“At first we thought it would be a cool thing to do — but now it has gotten crazy,” said Frank Monteforte, co-owner of Blackdoor Burger, a hidden burger speakeasy in the West End, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. “We’re busy every night — and it’s only getting busier.”
Located on New York Avenue, Blackdoor Burger serves customers through a 12-inch-by-12-inch window, custom-built in a large, black iron door. There is no sign, and a red light signifies when the joint is open for business.
Within the past year, it has become one of Long Beach’s most popular eateries due to its relatively secret location — and its quality burgers.
In April, Blackdoor Burger was named one of the 10 best burgers in the state in the New York Beef Council’s Best NY Burger Contest — the only eatery in the New York metropolitan area to make the list.
“Overall it was a great experience,” says Monteforte. “It was great to be judged. We came in second place and competed against guys who were in the business for years.”
Monteforte opened the “deliberately” hard to find spot behind Long Beach Sandwich Co., at 801 W. Beech St., which he co-owns with his brother, Dan, owner of nearby Swingbellys BBQ. Both said that the West End has limited food options for the late-night crowd.
Blackdoor has an exclusive menu: burgers served with cheese, onions, tomatoes and a red special sauce on a potato bun, as well as fries for an additional cost. At a time when most burgers are prepared extravagantly to trend on social media, many say that Blackdoor’s classic cheeseburger is a breath of fresh air, and people from across Long Island come to grab a bite.
Though the business was set up to serve the local late-night crowd, the eatery quickly exceeded expectations.
“Last year, towards the end of the season, we had guys from Seaford, Merrick and Wantagh parked outside waiting for burgers,” Monteforte said. “It’s not just late-night bar food. We have families coming instead of going to fast food [drive-throughs].”
Monteforte said he’s already looking beyond serving only late-night customers.
“We’re [also] doing catering with a 50 burger minimum,” he said. “As long as people keep coming, we’ll keep feeding them.”