Bartley’s Bumps Summers Burger

‘I hope they will still let me eat there,’ Summers says

It’s official: former University President Lawrence H. Summers is dead meat.

The Larry Summers burger at Bartley’s Burger Cottage was scrapped from the menu Monday morning after two and a half years of serving the former president’s namesake, said Bill Bartley, son of the burger joint’s founder Joe Bartley.

After learning that his patty was retired, Summers wrote in an e-mail yesterday, “I hope they will still let me eat there.”

Bartley, who names burgers along with his wife and father, said the burger was cut only because Summers had stopped making headlines.

“He’s done. No más. Not interesting,” Bartley said.

He added that the burger, which was topped with swiss cheese and honey mustard, was “about as popular as Larry Summers. We can’t make him something he’s not.”

Bartley said he created the Summers’ meat memorial after the former Harvard president visited the restaurant early in 2004 with a woman who suggested the creation of the eponymous burger. At the time, Summers was dating Professor of English and American Literature and Language Elisa New.

Bartley said yesterday he did not know whether the woman was New, whom Summers married in December 2005.

Bartley also added other newsmakers to the menu on Monday, including recently inaugurated Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78 and Illinois Senator Barack H. Obama II, who graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991. The tagline next to Patrick’s name reads, “Together we can eat this.”

Bartley added that the Barack Obama burger—whose description reads “no experience necessary”—is particularly popular among college students, but said that was because of its feta cheese topping.

The Professor Skip Gates burger, named for W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr., is the only remaining gourmet burger named after a current Harvard affiliate.

Bartley said he was hesitant to add the Massachusetts governor, but Gates argued for Patrick’s placement on the menu on a visit to the restaurant this weekend. According to Bartley, he jokingly told Gates that there were already “enough brothers on the menu.”

Naming burgers after celebrities and political leaders has been a tradition at Bartley’s since the early 1970s, when Joe Bartley served Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter club sandwiches.

“I enjoyed our time together as burgers, and I will miss Larry very much,” Gates told The Crimson.

—Staff writer Katherine M. Gray can be reached at kmgray@fas.harvard.edu.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Summers, He's What's For Dinner
(May 4, 2004). 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.