It’s not often that my wife tells me that we have to go to Niagara Falls (American side) for a burger. Actually, it’s only happened one time. She said, at the time, that the talk of the town was Rock Burger, and that we had to go try it out.
Always game for a fun food adventure, we headed to Niagara Falls, not to see the views, but to chow down on some gourmet burgers unlike anything else that we had tried up until that time.
Taking a look at the Rock Burger Niagara Falls menu, I could tell that the biggest problem was choosing which burger to order. Why? Because these were no ordinary burgers – they’re stuffed burgers.
For example, the “Oh-My-Oreo” is stuffed with Oreo cookies, and topped with bacon and frosting. Yes, you heard that right. Then there’s the “Dorito Torch,” stuffed with cheese and original Doritos, topped with cheese, Bison dip, and Frank’s. Not all of the burgers are as “out there” and adventurous, but a lot are. How about the “The Cheesecake Wonder,” stuffed with NY cheesecake, and topped with bacon and strawberry spread? Oh, and there’s “The Fruity Pebble…” and “The Macaroni Trolley…” and “The Misty Taco.” Each of these stuffed creations is as jawdropping as moutwatering, depending who you talk to of course. Some people are not so adventurous. Others want to try everything under the sun.
For those that are looking for something a little more “safe,” and traditional, there are the un-stuffed burgers and sliders, and “The Rock Dogs.” The menu goes on and on. There are different sized burgers, a kid’s menu, and a build-your-own option.
Now you can see what I mean when I say that it took us a good spell of time to peruse the menu While we thought about going off the deep end, we ended up choosing burgers that are considered middle of the road. We opted for stuffed burgers, but not stuffed with anything too crazy.
On the drive back to Buffalo, we talked about returning to Rock Burger to try one of the crazier concoctions, but then the pandemic struck and we never did. Since that time, the owner of the stuffed-burger joint – Jay Lizardo – has licenced additional locations, in Cheektowaga and Tonawanda. The owner-operators of the Cheektowaga location, Brandon Markant and Derrick Ferraro, are now opening their second licenced Rock Burger at 502 Elmwood Avenue, which pretty much means that we can effortlessly walk there.
Adventurous? Yes. Dangerous? Probably.
“Derek and I opened the Cheektowaga location three years ago,” said Markant. “I grew up in Niagara Falls and Wheatfield, and Derek grew up in Lockport. We’ve been best friends since we were little. We’ve always worked in the food industry. Now we’re older and have families, but we’re still just a couple of guys who love food and the food industry. We want to share our passions with everyone. We figured that our next step after opening in Cheektowaga was The Elmwood Village. We’re completely gutting and renovating the space, and putting in a new kitchen and hood, with booth seating, flat-screens (broadcasting sporting events), with room for between 65-75 customers (seated). Once things settle down after the opening, we will have quick turnaround times on food orders thanks to multiple grills, and a great staff. It will be family-friendly with everything from kid’s meals to rootbeer floats. We will also be serving beer, wine, and cider (canned and bottled).”
Curious, I asked Markant what his favorite menu item is, and without hesitation he said, “The Buffalo Mac Daddy stuffed burger, stuffed with Buffalo chicken fingers, mac and cheese – cheese topped, with Buffalo chicken wing dip, provolone, and hot sauce (add classic Rock Sauce on the side for an additional charge). I just had two last week [laughing]. It’s right up there with the 716 Burger, stuffed with wing dip and cheese, topped with Frank’s and mozzarella, served on a brioche roll, topped with bleu cheese, mozzarella and pepperoni. The 716 Burger just got nominated by the NY Beef Council as one of the top four burgers. Jay will be heading to the cook-off next. These are, quite possibly, the best burgers in the country.”
Markant is anticipating that the Elmwood Rock Burger location will open in early July. It will be open for lunch and dinner, loosely from 11am to 10pm (and longer hours on the weekend). They will be serving up all of the standard delicious craziness, along with weekly specials and sides to boot. This could be the perfect gift for burger lovers in The Elmwood Village.
Rock Burger USA | 502 Elmwood Avenue | Buffalo and Niagara Falls NY | Take-out available
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