Just like in the comic books that inspire them, where defeated supervillains return from the dead to once again challenge the heroes, Graham Avenue’s Action Burger is reopening this month after a four year absence.
According to its website, the themed restaurant will be a “family place to eat good food, debate comics or super heroes, learn the history of comics, play old school video games, and watch super hero movies and cartoons.”
Co-owner Steve Bala explained why he was eager to bring back Action Burger, which was originally opened on Grand Street in 2008. “While I was working as a bartender in the East Village, a friend of mine was working at a burger place,” he recalled.. “I had previous experience as a business owner and working as a short order cook, and being a lifelong nerd and comic geek, I thought why not put the two together? It was really that simple.”
Bala is planning to serve all-American burgers and fries with a twist, they’re offering two menus that feature a unique theme. “Our main focus will be Superhero foods that are healthier and Super Villain foods which are just plain good,” Bala explained. The “Villain” menu will feature traditional options such as a bacon double cheeseburger. The “Superhero” counterpart will offer options such as salads and turkey burgers. The menus will be rotated frequently and “secret” items will pop up from time to time.
Action Burger is also keen on creating a lively, family-friendly atmosphere. Bala doesn’t want customers to take their food to go and eat at home while perusing comic books alone. Instead, he hopes to create a salon of sorts, inspiring discussion between customers. Parents can debate science-fiction theories, while kids can learn about the history of comics and action figures.
Bala’s co-owner is science-fiction writer Vlane Carter. Carter is the creator of BIAlien science-fiction novels and BIO-Sapien Comics, both of which are being sponsored by the restaurant. “Vlane Carter and I have been friends for years. Once he finished his novels, he decided it was a good time to go back and revisit my dream [of opening Action Burger]!” Bala said.
Carter’s BIAlien series chronicles the adventures of a man who is “abducted by benevolent aliens, bio-engineered to a superhuman level and sent back to Earth years later to stop an alien invasion,” according to the books’ website. BIO-Sapien comics (the comic book version of the BIAlien series), is coming out in mid-September in tandem with the restaurant’s opening.
Every restaurant patron will receive a free copy of the BIO-Sapien ebook. Not only are the books entertaining, they’re also informative, steeped in research on topics like plasma fusion, string theory, and black holes. “The BIO-Sapien comic book will spark kids’ imaginations and make reading enjoyable for them,” said Bala.
In addition, Action Burger will be holding events throughout the year. “Our first book reading will be Vlane’s BIAlien novels. But we’re more than just that. Action Burger will be part of the community,” Bala declared. “We’ll also host different local artists’ works, screen local independent films, and have comic book, graphic novel and book clubs.”
Look for Action Burger to have a booth at New York’s Comic Con, which takes place from October 11th-14th. “[Carter will] be promoting BIO-Sapien comics and I’ll be giving the people a place to come and discuss the action of Comic Con,” said Bala.
“Action Burger is all about action,” Bala enthused. “We’re not just burgers; we’re comic books, movies, video games, novels, and a place to eat. Come, discuss, and enjoy all things geek with us!”
292 Graham Avenue
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