Despite how easy it is to find high-quality dining on Long Island, very few locations offer an award-winning burger and lobster roll, let alone combine the two into one surf and turf concoction.
The Rex Burger & Lobster in Mineola has done just that.
Approaching its two-year anniversary at 524 Jericho Turnpike, the restaurant is continuously looking to improve.
“We’re up,” executive chef Charlie Keller said. “We’re definitely up year to date. Business is excellent; people just keep coming back.”
The Rex Burger & Lobster is starting a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m., with new signature cocktails later this month.
“It’s a nice spot to hang out, grab a burger and a beer,” Keller said. “By the end of the month we’ll be launching the happy hour.”
The restaurant has a marble bar top and 10 stools adjacent to the dining area, with draft beers already on tap. The inspiration for the draft cocktails came from a desire to build the bar’s business.
“People will come in here and they’ll order drinks and sit down,” Keller said, “but this is a beautiful bar and we really want to pack it out and be one of those certain places where people come for an after-work drink.”
“We want to serve the community the best we can,” Rex owner Jonathan Otto said. “That’s what we’re doing with the compliments of the drinks.”
Otto and Keller consulted with Padraig O’Brien, a bartender based in Manhattan whom Keller praised for his cocktail prowess, on how best to bring the idea to fruition.
“We brought [Paddy] on to consult with us and to train everybody the proper way to keg the cocktails,” Keller said. “We think it’ll draw a nice crowd.”
The Rex has also just begun large catering orders for parties and events.
Keller attributes much of the word-of-mouth marketing and success the Rex sees to fresh ingredients.
“We get our burger beef delivered fresh from Niman Ranch,” Keller said, “and our lobsters delivered fresh every morning.” The Rex’s chicken is also sourced from Coleman Farms, raised free range organically to meet and exceed the requirements of the National Organic Standards Board.
“What you’re eating was in the ocean yesterday,” he said.
All sandwiches are served on toasted brioche buns, most with lettuce and tomato or pickles. The Rex burger is an Angus beef double cheeseburger with either grilled or raw onions.
The chicken sandwiches are brined for an entire day in buttermilk and spices, and the spicy version in jalapenos, before being fried to a crunchy crisp in vegetable oil. The appeal of the chicken is not only the crackle of the crust, but the moisture it retains after frying.
The lobster roll, served chilled with mayonnaise or warm with melted butter, is already known as one of the best in the region. The tail, knuckle and claw meat are trucked in from Maine fresh and contain no fillers.
Other favorites include blanched, crispy shoestring fries with an assortment of sauces and six different hand-spun Haagen-Dazs milkshake flavors.
“I’ll come back again,” Theresa Mead, a Williston Park resident and first-time customer, said. “The fries are amazing.”
As a result of the business’ success, additions to the menu have included a crispy filet of fish draped with American cheese and tartar sauce and a filet mignon sandwich dressed with caramelized onions and melted cheese.