Oyster Bay’s latest burger joint has arrived, in the form of Gimme Burger. The restaurant brought to the hamlet by the team of Jesse Schenker and Michael and Claudia Taglich offers low-cost burgers, fries, shakes and more.
The new restaurant, located next to the Life Enrichment Center on East Main Street, was the brainchild of Schenker and Michael’s father, Nick. A 91-year old former butcher, Nick was discussing different cuts of meat with Schenker, and from one of their discussions sprung the idea to open an old school burger joint in Oyster Bay.
“I had been talking about a burger joint forever. So then when I was talking to Nick about the meat and stuff it got me excited,” Schenker said. “We were just sitting around, and I was like ‘Mike, your father and I are opening up a burger joint.’”
Throughout the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant largely relied on doing pick-up meals, mainly straightforward, comfort-food dishes such as burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads. The restaurant’s to-go food increasingly gained in popularity throughout the course of the lockdown, according to Schenker, which further influenced their idea.
Before the restaurant officially opened on Feb. 24, Gimme Burger offered free burgers, while Schenker, corporate chef Julian Rios and Nick were still tinkering with the menu. Michael explained that they wanted to get the community’s feedback on the food as well as serve as a soft launch for the restaurant.
“People are forgiving of any mistakes you might make as you open and we just figured we’d throw that open to the public,” Michael said. “It didn’t break the bank for us, and it was a great way to get the word around.”
The menu includes an intentionally small array of classic meals, mainly consisting of different types of burgers and sandwiches, fries and milkshakes. Schenker and Taglich both mentioned that they had wanted to make sure that nothing on the menu cost more than $10, both to make it more affordable for customers and to lean into the old school fast-food theme.
So far people appear to be responding positively to the new restaurant, with numerous positive reviews on Google. Nancy Farinaccio and Margie Ruzika, employees at the Life Enrichment Center, spoke positively about what they ordered during their first visit, agreeing that the restaurant was a good addition to the hamlet’s culinary scene.
“We heard all the hype about this place, and Kevin the manager here actually used to work at the Life Enrichment Center, so we had to check the place out,” Farinaccio said.
“The burgers were great, the French fries were delicious,” Ruzika said. “We want to know what the secret sauce is.”
All the food at the restaurant is made by hand by Schenker and his employees, who experimented with numerous ways to grind and prepare the meet, in addition to buns, shakes and everything else on the menu. He also emphasized that they had wanted to keep the menu small, quick and easy for customers to pick from.
“There’s so many choices everywhere you go now. You go to these places and they’re like ‘Do you want avocado or bacon or turkey bacon’ or this or that, it’s so much,” Schenker said. “So, we really just decided to keep it simple.”
The burger joint is at 39 E. Main Street, a location which has stood vacant since partway through the pandemic. It is also almost equidistant from the Taglich’s and Schenker’s houses, making it an ideal commute for them.
In addition, the property also has an outdoor patio, where the owners intend to add tables and chairs once spring brings a little more warmth to the hamlet. Inside there are several family-friendly board games, as well as a retro Ms. Pac-Man arcade game.
This is the Schenker and the Taglich’s third restaurant in Oyster Bay. “We’re very thankful for the support of the community,” Michael said. “I’m delighted that two people I love, my father and Jesse, put together something so great. We’re expecting this to be a lot of fun.”