By Charlotte Aguilar
The promise of a revival of the original Bellaire Broiler Burger has ended, with food sales shutting down and the vintage property at 5216 Bellaire Blvd. being sold for use as a professional office, Essentials learned Tuesday.
A notice was posted to Instagram Friday that the food truck operating under the BBB name at that location would shut down permanently by Monday “due to circumstances beyond our control.” Employees on site repeated an assertion, made in the same post, that the owner is searching for another location.
Behind the scenes, though, since July — as operator Jason Scheinthal was engaging customers about his plans to restore the iconic eatery to its 1960s glory — the restaurant had quietly been put on the market for $915,000. That was more than double its market and appraised values of $448,716 on Harris County tax rolls.
The owner was listed on HCAD as “5216 Bellaire LLC,” with Steven L. Scheinthal named in state filings as the LLC’s agent. The elder Scheinthal — Jason’s father — is an attorney who has been a key figure for decades with Tilman Fertitta’s business interests, including Landry’s restaurants, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, and as general counsel to the Houston Rockets.
Hussein Farshchi of A.J. Elite Commercial Real Estate confirmed to Essentials Tuesday that the property sold last week and that it will be converted to a law office.
Jason Scheinthal had opened his food truck in the parking lot adjacent to the breezeway entrance to the Broiler Burger to great media and social media fanfare in April. He claimed he would perform extensive repairs and upgrades to bring the 1960 restaurant up to city code and federal requirements for disabled persons by the end of the year — while retaining its period vinyl and Formica charm and unique flame-grilled burgers prepared in the front of the eatery.
BBB had been a Bellaire staple, operated by the Daneman family for 60 years, but struggled in 2020 with the loss of a key employee followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It had been closed for two years until Scheinthal took over.
There were problems immediately. Scheinthal was slow to deliver on his promise of duplicating Broiler Burger recipes, claiming supply problems with specific ingredients, and his prices raised eyebrows, with customers complaining on social media that they had paid $60-75 to feed their families burgers and the fixings that didn’t meet their nostalgic cravings.
Adding to the taste of inauthenticity was the reporting by Essentials in the May edition that the Broiler Burger truck was, in fact, a “ghost kitchen” that prepared food for delivery based on between eight and 12 different restaurant concepts at any given time. Ghost concepts included at least three burger restaurants in addition to the Bellaire Broiler Burger, all using the same recipes, as well as “celebrity chef” concepts by Guy Fieri and comedian George Lopez.
None of the burger recipes were, in fact, strictly Broiler Burger’s, but were those under the umbrella of Next Bite, a national virtual restaurant company who contracted with Scheinthal.
The banner in front of the Broiler Burger listing the Scheinthal-contracted concepts, including Crave, Outlaw and Veggie burgers, was removed sometime in August, according to staff, and soon the online listings had disappeared and items from menus could no longer be ordered from delivery services.
Next Bite declined to comment on any dealings with Jason Scheinthal Tuesday, but he had made it clear in an interview with Essentials in the spring that the ghost kitchen relationship was an important revenue stream for his business.
Scheinthal did not return calls Tuesday from Essentials to talk about the sale of the original restaurant property and the assertion that he would be “bringing Bellaire Broiler Burger back and it will be as good as you remember” or where he was considering relocating.