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'Cursed' Burger Joint Opens, Diners Proclaim Jinx Dead

By DNAinfo Staff on December 15, 2010 2:57pm  | Updated on December 16, 2010 6:24am

By Tara Kyle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

CHELSEA — Whether salvation came via Holy Water, Hebrew blessings or cherrywood smoked bacon no one knows, but a burger restaurant on a supposedly jinxed patch of Chelsea real estate opened without incident Wednesday afternoon.

"The jinx is over," New York Burger Co. franchise manager and part-owner Spiros Zisimatos announced between bites of a mini-cheeseburger. "I expect that it will be running away from us."

The lot, located at the intersection of W. 23rd St. and Tenth Avenue, earned a spot earlier this year on Eater's list of New York's most cursed restaurant locations. Short-lived tenants over the past decade include Il Bordello, Le Solex, Jerry's Bar and Grill and Flamingo Room.

Earlier this month, superstition compelled Zisimatos and co-owner Madeline Poley to bring in a priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist to perform curse-cleansing rituals.

But Wednesday, after staff performed final tests in the kitchen and set out the sauce bar, doors opened at 11:45 a.m.— 15 minutes ahead of schedule. An hour in, business bustled and the order line stretched to the door.

"It was cursed because the wrong places were in here," said actress Melinda Wade, a 15-year West Chelsea resident munching on a Cobb salad.

So what exactly makes an eatery a bad fit for a plot of real estate next to a construction site, rowdy union protest and shuttered Empire Diner site?

"Too fancy, too expensive, sit down restaurants where you can't come away with spending less than $40 — they can't sustain themselves in this area," Wade said. "People here like casual dining."