Alumnus aims to expand eatery to Orlando
UCF alumnus Marc Falsetto is returning to his roots by putting his very own spin on burgers.
ROK:BRGR has locations already in South Florida, but Falsetto is looking to open a new location of the chain in Orlando toward the end of 2015.
"I have deep roots in Orlando. I graduated from UCF, but you may not know that I used to own a promotions and marketing company in Orlando called Primo Entertainment," Falsetto said. "We opened and ran most of the bars and clubs around UCF and downtown from 2000 to 2005. I still have tons of friends and business partners there, so we thought it would be a natural fit."
Falsetto graduated from UCF in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in finance. However, from all his college promoting days to throwing concerts, he has always been in the entertainment business.
Falsetto went on to host more than 1,000 weekly parties, 25 concerts and was responsible for more than 20 restaurants and nightclub openings.
In 2003, Falsetto founded The Primo Group — now JEY Hospitality — and has diversified the company in many different sectors, including restaurants, retail, consulting, real-estate holdings and financial services.
JEY — "Just Enjoy Yourself" — is the parent company that manages and operates the different venues.
JEY specializes in many operations, such as restaurant and bar operational management, venue design and development, concept creation and design and staffing and management training.
After needing a change, Falsetto moved to South Florida to pursue his real-estate career.
"I specialize in real estate. I also went on to get licensed in real estate in 2004 and became a broker in 2007," Falsetto said.
When the market started to turn, Falsetto made the decision to focus on what he knows best — entertaining people.
"What better way [to entertain] than by opening a restaurant?" Falsetto said. "Restaurants and real estate actually go hand in hand."
According to the official website, ROK:BRGR is a 1920s-style neighborhood public house and burger joint. With more than 17 signature burgers and a "create your own" burger section, ROK:BRGR guarantees the freshest ingredients, certified Angus beef and all-natural artisan cheeses.
The menu displays diverse food options, from shrimp, chicken and waffles to tuna, tacos and even lobster corn dogs. There are also eight different types of fries and rings, all made to fit every single flavor preference.
The Miami location also includes specialized burgers crafted after the city's very own Miami Heat, including the "Bosh Burger." The sandwich consists of baby Swiss, exotic mushrooms, caramelized onions and truffle oils.
The "D Wade" is made up of manchego cheese, chorizo, fried egg and truffle aioli.
With fun promotions planned for students, Falsetto describes ROK:BRGR as having a very different and unique vibe compared to any other burger restaurant.
"We are actually the only full-service burger concept that I know [of]. Burgers only make up 30 percent of our menu," Falsetto said. "We are more like a HOUSTONS or Capital Grille of burgers. We focus more on the gastropub component and emphasize local produce, sustainable meats, fine spirits and craft beers. This is what truly sets us apart."
Lyndia Valentin, a senior health sciences pre-clinical major, said she is looking forward to trying something different and new.
"It's about time we have something that is new and is not found everywhere you go," Valentin said. "I'm a huge burger fan and I can't wait to try something I've never had before."
Miami and Fort Lauderdale will not be the only locations in South Florida for ROK:BRGR, however.
"We are currently expanding the ROK:BRGR brand throughout South Florida and have plans to expand nationally. We are also in the works of building a brewery in Fort Lauderdale and a rooftop ultra lounge," Falsetto said.