NEW YORK - A long-time fixture of the New York City restaurant scene is closing its doors.
Burger Heaven has been a favorite comfort food spot for locals and even stars over the decades.
The Upper East Side spot is closing its doors for good on Friday.
After 70 years in business and home for 30 years for Sammy Hamido, the restaurant just can't go on.
"I grew up in Burger Heaven. It's my home."
"It's sad for us. For me, it's my life," general manager Sammy Hamido says. "I grew up in Burger Heaven. It's my home."
He says that for the past few years they've fought to try to make the business work but they have not been successful.
There is a myriad of problems. They can cite rising rents, a change in diets, and the minimum wage hike. But they say it's years of a business climate that makes it tougher to turn a profit.
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Ed Levine runs food site Serious Eats and is a longtime patron of Burger Heaven.
"It's just really hard to make a living as an independent, mom and pop operation in New York, no matter how loyal your customers are, you can't compete," Levine says and adds that without small restaurants, "This city becomes Orlando."
Legend has it that Burger Heaven gained its name, because it began as a storefront, next to Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. It has hosted celebrities like Jackie Onassis and Spike Lee.
Levine is concerned about the loss of mom and pop shops and the loss of a business that was able to survive seven decades.
Now, New Yorkers who might never have tried Burger Heaven are rushing to experience it during its final days.
One customer said, "I feel like all these old-time places are closing, (and) wanted to give it a try, show some support."
Support like that comes too late to save businesses like Burger Heaven.