Summers—He's What's For Dinner

Do you want fries with that?

University President Lawrence H. Summers does.

He’ll also have honey mustard, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and cole slaw, or so the new Larry Summers hamburger at Bartley’s Burger Cottage would suggest.

Summers’ beef isn’t cheap: for $8.99, you can buy, bite into or even spit out this succulent Harvard president.

Summer said yesterday he was unsure what prompted the burger’s creation.

“I actually don’t know quite how it happened,” he said. “I didn’t hear about it until it was on the menu. I think somebody may have suggested it to them.”

Bartley’s co-owner Billy Bartley said he had a slightly better idea of who suggested it: Summers’ “wife.” Bartley said Summers’ “wife” approached him about creating the burger when the two were dining at Bartley’s a few months ago.

Summers’ ex-wife lives in Maryland. Professor of English Elisa New, Summers’ longtime girlfriend, could not be reached for comment last night.

Summers was similarly unclear yesterday as to the contents of his eponymous burger. It features “mostly beef, very, very rare,” he said, although he could not name the other ingredients.

Summers now sits between Sen. Edward M. Kennedy ’54-’56, D-Mass., and Chair of the African and African-American Studies Department Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., at least on the Bartley’s menu. Bartley said Summers was placed directly above Gates to needle the professor—who has spent the year at Princeton University—for his absence.

“They intentionally put Larry on top of Skip Gates to bust Skip’s chops,” said Bartley’s manager Karen O’Shea. “They’re very friendly with Skip.”

So far, the Summers burger is doing well, and may even be benefitting from its placement above the Gates burger, O’Shea said.

“It’s very popular,” she said. “It’s probably more popular than the Skip Gates.”

At Sunday night’s Undergraduate Council meeting, Summers named Bartley’s in response to a question about his favorite watering holes.

“Noch’s for one kind of food and Upstairs on the Square for another kind of experience,” Summers said. “And now that Bartley’s has a Larry Summers burger...”

Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05, who does not have a burger named after him, said he had not seen the ingredients of the burger. But he predicted that it would have “a pretty healthy helping of meat [and] maybe some spicy mustard, because the guy’s got some edge.”

“I would definitely include a Diet Coke with the order,” Mahan added.

Mahan said he hopes to earn a Bartley’s burger himself.

“If I were able to pull off a concert at the stadium next fall, I’d probably deserve a burger of my own,” he said. “But until then I’ll probably defer to Larry Summers.”

He added that a “Matt Mahan” burger would include “a little bit of everything.”

“I’d go for a diversity of ingredients because I think this semester we’ve really tried to hit on a number of important topics,” he said, listing lobbying on Universal Keycard Access, extended party hours, the curricular review and the University’s planned expansion into Allston as some examples.

Summers admitted yesterday he had not yet been to Bartley’s to order the new patty but said he’s eager to try it. He said he stops by Bartley’s “from time to time.”

Bartley said the only Summers visit he could recall was a few months ago—when his dining companion suggested adding Summers to the menu.

—Staff writer Stephen M. Marks can be reached at marks@fas.harvard.edu.