WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Ramon Pallone doesn't want his new restaurant to be just another burger place. He's looking to create a second home.
"I want to offer an experience," Pallone, 38, said outside of Burger Heights, which will be opening near West 181st Street at 177 Wadsworth Ave. later this month. "You need to feel like at home when you come here."
Part of the experience will come from the menu, which Pallone says can't be matched by traditional fast food chains. Though the menu is still being finalized, the restaurant is sure to include a mahi mahi and avocado burger, a lamb burger and a bunless burger over mixed greens for carb-counters.
"Everything is from my knowledge of quality," Pallone said, adding that he'll have fresh beef shipped in every day. "When you order a burger, it will be made in front of you. You're going to see it with your eyes. You're going to smell it."
Burger Heights will also sell vanilla, chocolate and Nutella milkshakes made with real gelato, and tart frozen yogurt with toppings like fresh strawberries and raspberries.
Prices aren't set yet, but Pallone said he expects a plain hamburger will cost about $3.75, with a cheeseburger clocking in at $4.75.
The menu is important to Pallone, who used to own Cantinella, an Italian restaurant in Alphabet City. But just as important is the decor. Pallone decked out the resturant with wood from a farm in Connecticut and installed a slide-up garage door in the place of a front window.
Pallone worked with the building's landlord, Michael Vinocur, for more than 10 months to get Burger Heights ready, and the native Italian thinks it will pay off.
"We want to improve the neighborhood," he said. "If you offer a prime product, [customers] will understand and enjoy it."