Mark Sarro served up his share of cheeseburgers in the 15 years he owned the Corner Kitchen in Atlantic Beach. But after the neighborhood eatery was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, Sarro wasn’t sure he’d ever get behind a grill again.
Then along came Burger Fi.
A “better burger” concept from North Palm Beach, Fla., the chain is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country and boasts healthy per-store revenues of $2.4 million. With 16 stores open and 22 under construction, the company expects to finish the year with at least 50, all pursuing the company’s trademarked goal of “the burgerfication of the nation.”
More are coming. Steve Lieber, the chain’s brand ambassador and director of franchise sales who helped launch the chain in 2011, said the goal is to open 500 to 800 restaurants in the next few years.
At least three of them will be owned by Sarro and his partner and pal, construction executive Alex Berkovitch. Their first Burger Fi is due to launch in Oceanside on April 21 in the former home of a failed franchise called Dickie’s Barbecue Pit.
The menu is an updated version of offerings from tried-and-true burger and shake joints of the 1950s and 1960s. Burger Fi features grass-fed Angus burgers, hand-cut fries, frozen custards and concrete shakes, plus craft beer and wine. Its competition in the category will come from fast-casual concepts like Manhattan-based Shake Shack, which opened its first Long Island location at the Gallery at Westbury Plaza last year.
The new store will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at its Oceanside store, 3115 Long Beach Rd. at noon on April 29 and a grand opening ceremony on the morning of April 30.