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Hard times! Award-nominated Mill Basin food truck may leave ‘hood.

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Mill Basin knows not what it may soon be missing.

A popular neighborhood food truck may soon be ditching the comfortable confines of the neighborhood for greener pastures as its pseudo-celebrity owners tries to find a more lucrative corner of Brooklyn.

Truck owner and Bergen Beach native Andrew Zurica’s delectable burgers have been featured in the New York Times and on Esquire Network’s “The Next Great Burger,” but now his beloved Hard Times Sundaes vehicle — and its greasy goodness — may be driving off to a storefront in hipster Brooklyn.

“I love this neighborhood and we’re popular even though we’re in the uncool, unhip side of Brooklyn,” said Zurica, clearing referencing how non-locals look at the neighborhood. “But unless you live here, there’s no reason to drive past Kings Plaza. There’s no public transportation, and this isn’t the crowd that’s going to stand in line at a food truck like they do in Williamsburg. I’m going to have to move on at some point for my business to grow.”

The burger truck, regularly parked at the shopping plaza on Avenue U and E. 59th Street near the Home Depot and Walgreens, has been nominated for the Vendy Cup, the grand prize at the 2015 New York City Vendy Awards, the gorge-fest which takes place features the best in mobile gourmet food.

Zurica started Hard Times Sundaes last summer after putting the kitchen-on-wheels together with his own hands after his Strickland Avenue restaurant, The Luncheonette, was destroyed during Superstorm Sandy just eight months after it opened.

Since moving to the truck, Zurica’s simple but well executed classic American cuisine caught on quickly with food truck enthusiasts. The fanfare helped land Zurica a spot on Esquire Network’s “The Next Great Burger” television show. Hard Times Sundaes made the finals of the reality show competition, and the final episode airs on Aug. 26 at 10 pm.

Zurica says he does not know why or how he gained such a cult following so quickly, but he suspects it has to do with his unwillingness to compromise on the quality of his ingredients, his system of preparation or his no-frills menu. Hard Times Sundaes offers single, double, and triple burgers, deep-fried hot dogs, french fries, and chili, and not much else.

“My favorite expression is keep it simple, stupid,” Zurica said. “I don’t put breakfast on my burgers and I don’t put tacos or salads on my burgers. It’s just a burger, and cheese, bacon or caramelized onions if you want them.”

He also takes great pride in what sets him apart from the rest of the Vendy Cup nominees: place of origin.

“I’m the only one who’s actually from New York,” he said.

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–2508 or by e-mail at efaynberg@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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