JACKSON HEIGHTS — When restaurateur Jarvis Fernandez opened the health food store Just Made 4 U on 37th Avenue four years ago, he said he wanted to respond to the demand for healthy, fresh food he saw in the neighborhood.
But even Fernandez admits that the salads, wraps and juices on the menu weren't enough to answer his own cravings for a nice juicy burger patty.
"I eat burgers like crazy," said Fernandez, 33, who said he recognized Jackson Heights was also in need of a good burger spot, just like they needed salads and wraps.
So he opened Emoji Burger last week, just a few doors down from his first restaurant, at 80-07 37th Ave.
"I came into this because I see the same need," he said.
His menu includes grass-fed beef from Pat LaFrieda, a choice of non-GMO buns, grilled hot dogs and a wide selection of fries. They also have chicken and sausage skewers and milkshakes.
"I think people will enjoy eating something that they know what they're eating," Fernandez said.
The burger menus take some inspiration from the popular emojis, including the "Thumbs Up" — with smoked ham, mozzarella, grilled pineapple and their signature aioli — and "Da Wink," which is a bacon cheeseburger with applewood bacon.
The restaurant's unique name came by way of divine intervention, he said. He and his wife were struggling with what to call their new restaurant, so they prayed.
And while texting with a friend one day his wife said the name Emoji Burger came to her.
"Once she told me that, everything came into place," he said. They may add an emoji wall at some point so customers can show off just how they feel about the new restaurant.
"We're here to serve the community," he said.