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Burger Bandit in Lynbrook cooks up surprise for hospital staff, homeless shelters

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Burger Bandit owner Ryan Straschnow and his staff served a delicious surprise for those in need on Friday, when they cooked about 200 meals and delivered them to NYU Winthrop Hospital and homeless shelters around Hempstead.

“I wanted to give back to the community in a way that actually helps to nurses and doctors,” Straschnow said. “I’m definitely very grateful for all that they do.”

Straschnow and his staff delivered individually packaged burgers and fries to the establishments. They began preparing the meals at 9 a.m., and had them delivered by noon. He said he was motivated to support the hospital staff for being on the front line against the coronavirus. Straschnow undertakes a similar mission on Thanksgiving — or “Banditgiving” — when he provides meals to homeless people on the holiday.

Straschnow said he chose Winthrop because the staff there treated him well when he sustained a broken leg and took good care of his father after he suffered a heart attack. He added that the staff reacted positively to his generosity.

Though the COVID-19 outbreak has caused his business to struggle, Straschnow said, he was determined to make deliveries to the hospital, and he added that he hoped to do so once a week.

“It definitely wasn’t easy,” he said. “It’s something that I had to put thought into. Every business is struggling. I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of struggling small business owners right now, but it’s something that I could do, and if I could do more, I would. It made me feel proud that I was in a position that I could do that.”

Straschnow said the coronavirus has had a major impact on his business. He had to let go of eight employees and cut the store’s hours. It is normally open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight, but he now closes around 8 p.m. each evening, he said. He added that he is generating about half of his usual revenue.

He said he has noticed an uptick in orders from Uber Eats, Door Dash, Grub Hub, Postmates and other similar services, and noted that Burger Bandit now personally delivers.

Though times are hard, Straschnow expressed optimism that things will eventually return to normal. “A little bit of time is going to go by, and things are going to start to even out a little bit,” he said.