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A Taste of Williamsburg Comes to Neighborhood, Without ‘the Attitude’

Photo: QueensPost

July 7, 2013 By Bill Parry

A promising new burger joint has opened in an unlikely location.

The restaurant, called Williamsburger, opened three weeks ago at 36-17 Greenpoint Ave. (near 50th Avenue) serving gourmet burgers, hot dogs and milkshakes in a laid back and comfortable atmosphere.

The restaurant is not located in an area known for dining and entertainment. Instead, it is surrounded by a number of small factories and houses–in the vicinity of St. Raphaels Church.

“Queens Blvd. wasn’t right for me,” said owner Cory McPherson adding, “I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle.  My own oasis works best for me.”

This is the second restaurant for Woodside resident McPherson, who opened the original in Williamsburg, Brooklyn five years ago.  However, he is growing tired of that location. His rent is soon to go up and he is fed up with workers and customers who have bad attitudes.

McPherson is more optimistic about the new branch in his own borough.

The owner is very pleased with the staff he has put together in this neighborhood—most of whom were born and raised in the area.

“People have been nothing but genuine and welcoming and glad that I came here, and that’s so different from the reception I got in Brooklyn five years ago.”

McPherson gets his freshly ground black Angus beef daily from Master Purveyors in the Bronx, the same company that supplies the meat to the famed Peter Lugar’s.

“All you need is some kosher salt and some black pepper and you’re good to go,” said McPherson. He cooks the burgers at 550 degrees on a flat top grill and serves them on Martin’s potato rolls.

The burgers start at $9 for a basic cheeseburger and go up to $15 for a sesame crusted yellow fin tuna burger.

“People don’t have Williamsburg money over here, so I think about the prices a lot,” said McPherson.

To address the challenge posed by a lack of parking in the area, McPherson opened a drive up window along the side of the resident that allows customers to wait for their food in their car.  People can also walk up to the window, making it a popular attraction for nighttime dog walkers.

Delivery service is also available.  McPherson’s 80 year old father, Ron, lends a hand with this. “He helped me build both restaurants and he does deliveries, too!” said McPherson.

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67 Comments

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Thurman

You might have been too young to remeber the 90,s sunnyside native Skillman avenue was a mess in the 90,s. it was full of run down bars like McGoverns, brandy well , etc which were after hour places full of drunks and coke heads who would then urinate or puke over doorways in the morning, also a busboy killed a customer in a bar and someone was murdered in the diner on 40 street all on the northside , Some of you people have very selective memories .

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Sunnyside Native

OMG, this conversation is still going on…

SWS: Get a Life and Joe O’s are right! The south side used to be a shit hole. The 90’s were indeed atrocious. The drug deals are still going down today, just not as much or as often. Now if they brought back bars like the Bliss or Sally O’s, I would go to that side of the boulevard every weekend. I still maintain that I wouldn’t live there then and I wouldn’t live there now. Sorry. Just my personal preference. The upside is that the south side is much better today, but they need more stores & restaurants to attract people. A 99c store, an eatery that sells empanadas and ABC Variety doesn’t do it for me! Although I do love a good empanada! But my fiancé & I will check out the Williamsburger!

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SuperWittySmitty

Joe, when you make statements like you did about someone’s neighborhood that aren’t true, like south “46th St. is seedy, with crack, heroin & pill dealers” and it’s not true, expect a response. I don’t know what’s going on over on the other side of the blvd but there aren’t any dealers hanging out on 46th from QB to 50th – I know, because I walk it on a regular basis.

Now you are referring to the late 90’s? 15 years ago? (I moved here in 96.) That’s considerably different from what you said in your original post.

What I approve of is the truth, not misleading exaggerations based on how things were “back in the nineties.” Suddenly I am aware of this northern/southern Sunnyside division, which is not good for the community. False statements like the ones you made in your original post will do nothing but aggravate this problem. If you want to live in the past, go ahead; I’ll focused on how much better we are doing today and how tomorrow will be even better.

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Joe O'Sullivan

@ Get A Life – you are 100% correct. Some of the people that post on here just don’t get it. Now, it is CONSIDERABLY better than it used to be, say in the early to late 90’s, but it still very much alive & well in that area. I ascertain that the dealers are selling primarily to people that they know. They are not on the corners, muddling under their breaths, oxy…hey I got oxy’s. Cars roll up, their connection meets them at the car, either getting in the car or casually talking through the car window. They hang out for a few minutes. Transaction complete. Probably the main reason that I wanted to move.

@ SuperWittySmitty – I am not trying to be provacative here. Nor am I looking for any sort of approval from you. You can believe what you want. Your believing me will play no vital role in my life or the way I will sleep tonight. I know what I saw and witnessed with my own two eyes. Calling the 108 out for a drug deal that took 5 minutes is a waste of my time. The 108 was well aware of what was going on back then & now. Their patrol presence and efforts have improved the area. Skillman Park (Torsney/Lou Lodati) still has their occasional things going on, but that is better as well and there is no car transactions going on. This place is bustling now, especially in light of the new dog run, and it is truly a great park to now visit. There is a certain element hanging out on 46th Street, between 43rd Avenue & Queens Blvd., right around the corner from Starbucks & T-Mobile. There WAS a crack house on 44th Street, between 43rd Avenue & Skillman Avenue. This was on the radar for the police, as I discussed this with them at a community board meeting. There is little to no activity at that house on 44th Street now. Have you ever considered that you don’t really know your neighborhood as good as you think you do?

I want only the best for our neighborhood, both the north & south sides. I was no longer comfortable on the south side, so I moved. Problem solved.

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Get a Life

good luck to this new restaurant. For years Southside of Queens Boulevard was a drug haven from about 45th Street through 48th Street. Open, blatant and in your face. Don’t know about now. And yes, a lot of the dealers lived in the Mets Houses.

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sully

@south side johnny, yeah, i know it was discussed…..but so was the usual messages of bickering back and forth along with personal attacks …..which seems to be a regular thing on this site……

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South Side Johnny

We talked about it already, Sully. What more can you say? Sometimes, in a conversation, you move on.

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sully

i thought we were gonna talk about the new burger joint ….i can’t wait to try it…..what the hell, people….focus!
Good Luck to the new place.

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surreal estate agent

Craic, I have nothing whatsoever to do with the tattoo real estate agency.

Re: the south side: The difference is startling between the streets that have private 2-story homes and are clean, the gardens well-tended, (gorgeous in some cases), and the buildings nicely maintained – then you just go one street over where there are mostly apartment buildings and renters and the street is strewn with garbage, the buildings look decrepit and the gardens are used for storing junk.

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Elizabeth the Thwarter

I’ve never seen any obvious indication of drug dealing on 46th street, but given the number of people who hang out on the benches, I imagine it’s likely that some number of them do indeed sell drugs. Still, if these people manage to conduct business in a way that doesn’t attract violence or other chaos, I don’t see why I should worry about them.

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Craic Dealer

@surreal estate agent

Yelp is actually credible because if some reviews are indeed hidden you can see opt in to view them. Yelp searches via Google, on the other hand, is not. Businesses pay to come up first. Other than searching, Yelp is much better than the city’s letter grades. THATS a scam to make the city money.

The owners of that new real estate place look like scam artists. Especially when the owner doesn’t have a tattoo but offers their employee’s a measly 15% raise to get one.

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SuperWittySmitty

Joe, when you post statements like this:

“It’s seedy, with crack, heroin & pill dealers on 46th Street. Not to say that it’s not going down on the North side (we know it is), just not as obvious & in your face.”

you are going to get a reaction. Don’t be surprised and wonder why anyone would take it personally. If I saw drug sales on 46th street, I would call the cops.

It’s one thing to say 46th St. is dirty or seedy, but saying that there are drug dealers there…that struck me as over the top. You’re not sharing an opinion, you are make a very strong and negative statement.

As I mentioned, I’ve never seen ANY indication of this sort of activity. I’m curious if anyone else has been witness to this sort of criminal behavior? On either side of the boulevard. Maybe I am blind but I feel as if I have a pretty good idea what’s going on in my own neighborhood.

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comma

@surreal estate agent: You said the same thing on the Rapid Realty article. My guess is you’re one of the owners of Rapid Realty and tried to post a bunch of misleading reviews on Yelp, and they figured you out and said screw off. I’ve posted a lot of positive and negative reviews of places, and none have ever been censored.

If you’re getting censored, it’s because they found your ethics to be dubious, not because you refused to bribe them.

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SunnysideUp

Good luck Williamsburger. We will support you if food is good. Prices seem more than fair to me for a good quality food and I like that you opened on the specific/unexpected spot. Every little inch in Sunnyside has amazing potential (south or north or wherever). I hope you do well and Yes Sunnyside residents are mostly a really nice group of people (ignore the above negative comments-they seem to repeat in almost every article from the same sources and they are usually not constructive ones)

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Joe O'Sullivan

As a person who has owned a co-op on BOTH the south & north side (I currently live in the co-op on the north side; I used to live in the one on the south side, but I sold it to move to the north side when an opportunity presented itself), I can tell you that life is much safer and enjoyable on the north side. Why are some of you making this a debate when I am telling you what I have witnessed and my opinions on both sides of the blvd? You are taking anti south side comments so personally? It’s not like I’m saying your kid is ugly. Some of you have a chip on your shoulder when the ‘south side’ even gets mentioned. Many neighborhoods have a certain block radius that is more desirable, like Astoria. Dealers come over from the south side and are often on 46th Street AND 47th Street, between 43rd Avenue and Queens Blvd. Expect the unexpected. I am not ‘hating’ on the south side. Other than my own opinions, I truly hope the owner does well with his new business venture! Restaurants are hard to keep afloat.

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surreal estate agent

Craic, don’t go too much by what Yelp has to say. Yelp has a habit of withholding good reviews of establishments that don’t buy advertising from them. They have little credibility.

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EA

I love this place! I wish I could live only on their peanut butter milkshake! But I would die from many complications. They are only $5. I also feel that its better to go there and sit down at the bar. You get more this way… the extra metal container makes it another drink!
Their are not a fast food place! Sunnyside food did a great review of them.

http://sunnysidefood.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/williamsburger/

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DavidB

Agreed! Food trucks, and that Halal cart under the 46th street station, are dirty- look at the greasy sidewalks they leave behind.

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45th and Skillman

Allow me to compare De Mole to the taco truck: The owners of De Mole signed a lease, planted a flag in the neighborhood, improved their corner and add to the community.

Food trucks squat wherever they can find space, take no responsibility for the neighborhood, and poach customers from busy areas created by real business owners.

Food trucks are leeches.

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SuperWittySmitty

@Joe O’Sullivan- I’ve walked down 46th street from QB to 50th Ave. hundreds of times and have never encountered anyone selling crack, heroine, or pills. Granted, it’s a messy block but I truly think you have been imagining things. I’m a normal looking guy- I don’t look like a cop or a nerd, & I have walked down this block near midnight, coming home from a Mets game. No one has EVER offered to sell, or appeared to be selling, drugs.

I’ve even cruised around this whole neighborhood on my bike, looking for ANY interesting activity but all I ever see are families sitting on their stoops while their kids play, or guys standing around talking. I’ve never seen anyone dealing or using, (by which I mean smoking.) Eventually, I get a 6-pack & go home.

Either you are seeing a dramatically different world than I am or you are engaging in extreme hyperbole to make a point.

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Angray

DavidB – The truck at 52nd is well known. Give it a shot.

Joseph O’Sullivan – Another SG high and mighty…

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DavidB

I don’t know about the truck by 52nd St but there’s one by 41st & QB, and another one by 46th, below the arch. Can’t say either one of them appeal to me. I prefer to patronize actual shops, not trucks that spew CO into the air and do not pay property tax. What ARE they cooking? Tripe? Weird smells.

The soft tacos at the shop across from the park, next to formerly Nelson’s on Greenpoint- they are delicious!

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Joe O'Sullivan

I agree, I don’t like the South side either. It’s seedy, with crack, heroin & pill dealers on 46th Street. Not to say that it’s not going down on the North side (we know it is), just not as obvious & in your face. That whole gentrification part hasn’t really / fully hit the south side yet. In a nutshell, the North side has more to offer & looks more aesthetically appealing. Mr. McPherson should have opened up on Skillman Avenue. Sorry Southees! I do believe JVB is going to work on beautifying that side as soon as possible, if that’s any consolation.

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86Mets

In five years we’ll be reading about his new restaurant in Elmhurst and how he’s happy to get away from the “attitude” in Sunnyside.

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Anonymous

@super wittysmitty. Finally someone with something nice to say s writing on this post. I find ur comments very appropriate for the area. Wish those people would stop feeding the pigeons and the rats in Sunnyside . U should go to some of the community meetings and let your voice be heard where you will b listened to. We need more people like you living on the south side of qns blvd. I love the north side of qns blvd also but we got to take care of ourselves.

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comma

I’m going to compare De Mole to the taco truck. (I’m assuming we’re talking about the taco truck often seen by the 52nd St. station.)

De Mole is really consistent Mexican food with hearty portions, and the specials I’ve had have all been amazing. I’ve had almost everything on the menu. It’s great. The one area where it’s lacking is the taco section. I find some of the tacos kind of bland and flavorless. The cactus taco, for example, taste like water with no seasoning. The only good taco is the squash blossom taco, which was very delicious.

On the other hand, the taco truck (El Rey de Oro) makes very flavorful tacos filled with succulent meat. It’s also incredibly cheap, and the food is really fresh and hot every time you order. There’s nothing “fast food” about made-to-order tacos with robust spices.

They’re both pillars of Mexican food in Sunnyside, whether you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal with platos or a stand-up meal with hot tacos.

Oh yeah, good luck to the hamburger whatever.

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Mary

If you don’t want to pay a few dollars more for a higher quality meal, that’s fine, but it is totally absurd to compare Williamsburger to fast food. It’s like comparing De Mole to the taco truck…nonsensical.

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Sunnyside Native

I never said I was better than anybody on the south side. Only ignorant people feel the need to twist another person’s words. I am born & raised in Sunnyside (north side) & the only times I ever went to Greenpoint Avenue was to go to Genovese Drugs (now Rite Aid), Hallmark store, Library or Nelson’s Hardware where you always had an entertaining conversation with Rosé & Artie. I have seen too many drug transactions first hand, which is an easy feat. Plus my Mom was pick-pocketed in one of the stores. If you get off the BQE, do NOT go down 47th Street to get to Skillman Avenue. Only take 43rd or 45th Street. Many store fronts are empty now and it’s depressing. I DO hope things pick up for the south side of the blvd. All my family & friends are on the north side. All my friends that were on the south side are long gone. This is not my fantasy world, but my reality and personal preference. Getting back to the article, $9 is a great price for a burger and fries. We will try to check it out! Good Luck, Cory!

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Craic Dealer

At 4:23 AM I saw their van parked in the right-aid parking lot on 51st Street and Roosevelt Ave.

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Anonymous

Yeah, rather $9 for a real burger than 5-7 for fast foods crap.
Can’t blame people on getting sick at W’burg crowds.

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Krissi

I’m looking forward to trying this place. I can’t judge it before I try it!

And happy to hear we have some more southside businesses coming about. Greenpoint is ripe for a good business ventures, I hope Sunnyside residents (both North and South) don’t overlook it!

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Roxy

Yet another South American chicken eatery is opening in Sunnyside, this time on the south side of Greenpoint Avenue between 41st and 42nd. There is already a long-established chicken restaurant in the same block, just a few doors away. And there is also an Indian and Italian in the same block. I guess they’re all counting on attracting hordes from the new C-Town supermarket, which is progressing very slowly and probably won’t open before Thanksgiving or even Christmas.

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SuperWittySmitty

Anonymous- I’m not a fan of cats but maybe they’re needed to keep the pigeons away? Too many crazy people who insist on scattering bird seed under the el and it’s disgusting. I hate pigeons!

Why are so many people giving this hamburger guy a hard time? Maybe he had some problems, maybe he made some mistakes, maybe there was blame on both sides of the table. We want small businesses to be attracted to and flourish in our community. Just because you know something about someone’s past doesn’t mean it’s okay to spread it around the neighborhood, and sow seeds of doubt & rumor around. I think this viscous gossip, which is what it is, is wrong. I’m sure every business owner in town, along with every customer, has a colorful past that they wouldn’t want the whole world to know of. How well do I need to know this guy? I just want a bite to eat. Go to McD’s or Wendy’s if you think they are more ethical and offer better value, but learn how to control your voices and your opinions in a public forum. Be civil and rise above the rabble!

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not a hipster

BTW, fries here come with the burgers. Order a burger and fries at Wendys, McDs you’re up around 7 bucks – thats a 2$ difference for a REAL burger.

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not a hipster

this place is damn good, its not fast food. I had a rockin good cheeseburger with big order of fries. This is quality food, dont put it in the same category as Wendys etc.

Before I went with my wife and two kids I checked the reviews in Williamsburg and it was one comment after another about the rude waitstaff, Sounds like a bunch of ***holes and jerks over there. I was going to pass on it but tried it anyway.

The girl waiting on us was super-friendly and gave us the extra half metal cup of our peanut butter shake, man I love when you get that!

My burger was big and juicy covered with dripping melted chedder and arrived within 5-7 minutes perfectly done which says to me they know what they’re doing in the kitchen.

They had these wild lookin chocolate brownies under the glass pedastal but the burger was too big along with the shake and had no room for it.

Our shakes were perfect 10s plus I give an extra point for giving us the extra in the metal cup… OLD SCHOOL!

They had an ACDC and Zepplin posters on the wall, this place is cool, food is
great. What more could you want? Take your damn whining thru the doors of Wendys and leave this place for people for people who appreciate it.

You want a $4 burger go to Wendys, you want a burger thats 5 bucks more and 5x as good with a great ambiance come here.

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86Mets

This guy reminds me of the owner of that fitness place that moved from one side of queens blvd to the other but couldn’t resist a snarky remark about the unsophisticated riff-raff on the south side.

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43rd St. Resident

SUPERFASTREADER!

Gluten free burger buns, fake milk milkshakes, soyburgers? YUM!

STAY HOME!

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O'shea

@angray
No one here personally hates hipsters. They are one of the best things to happen to sunnyside and are the nicest people one can meet.
The yelp reviews on Mr Mcpherson are accurate. He will close here also if he continues with that anti customer attitude.

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Anonymous

Excellent idea super witty. It could b such a nice little area if the pet shop kept their huge cats from roaming the street. Nice flowers and decor would b so cool

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C'est la vie

As a former PR exec, I have to say it’s not the brightest move to open a new business by dissing your staff and clients at your current operation.

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SuperWittySmitty

Speaking of concerts under the arch: why hasn’t this space been turned into a pedestrian-only square? It would be a far more convenient spot for the farmer’s market; it could be a nice cafe; if this were Europe, it would be a beer garden! But no, just another piece of land turned over to vehicular traffic. If it were car-free, we could ask Citi-bikes to come check it out!

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Angray

There is no winning with you people. You all hate on hipsters and their attitudes, but when the restaurant owners says that exactly, its his problem.

$9 for real burgers is definitely fair, especially when you go to the same suppliers as Luger’s. You can’t compare this to McD’s and other fast foods chains.

Goodluck McPherson!

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surreal estate agent

Nevermind Sunnyside Native. At least I’ll be able to watch the free concerts under the arch knowing he’s not spoiling it with his presence.

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surreal estate agent

Best of luck to the owner and it’s nice to see a new business go up in that part of the neighborhood. But like a previous commenter noted, a red flag went up for me when the owner lamented the “bad attitude” of workers and customers in his other restaurant. Usually bad attitudes go both ways.

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O'shea

Translation:
Queens blvd wasn’t right for me= the rent is too darn high.
I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle= i don’t like competition
He was tired of bad attitude workers and customers?= i am a bosshole and can’t deal.

Goodluck with that attitude and prices. Ever heard of taking the highroad Mr. Mcpherson?

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Anonymous

@ Sunnyside native what a horrible remark. Why do u try to avoid the south side of qns blvd??? Do u think ur better than the people who live on the south side??? The south side doesn’t need your type. Enjoy your fantasy world.

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Sunnyside Native

I try to avoid the south side of Queens Blvd., but we will make an effort to check it out. Good Luck!

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SuperWittySmitty

Fast food is not really food. There’s not a fast food burger around that is worthy of anyone’s attention.

I think 9 bucks for a real burger in a local restaurant sounds fair- I’ll stop by! I’d rather have a beer, though. Milkshakes?

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marilyn

Welcome addition to the neighborhood but the prices are too high, especially with all the fast food around here.

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