The lobster mac-and-cheese burger at Prime Burger Bar in Commack.

The lobster mac-and-cheese burger at Prime Burger Bar in Commack. Credit: Joseph Dowling Jr.

Cheese-injected burgers, PB&J wings and cotton-candy milkshakes with Skittle-coated rims have landed in Plainview with the opening of the most recent Prime Burger Bar in a shopping plaza along Old Country Road.

Owner Richard Bedrosian would have told you all of that in mid-April, when the place first opened, but he said it took until now to find enough staff for his third location to keep it running smoothly.

Bedrosian's previous two spots, Babylon Burger Bar (in the village of the same name) and Prime Burger Bar in Commack opened in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Much has changed since then, of course, but the bars' base burger — an 8-ounce grind of prime chuck steak, short rib and rib eye — has not.

"My success is how that burger tastes, and I was not going to fool with it," he said. 

While a simple burger still costs the pre-pandemic price of $14, jacked-up versions — such as those topped with burrata or braised short rib, or lobster mac-and-cheese — mostly chime in between $16 and $19. (The Juicy Lucy, with its American-cheese-stuffed patty, is  $18.95).

The lengthy menu encompasses tavern-esque apps, sandwiches (think chicken cutlet heroes and avocado grilled cheese), chunky salads, poutine and ornate milkshakes. A summer menu, which runs until Labor Day, offers lobster bisque, a $36 lobster roll and a watermelon-feta salad. Fourteen taps blend local beers with the likes of Stella and Guinness, and cocktails are in the spicy cranberry margarita and salted caramel martini vein.

Like many restaurant owners, Bedrosian pivoted hard to takeout in the early days of the pandemic, then expanded outdoor seating at bis Babylon and Commack spots. While Plainview's 86 seats are all indoors, the space carries the same gastropub vibe as its sister locations, with a new twist: An all-day weekday happy hour, beginning at noon, at the 15-seat bar, where diners can score an $8 burger, $7 wings, $6 apps and $5 drinks. Bedrosian plans to expand that to the other two places, a nod to inflation and the economic uncertainty that lies ahead for both patrons and operators.

Besides increased labor costs,  "the cost of food is climbing to the point that the profit margins are getting very slim," said Bedrosian, who was a longtime club promoter until he branched into burgers. He said he's seen epic price rises in the last two years, with chicken wings spiking from $80 to $170 at some point, and lobster meat right behind. "There's no catch up," he said.  "You don't know what's going to happen in weeks to come."

Prime Burger Bar is open daily for lunch and dinner at 1048 Old Country Rd., Plainview; 516-780-0455, primeburgerbarny.com

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