Hamburger America: Thurman Cafe in Columbus, Ohio
Editor's note: Burgermeisters! Here's another excerpt from George Motz's book Hamburger America. George and his publisher were kind enough to allow us to run them here, along with George's beautiful photos. Eat up!
Thurman Cafe has all of the trappings of a typical time-tested favorite local hang—walls covered with the obligatory license plates, beer ads, and old photos. But look a little closer and discover the amazing ceiling covered in vintage Budweiser wall paper and the thousands of signed dollar bills dangling over the bar area like party decorations. Chances are, while you are waiting for your Thurman Burger to arrive, one will pass by on its way to another customer. Your first glance at the famed burger will result in an audible gulp that signals either fear or hunger. This is because the Thurman Burger is enormous.
On a busy Saturday at Thurman, the kitchen will prepare and serve up to 500 of the famed burgers. “We go through over 1500 pounds of beef a week,” Mike Suclescy told me. Good meat too. Mike only buys top-quality 85/15 ground chuck and told me, “We ran out once and went over to the Kroger Supermarket for ground beef. The taste just wasn’t the same.”
There are many different burgers on the menu but it’s the Thurman Burger that outsells them all. The creation starts with a three-quarter pound patty of griddled fresh ground beef that is topped with (follow me here) grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, sliced sautéed mushrooms, pickle, jalapeno slices, mayonnaise, and a half-pound mound of sliced ham. The pile of ingredients is then covered with both mozzarella and American cheese, capped with a toasted bun, and speared with extra-long toothpicks. When I say tall, I’m guessing this burger stood no less than seven inches high. Get your mouth ready.
183 Thurman Avenue, Columbus OH 43206
Open seven days, 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Hamburger America is available at Amazon and comes with a DVD of George's movie of the same title.