What to Drink at Local Burger Co.

(631) 647-8300, localburgerco.com
Opened: 2015 | Beers: 7

A former teacher at Brentwood High School, Drew Dvorkin ditched English to dedicate nearly the last two decades to educating drinkers in the discipline of Beer 101. His scholastic switch started with the opening of The Dead Poet on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in 2000. Now the Forest Hills Station House and T.J. Finley’s in Bay Shore are among his imbibe institutions. Dvorkin’s latest venture—opened in May 2015 and owned with Mike McElwee, a longtime friend and business partner, and Alyssa Martino, a former bartender at the latter pub—is Local Burger Co., his first presenting food as the headliner.

In the square, single-room space there is a stool-lined bar on one side and an open kitchen facing several small tables and a red banquette on the other. (The best seating, if the weather is cooperating, is positioned along a wall of glass doors that open onto East Main Street.)

The trio source ingredients locally “whenever it’s possible,” said Martino, who resides in East Islip and helms Local’s daily operations. Coyle’s Homemade Ice Cream—used in the hand-spun milkshakes—and Brooklyn Hot Dogs are among those.

Although the beef isn’t raised in the area, it satisfies with delicious, old-fashioned simplicity. Every burger is created from a custom blend that’s smashed to a nearly two-dimensional plane and cooked medium-well on a flattop griddle. This results in an exceptionally thin quarter-pound patty with a good, meaty flavor and loose, crumbly texture that sits in a potato bun branded with Bay Shore’s zip code and wrapped in wax paper.

The meat’s notable characteristics are showcased best in the namesake burger, which is unfussy and topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a house-made sauce. The other signatures feature fun accoutrements like fried bologna (The Hipster) and peanut butter (PB & B). There are also limited, cleverly named concoctions—devised during staff brainstorming sessions dubbed “Burger Lab” and rotated monthly.

At the concrete-topped bar, choose from a lineup of suitably New York-centric booze, including cocktails made with Sag Harbor Rum, displayed on a pair of digital menus. There are seven drafts (no bottles or cans) exclusively pouring breweries from Long Island (Moustache, Barrier, Great South Bay) and the choices are “always accessible to every type of drinker,” Dvorkin said. Bonus: The tap handles are made from spatulas.

What to Drink: Dvorkin recommended a pour of Port Jeff Brewing’s Porter, a dark and roasty ale sweetened with wildflower honey from Manorville’s South Paw Farm, to help endure the last weeks of winter. Porter is also being incorporated into Local’s food at the moment: it’s part of the batter used to fry the bangle-size onion rings and the pickle chips. Dvorkin said the style of beer used in the batter changes often and is dependent on the season. “Right now it’s dark, which adds a nice caramel- ized coating to the onion rings. As the weather starts to get warmer expect pale ales and pilsners to be used.”

niko krommydas

Niko Krommydas has written for Tasting Table, BeerAdvocate, Munchies, and First We Feast. He is editor of Craft Beer New York, an app for the iPhone, and a columnist for Yankee Brew News. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.