February 16, 2013
Burger joint opening on Main St.
Brothers open franchise of Macho Burger chain in former pizzeria
Macho Burger is set to open Wednesday at the corner of Port Watson and south Main streets, and will offer burgers that can be personalized with about 30 different toppings for customers looking for lunch in a hurry.
The restaurant will be the second effort of a brother team that opened Zonies in the clock tower building across the street on south Main Street.
Eric and Sean Cook started Zonies, a franchise with eight locations, together in Oswego in 2006, but Sean Cook decided to leave in 2011.
The Cortland store opened in 2009.
Charlene Reardon, the Cook duo’s mom, now co-owns the restaurant with Eric.
But Sean Cook said he is ready to get back into the restaurant business.
Eric Cook, who owned the previous restaurant at the same property, International Pizza Kitchen, and Sean decided to join forces, close the pizza shop and open a burger joint.
“Overall, the revenue wasn’t there that we expected,” said Eric Cook, noting that the brothers saw an opportunity to serve burgers downtown.
“We’re hoping to open to the public on Wednesday,” said Sean Cook, who is moving from Tampa, Fla., to join his brother at the new restaurant.
International Pizza Kitchen closed in August.
It took longer than expected to change over the businesses, Eric Cook said.
Macho Burger will focus on personalizing burgers, offering customers a selection of about 30 burger toppings, from simple cheese to chipotle aioli.
“The idea is to build your own, obviously,” said Eric Cook, but there will also be seven signature burgers for customers who do not know what to top their burgers with.
One signature burger will be the grilled cheese burger, where two grilled cheese sandwiches will act as the bun.
Zonies also caters to customer’s individuality, offering about 50 calzone options.
“The only similarity (between the businesses) is the customer has complete control of what they’re making,” Eric Cook said.
The restaurant will also offer fresh cut fries and the burgers will be hand-pressed and made of fresh, not frozen, beef.
It will also cater to eaters in a rush, with burgers usually taking only five minutes to cook.
Macho Burger will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and seat 50 people.
Between 15 and 20 part-time employees will be hired for the restaurant.
Macho Burger is part of a trend of restaurants opening downtown, said Bob Haight, executive director of the Cortland County Chamber of Commerce.
“What we see happening is downtown is becoming a hub for lunch and dinner,” Haight said.
Instead of taking business away from other restaurants, the eateries that open downtown will pull more customers to the area, he said.
“It’s all going to help downtown, for sure,” Haight said.
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