NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – When Jason Lizardo opened Rock Burger three and a half years ago, the operation ran out of the back of Players Sports Bar on Niagara Street.
The original menu had only six burgers on it, and it was just Lizardo working the grill.
Now, hungry customers flock from all over Western New York to devour Rock Burger’s stuffed burgers- filled with everything from simple cheese and bacon to Doritos or cheesecake.
The restaurant is so popular that they’re expanding across the Western New York area.
Currently, the only open Rock Burger location is at 8529 Niagara Falls Boulevard in Niagara Falls., which opened last February. The original location at Players closed in September.
A new Rock Burger location is opening in downtown Niagara Falls, right by the Maid of the Mist attraction, Lizardo said.
Rock Burger also has four license locations opening soon, “very similar to a franchise location”, he added.
The new Rock Burger locations will be at 1750 Niagara Falls Blvd. in Tonawanda, 2810 Union Road in Cheektowaga, 1754 Mt. Hope Ave. in Rochester, and a location in Orchard Park.
“It feels good to do something right in my hometown,” Lizardo added. “I never knew that my calling would have been a burger restaurant, but it’s really exciting and good for the area.”
Lizardo says the new locations should be open by April and the Orchard Park location will be open by May.
Lizardo and his staff will be coaching the new employees of all the new locations on how to prepare the menu, and Lizardo will be present for all of the grand openings.
The preparation of the stuffed burgers involves making them fresh, Lizardo explained.
“When you order, there’s nothing that’s frozen or premade,” Lizardo said. “The order comes in, we make it, stuff it, toss it on the grill, and serve it.”
Specialty items are offered at least once a week, and often feature flavor combinations you don’t frequently see- like the Crab Rangoon burger, which was available on Monday.
“People enjoy seeing the crazy food- when they try it out, it’s usually a happy ending,” Lizardo said. “I’ve always tried them all, and if they’re not excellent to me, I don’t sell them.”
There are plans for even more Rock Burger locations throughout New York and expanding into Pennsylvania, Ohio, and possibly Canada, as soon as this year.
“We’d like to have up to 30 locations over the next two years,” Lizardo said.
You can keep up with the latest specials and updates from Rock Burger on their Facebook page.