At the Moonburger pop-up at Gordon Commons’ Late Night on Nov. 8, Vassar alum Jeremy Robinson-Leon ’07 brought a taste of his infamous milkshake and veggie burger joint to Poughkeepsie. The event drew hundreds of students to Gordon Commons, looking to try Hudson Valley’s finest burger.
Robinson-Leon is deeply connected to the Vassar network. Having been previously involved with Sophomore Career Connections and the Vassar Innovation and Entrepreneurship program, he was excited for the opportunity to offer his menu to Vassar students.
The conversation about bringing Moonburger to campus began in late August of this year when Robinson-Leon contacted Resident District Manager of Dining Steve Scardina and Executive Chef Anthony Legname. After multiple meetings and a review of the grill platform and equipment, the menu was decided, featuring the classic burger, the classic cheeseburger, classic fries and hot fries.
The restaurant prides itself on the experience of enjoying a Moonburger meal with its mission statement claiming, “At Moonburger, we’re all about open skies and open roads. Sunshine and moonshine. We stay boundless at every turn.”
Gordon Commons was transformed into a classic burger shop as Moonburger chefs took over the kitchen, cooking their griddled Impossible patty up to perfection for the crowd waiting on standby. Scardina noted, “We anticipated the night would be busy, but we did not expect everyone to arrive half an hour earlier than the event start time.”
With lines wrapping around tables, many students were left wondering if it was worth getting in line. To the students queuing, the answer was more often than not, yes. Kiri Hoerman ’25 stated affirmatively, “It was really good. The energy in the Deece [Gordon Commons] was awesome—it felt like Christmas Day. It was a good line and a personable crowd.”
Part of the draw was simply the fact that it was not the usual offering, drawing in people who had never tried Moonburger. Allen Hale ’25 [Disclaimer: Hale is an Arts Editor for The Miscellany News] said, “I thought it was a pretty good take on a burger.” He continued, “Moonburger has its own style so if you want to go to a restaurant that’s different than a regular burger and has its own identity then it’s good for that. I liked it. It was a good experience and a good thing to try.” According to Scardina, Late Night typically garners around 315 to 320 students on any given Wednesday, but the Moonburger Pop-Up brought in over 400 diners.
When discussing the success of the event, Scardina added, “I would also like to shout out the dining staff who worked the event—Linda K., Efrain C., Veronica W. and Isatu R.—and thank Jeremy and his team for providing the students with a wonderful experience.” The energy and enthusiasm present would not have been possible without their hard work.
For students who missed the pop-up or want more, in a few months Moonburger plans to open a third location in Poughkeepsie. The location will join the two other Moonburger locations: one in Kingston, which opened in 2021, and another in New Paltz, which opened in 2023. Both locations achieved almost instantaneous success, with coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and listed in the Best of Hudson Valley 2023. Unlike neighboring locations, the Poughkeepsie location will offer a drive-thru, counter service and a full dining room to enhance the experience.