Summer has arrived. The smell of hamburgers lingers in the air and it’s leading you to GM Burger Bar. In 2013, George Korten opened GM Burger Bar in Rockville Centre and a second one in Massapequa months later. The new kids on the block were essentially an overnight success and walked away with the 2014 Long Island Pulse Great Burger Battle trophy. The battle has returned this year, and Korten is anxiously waiting to find out if he and his team will have a chance to defend their crown when the July/August issue of Pulse drops July 7 with a list of finalists. He took a break from biting his nails to sit down with me to talk about burgers, wine and the upcoming ground-beef, gridiron throw down.
Long Island Pulse: As defending champions, are you excited about the announcement of this year’s finalists for Great Burger Battle?
George Korten: Yes, very excited! We just hope that we get to show the competition what we got.
Pulse: What inspired you to open the burger bars?
Korten: We liked the idea of having a burger-centric concept but we wanted something that would separate us from other fast-food places. It was important to us to do interesting food and use chef-driven ingredients and toppings.
Pulse: What is your favorite type of Burger?
Korten: The Black Jack of course! It was also the 2014 Winner of the Burger Battle and is one of the most popular burgers on the menu.
Pulse: What do you like to drink with your Black Jack burger?
Korten: Although many people prefer to eat their burger with one of the countless craft beers out there, I prefer a nice glass of red wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a peppery Malbec. Many find it strange but I think there should be no rules when it comes to pairing food and beverages. You like what you like!
Pulse: If you’re a finalist, are we going to be able to try the Black Jack at this year’s competition?
Korten: Well if we are asked to compete, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I will say that we are always exploring exciting ways to improve the menu and keep evolving.
Pulse: What are your future plans for GM Burger Bar?
Korten: Right now we are crossing our fingers to be a part of this competition. Besides that, we are looking to open a third location in Farmingdale and just keep working on innovative recipes to keep our menu fresh and fun.
Get ’em while they’re hot! Tickets for Long Island Pulse’s Great Burger Battle are on sale now.