When Anthony Ballato told his wife Kim that the Middle Village/Maspeth area needed a great burger place with reasonable prices, she agreed with him right away. But when he told his wife that he thought they should open it, her immediate reaction was, “No way.”
Kim Ballato cautioned her husband that the restaurant business is like another marriage. Having been a restaurant manager for six years and working in other areas of the business for a decade, she knew exactly what they would face. Now, she smiles from behind a sparkling counter at the restaurant which opened in mid-March, and she’s not saying “no way” anymore.
Anthony and his long-time business partner, Tony Malatos, decided to open Burger Bar when a location became available near KNS Building Restoration, a successful Maspeth specialty construction company they have owned and operated for the last 15 years.
The combination of the solid business relationship between Ballato and Malatos, Kim’s restaurant experience and two very creative chefs with one sous chef has turned a small space at 79-25 Cooper Avenue into a sometimes frenzied burger joint that has the whole area talking—and ordering.
The business plan for Burger Bar is simple: Use quality ingredients, concentrate on a creative, changing menu, offer great service and stay in a family affordable price range.
To that end, the chefs are kept very busy by local “burger addicts” who can enjoy classic bar burgers or one of seven different signature burgers. And by the way, beef isn’t the only game in town here–for a twist, Burger Bar also offers a freshly ground turkey burger, a signature favorite of locals, the ahi tuna burger, plain or buffalo chicken strips and marinated grilled chicken breast.
Several regulars pointed to a potential overall favorite during a recent trip to the restaurant—the Hot Mess Burger, smothered in secret sauce and requiring many, many napkins.
The menu has recently been expanded to include specialty sandwiches like short ribs and pulled pork. Diners can choose from several sides including thick cut, battered onion rings, nachos and Caesar salad. Coming soon is a Hot Dog Menu that will include creations like the Firehouse Dog and the St. Bernard Dog. Burgers of the day are served with your choice of regular or sweet potato fries.
Bottom line: it looks like the “five guys” over on Woodhaven Boulevard might need to watch out for the two guys from Cooper Avenue.
Burger Bar is open Monday thru Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sit down, take-out and delivery is available. To order, call 347-457-6680 or fax 347-457-6682
by Patricia Adams