South Orange will soon be home to a new restaurant: BGR the Burger Joint will open this fall in the former Mara’s Cafe & Bakery at The Gateway (9 W. South Orange Ave.). Part of a national franchise, the South Orange location will be the first BGR to open in New Jersey.
The franchise operators are Phil Sannitti, who has many years of restaurant experience, and his son Paul, both of whom are Seton Hall University alumni.
“BGR The Burger Joint is the second national franchise, in addition to Pet Wants, to locate their first New Jersey store here in South Orange,” said Bob Zuckerman, executive director of the South Orange Village Center Alliance (SOVCA). “I think that’s a big deal, and says a lot about how the South Orange Village Center is becoming a real destination downtown for new, emerging businesses. I am very excited that the Sannittis and the BGR Franchise choose South Orange for their first New Jersey location, and I’m sure that they will be a great new addition to the casual dining scene for area residents, commuters and the Seton Hall community here in the Village.”
A gourmet burger restaurant that started in Bethesda, MD in 2008, BGR currently has 22 locations, mostly in the Washington, D.C. area. The closest one to South Orange is in Yonkers, NY. They are frequently written up in the Washington press as one of DC’s best burgers, Zuckerman said.
In addition to traditional beef burgers, grilled over an open flame and served with a variety of toppings, BGR offers side dishes and shakes. Some specialty items include The Wellington, a burger topped with caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, black truffles and blue cheese; Salmon BLT, wild caught salmon over tzatziki sauce with applewood bacon, lettuce & tomato; and the Greek, ground leg of lamb, Tzatziki, feta, cucumber, red onion, lettuce and tomato.
Is your mouth watering yet? Check out their menu here.
Read more about BGR’s philosophy here, from their website:
“At BGR, our kitchens are open for transparency into the quality food we use everyday and for customers to connect with the process. Our burgers are crafted with the highest quality beef and grilled to temperature over an open flame — not fried on a piece of stainless steel. Our bread is made for us by local bakers and delivered fresh daily. The tomatoes are the finest available and hand sliced – the way a tomato should be. It’s not fast food, its food made right.”
In a press release, Ed Kelley, President of Franchising, said, “In addition to bringing BGR to the residents of South Orange, we’re looking forward to introducing this innovative burger concept to Seton Hall students.”
“Awareness of the BGR brand is growing throughout the U.S. and we look forward to expanding our loyal customer base as we bring BGR’s excellent service and award-winning menu items to the New Jersey area,” said Rich Adams, President and Chief Operating Officer of American Burger Company, parent company of BGR.