13 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Gotham Hot Sauce
Readers, we're inviting you to a celebration of what the Gotham Sauce Company is calling "the burger's inner perfection." And if you're a vegetarian or a vegan, I'm sure they think that a grilled portobello mushroom is pretty darn perfect, too. (Photo: Kickstarter)

I saw down with Dan and Piergiorgio, the boys behind Gotham Sauce Company, to talk about their Kickstarter for their truly awesome Top Secret Sauce project. Here's what they had to say about the best burgers in the country, why they're doing what they doing, and the secret recipes that inspire them every single day.

What's the story behind Gotham Sauce Company?

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Dan: Pier and I are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. A lot of the ideas we discussed early-on were for high-tech, social media-related companies which, in reality, were way beyond our capabilities to create. We decided that maybe we should go low-tech rather than aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and create an idea based on something we are both passionate about and are fully-capable of creating ourselves. Pier and I both love food, especially burgers, and agreed that much of what makes a great burger is the sauce that it's topped with. We had always toyed around with making different BBQ sauces and burger sauces for our roommates in college, and they were always a huge hit. We realized that despite the plethora of secret sauces at burger joints across NYC and the country, there are virtually none sold in stores, so we set out to bottle and sell our own.

Pier: Dan had made a great recipe for a barbecue sauce during college, and would always make it during football tailgates. Our friends always told him he should bottle and sell it. After thinking about it for a while, we decided it wasn't a good idea - there are thousands of BBQ sauces out there - from the spicy, to the tangy, to the sweet, and everything in between. We felt the same way about hot sauces - the market is crammed with too many choices! We thought the best solution would be to create a product that would appeal to more people and would fill a long unfulfilled void in the pantries of America. Hence, Gotham Sauce Co. and our Top Secret Burger Sauce was born.

How did the two of you meet?

Pier: The answer to this question may be a bit more than you bargained for! But here goes- Dan and I actually met at the gynecologist's office. Well, our mothers did. They were both pregnant with us at the same time. A few years later, we were in kindergarden class together. We then grew up together and went to college together. Today, we live 10 blocks from one another in New York, and now, I guess we're business partners too.

Dan: Honest truth, our moms met in the OBGYN's office when they were pregnant with us. Then we ended up at the same pre-school and have been best friends ever since.

Which secret sauces were the inspiration behind yours?

Pier: It's almost impossible for me to pin down one specific sauce that inspired our product.

Dan: It's really a combination of all the usual suspects. Can't really say there was one in particular.

Where's your favorite burger in the world?

Pier: For me, the best burger I have ever tasted was a bacon crusted burger we started playing with last year. The general idea behind it is to sear a layer of bacon onto one side of a beef patty. The supporting case was a potato roll, a bit of crispy lettuce, and some Monterey Jack cheese. It is cooked in peanut oil on a stovetop. (proving that a great burger doesn't have to come off of a barbecue!)

Dan: There is a place in Hackensack, New Jersey called White Manna. They make these super-greasy sliders with grilled onions and American cheese that are absolutely fantastic. The place is literally the size of the average office cubicle and the smell of onions is so strong it would make your clothes smell for days, but it makes the best burgers I can imagine. I've tried to recreate the White Manna burger many times but failed.

Is there a hyped-up burger joint that you think is super overrated?

Pier: I definitely prefer some burger joints to others, but I cannot say that there is any burger joint I see as overrated. Full disclosure here: I hold gift cards to a handful of New York burger joints because my friends all know how much I love going to them!

Dan: I won't name one specifically but any burger joint that goes to great lengths to make a great burger only to top it with plain old ketchup is overrated in my book.

Do you see yourself tackling any other sauces in the future?

Pier: Of course! We are not a one-and-done operation! Although our company is still incredibly young and we don't have the resources to produce a full line of burger-optimizing products, we have tons of things on the backburner (pun intended). We have a bacon-cheddar sauce that we have been obsessed with, but it is in its early stages at the moment. It essentially replicates the taste of a bacon cheddar burger without making someone buy (you guessed it) bacon and cheddar.

Dan: Of course. There are a lot more foods out there aside from the burger that deserve a sauce of their own. We'd ultimately like to become the company that creates sauces for all the foods that don't have one. The logical choice for ribs is BBQ sauce. The logical choice for chicken wings is hot sauce. The logical choice for a burger WAS ketchup but only because ketchup was really all that there was to choose from. There are plenty of foods out there that deserve their own topping. Take the burger's sidekick, the french-fry, for example. There is certainly something better than ketchup to dunk a fry into than ketchup. And that's what we'll set out to create.

If you had to pair a drink with a Gotham Sauce-slathered burger, which one would you choose?

Dan: I think we can both agree that our favorite beer to have while grilling is a Brooklyn Summer Ale. Now that summer is making an exit and fall is slowly creeping in, we may be more sad to see Brooklyn Summer Ale leave the store shelves than to see colder temperatures and less beach days.

Pier: Now that the summer is coming to an end, however, we can always look forward to other great beers. I can make due with some Sam Adams Octoberfest. Can you tell I'm a sucker for the seasonals?


Like what these boys have to say? We do, too. That's why you should check out why they were our Food Kickstarter of the Day!

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