Harlem’s Milk Burger has joined the ranks of South Bronx’s burgeoning food and drink scene.

The gourmet burger purveyor — criticized in the past for its similarity in branding and menu to Shake Shack — opened its second outpost at 148 Bruckner Blvd., right next door to Zaro’s Bakery.

It will have the same menu as its Harlem location, with prices of burgers and salads ranging from $6 to $11, according to owner Erik Mayor.

Offerings include its namesake Milk Burger made with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles and milk sauce. Mayor is also planning to feature a Bronx burger, though he’s still working out what it will entail.

The burger joint is located at 148 Bruckner Blvd., right next to Zaro's Bakery.
The burger joint is located at 148 Bruckner Blvd., right next to Zaro’s Bakery.

“I saw an opportunity for us to be able to make our mark on a neighborhood that resembled East Harlem,” Mayor said.

Claudette Aranda, who works at Zaro’s next door, has already eaten at the new restaurant several times and said she hopes more places like it open up.

“The burgers are really good. The sides are really good,” she said. “It’s close, so it’s convenient.”

Milk Burger is the latest of a slew of eateries to open up in the Mott Haven and Port Morris neighborhoods of the South Bronx over the past few years, joining Filtered Coffee, sushi restaurant Ceetay, and Charlie’s Bar and Kitchen, among others.

A food market with a rooftop beer garden and a cold-pressed juice bar are also expected to hit the area.

Although the new restaurants have fed into some residents’ fears that the South Bronx is gentrifying, Mayor said he was not concerned about getting pushback, noting he has strong roots in New York City and hires locally.

He also stresses to the younger people he hires that Milk Burger should not be where they end up spending their entire professional lives.

“It’s not a career at Milk Burger unless you’re going to be my partner, I tell them,” he said.

Mayor said he chose to open his second location in the South Bronx because it is close to the Harlem restaurant, at 2051 Second Ave., making it easier to manage both stores. He also saw the area as full of untapped potential for restaurants and retail, he said.

He’s also excited about an effort by locals to make the borough healthier by launching a new dish called the Bronx Salad and said he would love to serve it at Milk Burger once it is ready.

Cedric Loftin, district manager of Bronx Community Board 1, welcomed the new addition to the neighborhood.

“I’m glad that firms are looking to open up complete restaurants here in the district, and I think it will have a positive effect on traffic,” he said.

Sean Martin, manager at Milk Burger and Mayor’s nephew, said the restaurant opening was a great opportunity for people in the South Bronx to start enjoying some nicer food options.

“Before, there really wasn’t much out here,” he said. “Now people have a place to socialize and come together.”

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