Char BroilDestination: Burgers on Thursdays
Destination: Burgers on Thursdays
Wanna hear a funny story? It’s about Thursdays on First. We hope it returns this year to all its glory with endless booths of tasty offerings, great stuff to buy, and of course, music, and that’s what Wayne Flock envisioned in 2004. At the time, Wayne was the president of Rochester’s Downtown Business Association and wanted to promote downtown. Things were coming together but persuading downtown restaurants to participate; a different thing. He did convince Jerry Zubay, who had several restaurants downtown, including *Newts. Well, Jerry Zubay decided he would take the grill off our home deck because “it was free, and would this Thursday’s thing really work out anyway”.
At home, I grill, and in the summer, I grill most nights, and I wasn’t real thrilled about the grill going downtown because I knew full well I would be grill-less for the rest of the summer. “Just on Thursdays,” I was told.
Our grill was a Char-Broil and was pretty awesome. Jerry got it as a birthday gift in 1986, and by 2004, it was still going strong after having parts replaced, and a few new coats of black paint applied during those 18 years. Why buy new if you can replace parts? That was how it went and was learned from a WWII generation father. “And just think you don’t have to cook at all on Thursdays just come downtown for Newts burgers” was Jerry’s response to my concerns.
So I did. And there was the first Newts booth, showcased with our Char-Broil grill, and — Newts was the LONE food vendor! Those char-broiled Newts burgers were fantastic. A bit different than the in-store burger because Newts burgers are “griddled” burgers. (I have a whole other story on grilled, griddled, and broiled, I’ll keep you posted). Our Char-Broiler gave a Newts burger that smoky outdoor flavor. I not only loved them but preferred them. After the first week, it was apparent the grill wasn’t going to move back and forth. It was staying downtown. No surprise. Our grill pumped out burgers that the first summer, and at the end, it seemed only right it should retire “up north.” But not before parts got replaced, and it was shined up once again.
Fast forward to May 2021 and the start of the grilling season. We now had our second grill, a Tec Infrared, bought new, now 15-years old, (another birthday gift). I was cooking chicken, threw them on, and went inside. There were some flare-ups, and the fact the chicken was marinated, I wasn’t worried. I shut the lid to snuff it out. The next thing I knew, a raging fire was coming out of the front part of the grill. After calling for help, then finally getting it to die down, we saw the insides of the grill were pretty much toast. We would need a new grill. Mind you, this would only be #3 in 39 years. I can’t say I was that upset as the Tec never held a candle to our Char-Broil.
The next stop, Destination BBQ, (which by the way), is fantastic, and the service, outstanding. Talk about product knowledge; Christy Buchan knows everything about every grill they feature! The showroom is fully stocked and fun. Jerry had wandered over to the top-of-the-line grills. There he made his Bobby Axelrod declaration; not only would we choose one of these for our home replacement, but we would also get a second one for up north! In the end, we went home to think it over before we said yes to the grill.
Later Jerry determined the Tec was fixable. Of course, it was. With a few new parts and some stainless cleaner, it would be deck-worthy again. But it was going to find a new home up north.
We did get a new grill at Destination BBQ. Our third grill is a Sabor Elite (pictured getting loaded), which is nothing to scoff at (and it didn’t cost billions). It has 4 burners, lights, a rotisserie, two drawers and it was Infrared. It turned out in 2011, Saber Grills LLC was formed with a line of premium grills; and get this —the same company that owns Char-Broil. Fancy that! The Sabor is pretty great so far.
Speaking of fancy….I just grilled up some chicken on the Sabor (no flares!) and some sweet corn. The corn choice was a rush decision as it really is not peak nor season fresh. I have a secret salt, and I put it on the corn and….if you want to know more, watch for a new article coming soon.
Thanks to our Char-Broil grill, Thursdays Downtown had its first food vendor, and the rest is history. Wayne said there was plenty of interest the following years, and the food selection, as we know, has skyrocketed since! So has Newts; you are welcome, boys!
*A brief history for those that may not know. Jerry and his partner Mike Currie started (basically) the restaurant scene in downtown Rochester. In 1978 they opened The Bank Restaurant in the now Hefe Rojo space. Newts was added to the upstairs portion in 1981. In 2009, Jerry attempted to retire. But along came ZZest Market, ZZest Cafe, paving the way to helping our family open Porch, Hot Chip, Mr Pizza North, and Boxcar Hippie.