*Editor’s note: Today’s post comes to us from freelance photojournalist JD Pooley in Bowling Green, Ohio. JD has been eating burgers all of his life, beginning at around age seven when his mom would fry them up in a pan. He is a great photographer that covers just about everything under the sun – from presidential visits to the county fair. To see more of JD’s work, check out his websitewww.jdpooley.com
Jay Surdasky, owner of the Koral Hamburg in Waterville, Ohio, (the burger at its best since 1926), insisted that I try their “Kardiac” burger. Layered with pretty much everything in the kitchen, I gave it a whirl. After looking at my photographs, I know what you are thinking. Why in the world would they serve such an enormous burger on such a small plate?
Jay’s son, Jason, who mans the traditional flat top grill may have been a little nervous when I started snapping away while he was preparing my monstrous burger. He proudly handed me my burger on a small plate thinking all I was going to do was photograph the burger in all its girth and glory. I reminded him that after taking a few snaps of the burger I had to eat it, which was easier said than done.
The staff offered me a larger plate and I happily accepted. My burger consisted of two 4-ounce patties, 4 pieces of very thick bacon, relish, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, two cheeses, Swiss and American, mustard and ketchup smothered on an egg bun and a giant onion ring to top it off. There is absolutely no way on earth you could get your mouth around this thing! And did I mention there is a very large butter knife through the middle just to keep it upright. Before I even tried to get my big mouth around this burger, Surdasky quickly pointed out that a fork and knife are needed.
I knew in the back of mind that I would eventually have to give in and use a fork. I didn’t want the burger to win. Not today. I had only one shot of picking this thing up. I had to come up with a plan. Using my right hand I would grab the bottom of the burger and I would place my left hand on top to brace it. I know what you are thinking, not much of a plan, but this isn’t rocket science, right? After going over my plan in my head a few times I was ready. Ever so slowly I inched the burger closer to my mouth. Closer, closer, closer, almost there, splat! The weight of the burger was no match for the egg bun. The entire burger broke apart.
The middle of the burger came oozing out from the bun and landed on my second larger plate. The burger won. Damn you “Kardiac” burger. After all that, the burger was still very enjoyable. Digging in with my fork it reminded me of eating a chicken pot pie. The meat had great flavor, a southwest taste, cooked all the way through, very well done, but packed great flavor. The bacon was very thick, as thick as they come – crunchy, but not tough.
All of the burgers at Koral Hamburg are made fresh with ground chuck. Surdasky says that when you are eating ground chuck you are eating only the muscle of the steer which makes it lean and safer to eat. The Koral Hamburg has been a staple in this small midwest community for the past 30 years. It’s a place where locals can enjoy a solid burger in an environment of days gone by. Monday and Wednesdays Surdasky drops his prices to only .99 cents for a single burger and $1.49 for a cheeseburger. Offering an array of different burgers, the highest priced burger on the menu was a Double Bacon Cheeseburger for $6.75. Over 60,000 customers walk through Surdasky’s front door each year.
Although I would not recommend ordering the “Kardiac” burger on a regular basis (pretty sure I looked like a complete idiot eating it), the lean meat selection that they make their burgers with combined with the friendly environment and one of the cleanest kitchens I have been in, makes it a fun place to grab a burger.
RATING: 4 out of 5
Koral Hamburg & Diner
12 North 3rd Street
Waterville, OH 43566
Hours: Monday – Friday 11:00AM am – 8:00PM
Saturday 8:00AM – 8:00PM
Sunday 8:00AM 7:00PM