While there was no shortage of interesting eateries to choose from in Columbus, I was told if you had only one meal there it would have to be a Thurman Burger from Thurman’s Café. Though not located near the OSU Campus, Thurman’s sits in the heart of the historical German Village section of Columbus and has been dishing out epic burgers since 1942. Glance at any list of best burgers in America and Thurman’s is sure to be on there, in addition to having recently been featured on an episode of Man vs. Food.
I pulled up to the modest Thurman’s storefront shortly after “The Game” and slid quickly into an open barstool, bypassing hordes of rotund, red clad Buckeye fans waiting for tables. If you’re going to Thurman’s after an Ohio State game, be prepared to wait, but enjoy a few Great Lakes brews assured the wait is worth it. Taking only an obligatory glance at the menu, I started with a few of Thurman’s disturbingly large Buffalo Wings and naturally ordered up the signature Thurman Burger. Stacked between two buns, the Thurman Burger consists of a twelve ounce slab of beef overloaded with ham, sautéed mushrooms and onions, mozzarella and American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers, and mayo.
Halfway through my sauce faced wing session, a leviathan lurched forth, ominously parting the swinging steel kitchen doors. Upon arrival, the Jurassic sized burger drew an audible gasp from the patrons seated next to me, and I started to sweat wondering if I had finally bit off a bit more than I could chew.
True to form, the Thurman Burger is an absolute monster, a twelve ounce trembling pile of beef and cheese held together by a few straining toothpicks to keep it from toppling over.Easily the biggest burger I have encountered on my travels thus far, it’s such an imposing mountain of meat that, unless you’re equipped with a bass faced maw like Steven Tyler, simply cannot fit into your mouth. Quickly realizing there is absolutely no way to tackle this thing gracefully, I rolled up my sleeves and determinedly sequestered a pile of napkins from the bar.In addition to its colossal size, the Thurman Burger is actually extremely tasty.The burger itself is well seasoned and bursting with beefy chuck flavor in addition to the tangy caramelized onions and cheese oozing from every corner.Ham adds a salty touch to it, and the lettuce, tomato and pickles get in the way like they always do.Predictably, by the end of the meal, the sandwich had all but exploded into an unidentifiable mess, but I managed to finish the entire offering.
Perhaps the most disturbing part is that this isn’t even the largest burger offering at Thurman’s. Their prolific menu proudly boasts a titan known as “The Thurmanator”, which is effectively a double pattied Thurman Burger. That’s twenty four belt busting ounces of beef nightmare on a bun for those of you wondering. I can’t begin to imagine the sheer horror of ordering the Thurmanator after having just downed its formidable little brother.
I hoisted myself off the stool and waddled out of Thurman’s with distended belly, thankful for the elastic waist on my cargo pants. Though I have certainly found other “famous” places quite disappointing and made note of it on this blog, Thurman’s is not one of them. The burgers here are legendary, in both size and flavor, and Thurman’s Café is completely deserving of their lofty reputation. If you ever find yourself in Columbus, the only question you should be asking yourself is where to eat for your third meal, because the first two will be The Thurman Burger.Just don’t forget the napkins….
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