The first Burger Bandit - it's owners hope to make it into a franchise — held its official grand opening on Sunday (it will open to the public on Monday). It is co-owned by Jonathan Cheban, better known as cable T.V.'s "E" star Kim Kardashian's best friend. Five-towns resident Gene Broytman is Cheban's co-owner, and the general manager is Steve Schoenly of Rockville Centre.
But even though Cheban hobnobs with the celebrity elite, he was welcoming and gracious to all who attended his ribbon cutting, including Mayor Bill Hendrick, members of the village board, Assemblyman Brian Curran, and the local newspaper, the Lynbrook/East Rockaway Herald.
When asked why he chose Lynbrook to start his franchise, Cheban, who is a New Jersey native and studied communications at Hofstra University, said that he wanted to start with a place that had a nice "hometown feel."
"I want this to be a family place," Cheban said. "A place where people can go to get a great burger at a great price. What better place than Lynbrook?"
Cheban is the founder of the website TheDishh.com and former CEO of CommandPR, a public relations firm with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Miami. He is currently best known for his widely-publized friendship with celebrity Kim Kardashian, and has appeared on her show, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," numerous times. The show, on the "E" cable channel, is going into its 10th season.
"This has been two years in the making," said Broytman, just an hour before he opened the doors to the public on Monday. "We're very happy, very excited."
It's very exciting," said Schoenly, who has 25 years in the restaurant business. "This is great for us, but also great for the community to have a place like this they can go to. The feedback has been incredible. People can't wait for us to open."
The restaurant was designed by Karen Dallago and Sharon Dallago-Genden of Dallago Associates Hospitality Designers based in East Rockaway.
The contractor was Ben's General Contracting Corp. of Freeport, headed by Ben Jackson.
The small burgers were infused with cooked onion and served with cheese, pickle and a light touch of special "Bandit Sauce." Cheban is especially proud of his Toasted Marshmallow shake.
Burger Bandit also offers a veggie Bandit, a Bandit Dog, shakes, beer and wine.