The $78 Newark Airport Burger

Charlie Mortling

Los Angeles, CA

Last updated on Sep 25, 2023

Posted on Sep 25, 2023

By now you've probably seen the Twitter (now called X) tweet by New York Times Op-Ed columnist David Brooks claiming that he spent $78 on what looks to be a hamburger that was picked apart and a drink. This sent the entire aviation community into rage about airport food pricing and the quality of the meal, however some keen eyed people noticed that David Brooks was being less than honest about his $78 burger.

What is David Brooks claiming?

From just the picture of his tweet we see a burger with the lettuce and tomatoes removed, a side of crinkle cut fries, and some sort of alcoholic drink (based off the type of glass it looks like whisky). In the tweet it appears that he is claiming the one drink, burger, and fries cost him $78 at the Newark Airport. He seems to blame the economy for the meal being this expensive.

If he really did pay $78 for all of that I would have to agree that he overpaid and the food was expensive. However the internet is an amazing hive mind of activity and it was quickly fact checked by travelers who visited this same restaurant to check the menu.

David Brooks was not being truthful

Twitter/Robᵉʳᵗ Graham 𝕏

Quickly there was follow up tweets replying to David's accusations with pictures of the menu from the restaurant he visited, the internet was quick to point out this was 1911 Smoke House BBQ in Newark's Terminal A.

Based off of the menu, his burger and fries cost about $17 and the rest of his total was the whiskey, which would mean the man ordered $61 worth of booze at an airport bar. This obviously was not conveyed in his tweet that the majority of his meal was alcohol.

I will admit that the price of the burger and fries was not the cheapest, however I would find that pretty standard for airport food. It was quite fun watching the entirety of Twitter rip him apart for the obvious misdirection. This was something that was so easily fact checked that even the restaurant on Facebook called him out.

Looks like someone was knocking back some serious drinks - Bar tab was almost 80% and he's complaining about the cost of his meal keep drinking buddy - we get paid off everything.

Why lie?

I feel like a New York Times Op-Ed columnist and book author should be well aware that things as simple as your tweets can be fact checked, especially when you're posting from an airport where someone can just go and check the menu.

This was obviously meant to stir up some drama and it worked, but I don't think it worked in the way that David thinks, instead this universally made him the most hated man. At the very least it was quite fun to watch him get picked apart, just like his burger, by Twitter.

If this was just a simple "mistake" then why not post a receipt to be transparent with what exactly the cost was for the meal. Even at some of the most expensive airport restaurants that I know of I don't think they would ever serve a $78 hamburger and fries.

And I don't know about you but I don't usually go to airport bars and tip back shots of whiskey before going on flights, as we have discussed airport food isn't that cheap, so to not know how much your meal is going to be before you order seems farfetched.

Final Thoughts

At minimum this was an entertaining way to watch someone get torn apart by an entire community. But let's not forget that fact that this tweet was not truthful when it came to the intended perception to the reader. Someone like David Brooks should know better and I believe he knew exactly what he was doing. He got caught and got to find out how much of a laughing stock you become when you're not truthful on the internet, he should have known better.

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