Canadian burger chain Big Smoke opens NYC flagship

Company will take Chelsea storefront as first step in U.S. expansion
By Guelda Voien | June 06, 2013 05:30PM

Too bad they don’t come with socialized medicine. A Canadian burger chain with its sights set on Gotham has inked a lease for a Manhattan flagship in Chelsea, its first outpost in the U.S., The Real Deal has learned.

Big Smoke Burger, a reference to the chain’s hometown of Toronto, will take about 1,300 square feet at 70 Seventh Avenue in Chelsea, according to the landlord’s broker, Winick Realty.

Big Smoke president Mustafa Yusuf confirmed the lease signing to TRD.

The purveyor of burgers topped with “jalapeno havarti,” hand-cut fries and poutine – a Canuck specialty that involves cheese curds and gravy spread over fries – plans to open about 50 locations in the U.S. in the next two years or so, Yusuf said. Of those, about 15 of the locations (which are all still looking for space) will be in New York City.

Jonathan Banayan and Alexander Hill of Winick represented the local owner, listed only as 70 Seventh Avenue NYC LP in city records.

The landlord had “offers from myriad food tenants,” for the space, Banayan said, but opted to go with Big Smoke due to the extreme politeness of the chain’s owners. Just kidding. They actually chose them because they “have a clean, fresh, upscale look,” that fits with the Chelsea vibe, Banayan said.

Asking rent in the 10-year deal was $15,500 per month, he said. The tenant was represented by Ross Berkowitz of RKF who was not immediately available for comment.

The restaurant has 880 square feet of outdoor space and should be open in the next four months, according to a representative for Winick.

No word yet, however, on how New Yorkers will pay for the quadruple bypass surgeries the proliferation of burger chains in our fair city is likely to engender. Perhaps we should all ride a Citi Bike?