Community favorite New York Burger Bar is back and better than ever after reopening last month for the first time since a devastating fire broke out in the basement of the restaurant in September. The local burger joint in Massapequa officially re-opened for business on Jan. 5, just four months after the fire.
Due to smoke damage throughout the restaurant and extensive damage in the basement, where the electrical fire started, the walls and wooden floors had to be replaced. In addition, brand new bathrooms, new plumbing, electrical work and new air conditioning and heating systems were installed.
Although most of the dining area was salvaged, the fire was still a devastating blow for co-owners Richard Bedrosian and Georgia Galatoulas after almost two years in business.
“You put your life savings into something, and you put your life into something because we were here every day building up a very successful business that became part of the community,” Bedrosian said. “To see all that go up in smoke, I got to tell you it ripped my gut right out. People say we are lucky we got this open in just four short months, but it felt like a year to me.”
Bedrosian and his partner Galatoulas didn’t wait for the insurance company to finish its investigation due to the slow moving process. Instead, they took initiative, got their own contractors and did what they had to do to get the restaurant open.
“That’s the only way we were able to open in such a short time as four months,” Bedrosian said.
Loyal customers have shown emotional support to the business in the aftermath of the destruction.
“Once I heard they reopened I rushed over there as soon as possible,” Deanna Riebl, a Bellmore resident and regular at the restaurant, said. “The food and drinks are amazing, but I love the family-owned business vibe that always has a sense of humbleness; and after a tragedy like that occurs it seems even stronger.”
Bedrosian, who spoke on behalf of his partner Galatoulas, is very grateful that business has not missed a beat from prior to the fire to the reopening.
“We are blessed,” Bedrosian said. “We have such a loyal following and we truly became part of the community. The people show love for us, as we have for them.”
Not only are the owners grateful for their loyal customers, they are also appreciative to have loyal employees, as 90 percent of their staff came back to work. Christine Murphy, a bartender, was among the returning staff.
“It’s good to see all the faces we missed when we were closed, Murphy said. “The employees here are like one big family. I’m excited to be working with them and delivering our craft beers and signature burgers to our loyal customers.”
The fire may have destroyed parts of the restaurant, but the admirable and trendy concept of the owners was unaffected.
“It’s a build your own burger concept, and it’s an opportunity for people to get a burger the way they want it,” Bedrosian said. “We also incorporated craft beers from all over the world into the burger bar concept.”
The owners managed to find a silver lining in the aftermath of the fire, taking the opportunity to improve the menu, which now features burgers of the month and inventive appetizers and specials to create excitement in the restaurant and add variety.
Bedrosian, Galatoulas, loyal customers and the Massapequa community did what any family would do in the face of adversity; they stuck together. When customers walk through the door, they can expect a juicy medium rare burger, with a side of family values.
“We run the place like a family business, because it is a family business,” Bedrosian said. “If anything is wrong, our customers aren’t talking to an employee, they are talking to an owner; and we make it right.”
New York Burger Bar is located at 4225 Merrick Rd, Massapequa, NY 11758. Visit nyburgerbar.com for more information.