I have never been one for food challenges. In a grotesque display of American gluttony we have eaten ourselves into fat, lazy folk with little acknowledgement of the repercussions that such acts bring.
Yet there is something alluring to a gallon milk shake, or a massive cheeseburger. There is a primal desire among men to be one of those troglodyte-like and victorious few to have their photo on the wall of many of the American institutions that have such challenges.
However, being a small town boy, growing up at the Lake of the Ozarks and spending the rest of my time in the boomtown that is Rolla, I never considered a food challenge. I do love food: cooking it, eating it, watching other people eat it as I jealously watch from my television, but the ten pound slabs of beef never interested me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat such a thing, and I sure as hell did not want to fork out the money for it.
However, I had been informed of a restaurant in the area that served up a monstrous cheeseburger for a challenge, and they wanted me to come have a go at it. At first I was hesitant.
I would have preferred to try other things on their menu. I had my concerns about a 66 ounce burger. I thought that quality would be subpar when dealing with such amounts of meat. But the owner, Tony Sherrer, really wanted me to try this burger. So I decided it was time for Travis Tellman to give it the ole college try.
With my friend Adam Mitchell, I sojourned to the Doolittle exit and sought out my foe. (The place is very easy to find, its right at the Doolittle exit and there is easily read signage.) We both walked in, not really knowing what to expect. The owner showed us to a raised table with chains on the side that locked us in.
He said Adam and I could split it, which was exciting for both Adam and me because he got a free meal, and I didn’t have to face the beast alone. Tony told us our burger would be out shortly and that the waitress would answer any questions. As it turned out, the name of the place was not false advertising. They make just about everything from scratch. The waitress brought us our drinks and we awaited the challenge burger.
It was not long until the behemoth arrived. There it sat before us, about four pounds of beef, a colossal homemade bun, nine slices of American cheese, a pound and a half of french-fries, and enough lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles to supply a buffet line. In all, it was around seven pounds of food, and we were given minutes to consume it. That was a tall order for two growing college boys who can handle their food, let alone one man.
Page 2 of 3 - We decided the burger would best be consumed in fourths. So I took ahold of a knife and stood (you have to stand to cut it, it is that big), cutting it into four even quarters, though Adam later argued that I gave him the larger half of the burger. We both loaded our first quarter up with the vegetables and began eating. Not only was this a fine burger, I would stick my neck out and say it is one of the finest I have tasted; no quality was lost because of the size.
Tony later informed me that he uses the same Angus beef for the challenge burger as he does for the regular burgers. The $36 price tag was then not so unbelievable to me. As we ate, he spoke to us about the high quality of meat that he gets because of his great knowledge of the industry.
Tony Sherrer is the kind of man people should look up to in the restaurant industry. He knows what he wants his restaurant to serve and he knows how to make it happen. I know Adam and I will go back to try the rest of the food at Cookin’ from Scratch, and prices are very affordable.
That is another sign of homemade food, just so you know, fresh ingredients are often cheaper than frozen and canned, and many people just do not realize that. The place is a gem in my opinion, and it is run by a proud, hardworking man, so I do not believe it will be going anywhere soon. Everybody in Rolla should eat there at least once, especially when dealing with dorm food. It would be a nice and affordable change from the bland dishes of the cafeterias’.
In the end, Adam and I could not complete the challenge. Hell, we could not even finish the whole burger, even with the encouragement from a pair of friendly military men, a few kids with their parents, and kindly old folks. After eating nearly two pounds of burger and a decent amount of fries, we both threw in the towel. We had been defeated. The remains of the burger mocked us.
I was not hungry for the rest of the day either, and I do not ever intend upon consuming so much food in a whole day, much less one sitting ever again. But for a brief hour and six minutes, I had a taste of what Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s man versus food must feel like. Travel Channel has featured Cookin’ from Scratch by the way. Check it out, you will not regret it.
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