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Chef Gets Down And ‘Dirty’

Burger lovers in Plainview have a new location to get their fix – and the place is downright dirty. 


Established New York City chef Ian Russo needed a location to introduce burger devotees to his unique blend of spices dubbed “Dirty Dust.” He chose Plainview and this week DirtyBurger opens at 50 Manetto Hill Rd., just a few doors down from Fairway Market. 


“I thought Plainview was a great place to start my brand,” he said. “We start here, develop our personality and then move on to other locations.”


And that personality is one that Russo has been honing for more than 30 years. Russo, also known as the Dirty Chef, spent his time refining his craft in some of the world’s best kitchens in Manhattan, France, Belgium and Hawaii. “Dirty” refers to his secret spice dust and honey mixture that is applied during the cooking process – and the Dirty Burger is the front-and-center star of the show. 


“The spice is almost not even a spice. It’s a technique I created and people say it transforms food,” he said. “You dip meat or steaks or really anything in dirty dust and at the end of cooking, you add the dirty honey. It sort of wraps around the food and creates a new flavor. It’s not sweet, it’s not spicy. It’s just dirty.”


But Russo’s dirty theme is no gimmick. While cooking at his eponymous restaurant in the Upper West Side, the chef’s spice blend vaulted is Dirty Drunken Ribeye to the top of the city’s steak rankings, earning the coveted award as the Best

Steak in the City by New York Magazine in 2007. 


Russo takes that same approach to his burgers at his new place in Plainview, where he also applies his dirty technique to chicken, seafood, fries, vegetables, steaks, ribs and lamb, as well as vegetarian options like portabella mushroom and veggie burgers.


“I hate talking about it, I’d rather everyone come in and try it,” said Russo, who grew up in Brooklyn and currently makes his home in Hauppauge. “You’re only as good as the first and last meal you served, so I keep my standards high. And

I’m confident that any time someone tries my food, they will tell their friends and they will be back.”


Russo stresses that DirtyBurger is the product of full-speed-ahead efforts of an entire staff worth of people. 


“Everyone is a part of everything,” he said. “It’s never I, always we.”


And Russo believes in spreading his passion for food and service to all of his associates and onto the plates of all of his guests. He said that dirty is his style of living and his style of cooking. To him, it is a combination of love, life, passion and a way of being.


“Live each day to the fullest, passionately care, share with those around you, smile, feel and express happiness,” Russo said, referring to his dirty philosophy. “In my cooking, I’m always focused on the next person. If one person loves the food, I get excited and feel a sense of duty that the next person must love it as well.”


DirtyBurger is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information on DirtyBurger, call 516-595-7399, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit