By Matt Ern, Columnist
"No burgers until the gifts are over," joked celebrity chef Bobby Flay at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Roosevelt Field Mall location of his chain, "Bobby's Burger Palace."
The new location is the ninth in a chain that offers an affordable alternative to Flay's high-end restaurants such as the Mesa Grill in New York City. Flay describes the restaurant as "fast casual."
Flay is known from staring in a variety of shows on the Food Network including "Throwdown! With Bobby Flay." Five of the nine cooking shows he's hosted are still on the air. He was also featured on "Iron Chef" several times, with varying degrees of success.
Town of Hempstead officials gave Flay a variety of gifts before cutting the ceremonial ribbon. After a short ceremony in which Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray declared that Garden City had been "crunchified" by Flay and presented him with an enormous spatula (in lieu of a key to the city), those present were treated to a seemingly unending sample of the restaurant's signature dishes.
The flagship burger is the Crunchburger, a cheeseburger adorned with several potato chips and served with a pickle on the side. The sample burgers given out at the opening were delicious, and so many had been prepared that guests were given the option of taking some home. For such a surprisinglyfilling meal, the Crunchburger costs a meager $6.75.
Also on the menu at the opening were french fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries and milkshakes. The onion rings were a real standout and featured a delicious beer batter. There were lots of sauces available for dipping on the tables, with a honey mustard-and-horseradish sauce emerging as a crowd favorite. The milkshakes ran a gamut of flavors including chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and blueberry.
The restaurant's menu hosts a variety of other burgers, sandwiches and salads. Most items on the menu cost around $7.75, which isn't bad at all considering the quality of the food. Any burger can also be "crunchified" with the addition of chips upon request. Beer and wine is also served.
Flay seemed excited to be opening the new location. "I'm thrilled to be here in Roosevelt Field," he said. "This is a great location and it's not so easy to get real estate in Garden City."
There is another "Bobby's Burger Palace" located further out on Long Island in the Smith Haven mall.
The Town of Hempstead officials present at the opening were just as excited to have Flay's new restaurant here. It has created over 50 new jobs and Murray says the restaurant is great for tourism and the town's economy.
In an interview with WRHU, Flay said that for him, it's always been about the burgers. "I think it's the thing I crave more than anything else," he said. "They're sort of the ‘everything' sandwich."
"Bobby's Burger Palace" is a great place to stay nourished while doing some last minute shopping at the mall this holiday season. If the food at the opening is any indication then the restaurant should be packed in the coming months.