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FAMILY-FRIENDLY … HEAVENLY!

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by Joe Lugara

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Burger Heaven has opened a new restaurant, on the corner of Third Avenue and 86th Street, in Yorkville. At 5,000 square feet, this newest Burger Heaven seats 150 and sports something key for families: a free stroller valet service. The unique feature makes perfect sense, given the fact that the restaurant has planted itself in a predominantly residential neighborhood for the first time in its 61-year history. In another nod to its Upper East Side family environment, Saturday and Sunday brunches have been added, offering Eggs Benedict and other specialties. "Burger", of course, is the big word here. Prices range from $5.45 for the "Classic Beef Burger" to $8.95 for the Patty Melt, a broiled burger grilled between a couple slices of rye bread with American cheese. There are salads, sandwiches, soups and chili, eggs and omelettes, and hot plates covering the bases from franks and beans to fried filet of sole. $14.95 is as high as you can go with anything. Speaking of height, the Third Avenue location, like four of its predecessors, also houses two floors. The difference, as co-owner (and father of three) Nicholas Cyprus points out, is one of floor space: "With our corporate customers, we don't need as much space between aisles as we do with families. The pace here is different because the customers are different — we have very large aisles that you could push a double-stroller through. We also made the staircase wide enough for parents to bring their strollers up if they need to." And they have three times as many high chairs as the other locations. Families might find the second floor a little less hectic, but parents with one kid in tow who's old enough might want to hit the classic counter seating downstairs. And if you and your family are early risers, you can make it in time for breakfast, which begins serving at 7am and wraps up at 11am. Cold cereal, oatmeal, pancakes and French toast, eggs, bagels and homemade muffins, fruits, omelettes, juices and milk are among the items that make up the breakfast menu. There is no children's menu, but Cyprus explains that the general menu has been redesigned over the years to include a full range of child-friendly food at children's menu prices, including chicken fingers, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, and Sloppy Joes. Burger Heaven was established when Ralph Caviris opened "Beefburger" on 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, on May 1, 1943, smack in the middle of World War II. By 1955, Caviris's partner and son-in-law Evans Cyprus acquired a new restaurant for the chain, and kept on adding throughout the 1960s. By 1974, the maturation process was complete when the Beefburger name was replaced with the more stylish and celestial Burger Heaven. A dozen presidents (and countless tons of burger meat) after its debut, Burger Heaven is now a city staple — and still family-owned, by the brother-sister/brother-in-law team of Cyprus, Marguerite Loucas, and Dimitri Dellis. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 6:30am-11pm; and Friday-Sunday, 8am-midnight. (212) 722-8292.

 


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