No Success Like Excess

This is The Thurmanator.  It has been featured on CNN and the TV show, Man vs. Food.  This is what it is.  Two 12 oz. patties with ham, mozzarella, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, sautéed onions, pickle, peppers, and mayo with fries and a pickle spear.

I live on Thurman Avenue and have for 14 years.  I have been to the Thurman Cafe exactly once in my lifetime and not at all in those 14 years.   What they specialize in is big portions of food.  Not GOOD portions, just big portions.  My only memories of the place was it was small, cramped, not very clean and though they brought you a lot of food, it wasn’t that great.    For some diners getting a lot of something seems to make up for it not being staggeringly mediocre.

There are big, ginormous burgers and there are good burgers.  Don’t think they’re always the same thing.  The Thurman Café makes ‘em big, but that doesn’t mean they’re good.  White Castles aren’t “good” burgers either.  They’re a novelty and that’s where t heir charm lies.   But they look horrible, smell horrible and only taste good if you’re drunk, starving, scrounging for food at 3:00 am or all the above.

The legend of the Thurmanator draws tourists to the restaurant in search of a challenge.   They seem to want to test their digestive systems by cramming hugely unnecessary portions of ground beef down your throat.  Some enjoy the experience and others swear, “Never again!”    Like this poor soul who wrote a terse review on Trip Advisor. 

Bad food, bad service, just really bad. I have no idea why anyone would eat there. The Thurman Burger looked like vomit, a big mess on a plate.

There’s always another side of the story and here it is. 

Man, I have to say it was hands down the best burger ever! I ate the entire thing….admittedly I consumed enough calories for 3 days but man, this place is just on the mark.

It doesn't get any better on the inside.

You drive past The Thurman Cafe and there are people lined up in the rain, in the snow and on the hottest days of summer trying to get in and dying to get a big-ass burger in the belly.  I have no idea why except I suppose there must be something appealing about stuffing obscene amounts of food in your mouth for some people.    The most famous restaurant in Columbus is also the most unnecessary.  Never eat anything bigger than your head.

“If a little is good, way too much must be better” seems to be the modus operandi of The Thurman Café.   If you like huge, sloppy ghetto burgers stacked high with toppings just so you can brag you slammed a Thurmanator in your glory hole, have at it.   This joint may be my street’s only claim to fame, but The Thurmanator is a monument to overindulgence, gluttony and excess.

As Don King would say, “Only in America.”  The rest of the world just rolls their eyes in horror and disgust.  There’s a really big hamburger and then there’s total overkill.   This is the latter.

4 thoughts on “No Success Like Excess

  1. You haven’t been there in 14 years but you slam the place? Where is the love? I haven’t been there in a year or so, but it was pretty good the last time I was. I don’t have the appetite to slam oversized grub anymore, but when my friend from Virginia came to town last summer, he went there on my suggestion and loved the place. Maybe it isn’t for you, but in a town that lacks signature restaurants, the Thurman Cafe at least stands out as unique. I think some of those people waiting in line know what they like. They offer a heck of a lot more than just the Thurmanator. And what’s more the price for overindulgence, gluttony and excess is pretty reasonable.

    Tell you what, let’s do lunch.


    • Heck, Jeff can be a hater if he wants to.

      I’ll eat a burger at the Thurman Cafe if I get the chance. I’ve been there a couple of times (so I’m pretty sure that I’ve been there in the last decade WITH Jeff) and while I agree that it’s a small place I don’t consider it a dive.

      It doesn’t cost anymore to eat there than it does in half of the restaurants in town.


      • If not wanting to slam a heart attack in a bun is “hating” then I’ll wear the tag proudly.

        What part of me not being at The Thurman Cafe since I’ve lived on Thurman Avenue do you not understand? And who cares if they’re cheap? Cheap, maybe. Good, NO.

        You want a good burger? There’s better options than The Thurmanator and the Thurman Cafe.


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