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One Less Burger Shop.....BuCu in Paramus has closed.

f
fourunder Dec 13, 2013 12:09 PM

http://blog.northjersey.com/secondhel...

  1. l
    lemarais Dec 18, 2013 07:42 AM

    Drove by today on Rte 4 West... I'm convinced that if he had a large neon saying "Great Burgers" under the Bucu label it would have made a great deal of difference in drawing in the business.

    With all those cars going by, there was nothing to tell anyone what the place sold.

    1. n
      NJfoodLover Dec 18, 2013 12:40 AM

      I am disappointed but not surprised. There are just too many burger joints in that area as others mentioned.

      1. l
        lemarais Dec 16, 2013 02:46 AM

        "I wonder how much better BuCu would have done had they been in a more high-traffic area."

        This is a tongue in cheek, right? Over 145K cars pass by on Rte 4 West every day.

        The Maternity store there moved from the GS Plaza,about 8 years ago, and is now doing more biz in that center than any store of its category on the East Coast!

        1. e
          ELA Dec 15, 2013 08:22 AM

          I can't speak to specfically "why" they closed -- but obviously, they weren't "making it" so to speak. That said, I can only give my personal observations, thoughts, etc. Being that I've been there a lot, I've met and spoke with the owner, Rick.

          First, the place is around the corner from my office, and as I've said, I've been there a lot. While that shopping center tends to always appear crowded, it's not. "Passing by" traffic tends to cost money real estate wise, but it's actual captive audience, foot traffic, etc. that counts. This place had a fraction of what Bobby's Burger Palace has -- and yes, I am sure the cost per sq. foot is commensurate. Personally, I don't think it's a "high traffic" plaza, but the #'s may be skewed to support rent costs. I don't know. The plaza is right before the 4 & 17 interchange. Houlihan's is the one anchor and like them or not, they draw people. BuCu did not. At the same time, I am sure that is not inexpensive space.

          Second, every time I've been to BuCu (exclusively for lunch) -- the place was never not crowded. I've never seen more than 10 people in there and the time I saw the most people, there were 4 co-workers together. Now, I am sure since they've opened, they've had more than 10 people in their for lunch. But I tend to eat lunch at prime-time, and I've been there any time between noon and 2pm -- and it's never been crowded. However, here's the catch -- they have very good burgers! I liked the place. So it's not the burger or the product. Location? Yes, I think so. Competition? Absolutely. Price point? Yes, I think so as well.

          We know there is tremendous and massive competition right now -- and more coming. I think it's a combination of location and competition. Bobby's Burger Palace? Always crowded! Forget about which burger you like better. Bobby's is always crowded and BuCu was not...why? Location is certainly one factor. Personally, I like Bobby's better but I went to BuCu very often as I did like it, very much.

          Bobby's is right down the street from my office...but in a sense, BuCu was "more convenient" for me to get to -- easier to park, in and out quicker, less time, etc. Harder to get back to my office. Bobby's -- it's all about parking. But that location where BuCu was could hurt in my opinion. Think about where you might be coming from, going to, etc.

          Ironically, whenever I was there, I rarely saw people buying/eating donuts, occasionally a cupcake. I asked friends and they said while the donuts were "good" maybe "OK" but they were expensive. I had a donut on two occasions. I remember them being ok, and while I don't remember the price, a friend of mine commented "that's expensive". I think once you got in for a burger, fries, and a drink -- it was considered to be "expensive" by some people's standards. I think for your money, you got more at Bobby's, but that's just me.

          Anyway, I am sorry to see BuCu close.

          8 Replies
          1. re: ELA
            e
            ebchower Dec 15, 2013 10:47 AM

            You obviously know the area well. If Bobby's was a source of competition, then it makes sense that Red Robin may have been the final nail in the coffin. I don't believe Bergen County ever had a RR before, so I'm sure many were curious to give it a try at BuCu's expense.

            1. re: ebchower
              e
              ELA Dec 15, 2013 11:07 AM

              My office has been there for almost 25 years. While I know the area well, it's people's personal habits, likes, dislikes, etc. Like I said, that plaza, while I am sure it's not inexpensive, is just not high-traffic -- certainly not compared to Bergen, where Bobby's is, and I am sure the rent reflects that. Most of the guys I work with -- given a choice -- prefer Bobby's, except for the parking, which is always a factor in Bergen.

              I can't speak to Red Robin being the nail in the coffin, but the Shake Shack certainly is a popular spot and they are attracting people. BuCu just didn't get draw people. It was just not crowded -- at least whenever I was there.

              I wonder how much better BuCu would have done had they been in a more high-traffic area.

              1. re: ELA
                f
                fourunder Dec 15, 2013 12:08 PM

                I'm with you on everything....however Chipotle is right there as well....with a worse visibility and a worse entrance. They are always busy.... they clearly have a loyal fan base.

                BuCu did not. Why? I'm sure it came down to perception and price. The most common comment I heard. Small burger for the price.

                1. re: fourunder
                  e
                  ELA Dec 15, 2013 01:11 PM

                  I'll agree with all of that. Maybe it's more of the positive, but Chipotle may have a bit of an edge in that they have an "anchor" location -- visible from the highway, closer to it, and more high profile. There are limits, restrictions, etc. as to what those tenants can do as far as signage, positioning, etc.

                  I also think Chipotle is more well known than BuCu. I don't know -- I just know BuCu didn't make it. Price was a factor, at least that's what I heard from most people. The burger did seem to be a "bit small" but in today's day and age who knows. Thanks.

                  1. re: ELA
                    y
                    yogi70 Dec 15, 2013 01:22 PM

                    in my opinion, none of these new age burger spots mentioned in my previous post really have the heft of a good old pub burger, or restaurant burger. always felt they were smaller, thinner, etc.

                    1. re: yogi70
                      f
                      fourunder Dec 15, 2013 01:27 PM

                      This is very true and something I've mentioned before....especially with Five Guys. Down the highway in River Edge, I can get a 8-10 oz. Real Blue Cheese Burger with a few strips of Bacon....along with a beer....for the same price I would same for a burger, fries, beverage and tip at 5Gs

                      1. re: yogi70
                        e
                        ELA Dec 16, 2013 12:21 PM

                        I tend to agree...we are not talking Krug's, Davey's or the Dutch House here. LOL. If it's a good pub burger, I am with you on that. I would much rather have a very good burger from that kind of place then go to one of the new burger du jour type places.

                    2. re: fourunder
                      e
                      ELA Dec 16, 2013 12:31 PM

                      The more people I talk to, the more I am hearing the "price" as a factor. I don't shop price, and I buy what I like, but I would say for the bacon-cheeseburger I often get, the price difference between BuCu vs. Bobby's was less than $2, and I think the Shake Shack is probably a bit more. I can't speak to the 5G's, Red Robin, Sonic or whatever places there are.

                      To me, it was just not about price. BuCu's burger was a very good burger. Personally, I think it offered "good value" so to speak. If I was willing to pay $2 more for a similar burger at Bobby's or $3 more at Shake Shack, that's just me -- that doesn't mean BuCu wasn't a good deal. I do think the burger was a bit smaller and for my tastes I liked others better.

                      No one can speak to the business side of this. I have no idea what kind of lease, costs, etc. the owner had here, but whatever it was, he just didn't get enough people. It's a shame. Like I said, I liked the place.

              2. y
                yogi70 Dec 14, 2013 08:08 AM

                this is disappointing. Bucu, while not my favorite of the burger shacks in the area (that would be Steve's Burgers in Garfield) was high up there on my list. Always enjoyed one of their Jersey burgers: smoked bacon, blue cheese, cheddar cheese and grilled onions. Also liked the fact that they werent a chain.

                Perhaps with all the new local competition continually popping up, the Paramus area burger clientele has been spread too thin? (zinburger - boom burger -steak and shake- smashburger - 5 guys -bobby flays - shake shack, etc)

                1. l
                  lemarais Dec 14, 2013 05:52 AM

                  Price too high? They were one of the cheaper burgers in Paramus. Almost half the price of Bobby's.

                  It's just for a sole proprietor to compete with the highly capitalized chain burger places. It was an excellent burger, IMO.

                  1. e
                    ebchower Dec 13, 2013 10:48 PM

                    I suppose the recent openings of Shake Shack and Red Robin (Forest Ave in the former Chuck E Cheese I believe) were a factor.

                    1. w
                      wblorch Dec 13, 2013 10:52 AM

                      I found the food to be inconsistent, burgers over cooked sometimes and fries mostly undercooked. The prices were also too high for burgers and cupcakes. No surprise here.

                      Try the shake shack on Rt 4 in Paramus, now that's how you do burger and fries.

                      1. l
                        lemarais Dec 13, 2013 07:53 AM

                        Too bad, one of the better burgers around. Nice digs too.

                        I think part of the problem was poor signage, the guy was stubborn about getting a large, prominent sign saying "burgers" that could easily be identified from the highway.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lemarais
                          s
                          Sdenred Dec 17, 2013 02:34 AM

                          I thought the name hurt it. When I first saw they sign I thought it was an asian restaurant...

                          1. re: Sdenred
                            e
                            ELA Dec 17, 2013 01:41 PM

                            LOL...they have name/brand recognition, familiarity, etc. Some people didn't realize the BUrgers and CUpcakes moniker/reference, but that's OK...it was a good burger. Sorry to see them go.

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