[Looks more like a hamburger sundae...]

>> Saturday 8.19.06 <<

This past Saturday, a few friends and I went to check out this new burger place called The Counter in Palo Alto.

Their whole pitch is that you get to build your own burger: pick your meat, size, cheese, toppings, sauce, and bun type, and you’re good to go. And a bunch of their options aren’t too shabby, either. For example, cheese options include gruyere, herb goat cheese pread, danish blue cheese, and tillamook cheddar. And toppings range from fried onion strings to hard boiled eggs to dried cranberries.

Pretty much, there’s something for everyone here.

Their website claims that there are over 312,120 different burger combinations. But as you’ll soon see, as far as I’m now concerned, there’s only one combination worth getting. Here’s the story…

[Driving to The Counter for some delicious burger action; as you can tell, I’ve got my game face on]

So the day starts out innocently enough. Tim, TJ, and I all order a custom burger (when you’re seated you’re given a sheet of paper with a bunch of checkboxes; all you do is mark what you want on your burger), and we devour them the moment they arrive. We start talking about how two weeks prior, Tim had gone to Chipotle and easily ate three burritos in thirty minutes.

It’s at that point, we have a brilliant idea:
Let’s order a burger with EVERYTHING on it.

I mean, if you’ve got a sheet of paper with checkboxes all over it, someone’s bound to wanna check every single box on it. And mean it.

So Tim decides to step up to the challenge: order a burger with every single possible option (all the cheeses, all the toppings, and all the sauces) AND try to finish it within 30 minutes. If he finishes it in 30 minutes, TJ and I will pay for it; if not, he has to cover it.

It’s at that moment that our two waitresses (Natalie and Heather) arrive, asking us, “Would you guys care for any dessert?”

"Nope," I reply. "We’ve got something else in mind…." I proceed to hand her this…

[As you can see, every possible option has been selected]

[Tim poses with his burger sheet]

Obviously, Natalie and Heather think we’re crazy. But after we assure them that we’re not just going to leave right after the order is placed, they begin to buy into the idea. The order is placed. We’re told that this has never been attempted before.

Now how many toppings does this burger have? FIFTY-FOUR. We’re talking more than the number of states in the US. That’s 10 types of cheese, 27 toppings, and 17 sauces. And oh yeah, a 1 lb beef patty with a honey wheat bun. For anyone who’s ever gone through a drive-thru window at a fast-food joint and joked, “Let’s order every single item on the menu!” this is pretty much the same thing.

Below’s the complete list of what went into the burger…..


Danish Blue Cheese
Greek Feta
Jalapeno Jack
Herb Goat Cheese Spread
Horseradish Cheedar
Imported Swiss
Sharp Provolone
Tillamook Cheddar
Yellow American


Bermuda Red Onion
Black Olives
Carrot Strings
Dill Pickle Chips
Dried Cranberries
Grilled Onions
Grilled Pineapple
Hard Boiled Eggs
Lettuce Blend
Mixed Baby Greens
Roasted Chiles
Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salsa
Roasted Red Peppers
Spicy Pepperoncinis
Sauteed Mushrooms
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Fried Egg
Black Forest Ham
Honey Cured Bacon
Homemade Guacamole
Fried Onion Strings


Apricot Sauce
Caramelized Onion Marmalade
Country Buttermilk Ranch
Dijon Balsamic Dressing
Ginger Soy Glaze
Honey Mustard
Horseradish Mayo
Peanut Sauce
Peppercorn Steak Sauce
Red Relish
Roasted Garlic Aioli
Russian Dressing
Southwest Caesar
Spicy Sour Cream
Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Sweet BBQ Sauce

While we’re waiting for the burger to arrive, it seems as if Tim has already become a celebrity. Nearly the entire staff at The Counter comes on over to say hi (including about 10 waitresses who all are like, “Are you really going to do this? That’s kinda gross! But it’s kinda cool too!”). The manager pops on in, a guy who appears to be one of the owners says hey, and the executive chef even stops on by to see who’s about to eat this behemoth of a burger he’s cooking up in the back. Yup, everyone is f’ing excited.

After about 15 minutes, the glorious burger finally arrives. How much does this baby weigh? 5 friggin pounds. Obviously, it comes in a huge bowl and not on a plate. The sauces and the bun are provided on the side. Here’s what it looks like…

[Tim gets ready for his challenge…]

[I wonder if they missed anything]

To prepare himself, Tim reorganizes the burger a little bit. He dumps a bunch of the sauces onto his burger, spreads a few on the bun, and saves one on the side (the idea was that if he were to actually finish the entire burger, he would down it as the finishing touch). He also cuts up some of the patty and puts it in another bowl (possibly in an attempt to make the burger look less intimidating).

[Pourrr some sugaaaah on meeeeee]

[This looks like something you would see on Nickelodeon’s Double Dare]

We get our stopwatch ready, and Tim begins. Below is the progression of events…(along with some of the more memorable quotes that I remember being spoken):

So as you can see, the 30 minute mark hits and Tim has unfortunately not completed the task. TJ and I discuss and decide that the immense entertainment value we are getting out of this warrants a 15 minute time extension.

So Tim continues…

At this point, Tim’s obviously struggling to get even a bite in. Remember, he had eaten a full meal right before starting the challenge. He also informs us at this point that maybe it wasn't a good idea that he had a full plate of pancakes for breakfast.

So at the 36 minute mark, he decides to officially call it quits. Nevertheless, we are all very impressed with how far he made it.

[36 minutes later and Tim is still a hero in my book]

[TJ appreciates the effort and shakes Tim’s hand]

Obviously, someone comes up to us and asks, “Would any of you care for dessert?”

Obviously, we decline.

The check then arrives. The ginormous burger ends up costing $45.50. I think it’s the best $45.50 one could ever spend.

[Notice how Tim’s humongo burger costs more than the 4 other individual burgers combined]

We’re also asked to fill out a comment card. The most hilarious part of that card is the part that says “Please list the items that you ordered.” Ummmm, EVERYTHING?!

[Um, can I get another sheet?]

Well, that’s pretty much it. A big thanks to the whole crew at The Counter for dealing with our craziness. And of course, thanks to Natalie and Heather for actually processing the order.

I’m sure we’ll be back soon to try the challenge again. Tim says that he can probably do it if he starts on an empty stomach. I actually don’t doubt him. I’ll keep you all updated.

But wait, you say, did the burger eventually end up getting finished?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s your answer…

[Seconds, anyone?]

To view the full gallery of photos from this momentous occasion, check out the Flickr album HERE.

>> Update #1: Feedback <<

A random sampling of the comments and emails we've seen since the initial posting:

"Hey man, I live nearby in San Jose and would love to have a duel with you. I think I could take you in 30 minutes. What do you say?" -Bear

"We saw the pics and read the story. The wife and I got halfway down and started to feel sick. A churning tummy kinda sick. Lord have mercy on your bowels." -Paul

"no way i was actually there when that happened. dude was crazy, hella chicks talked to him afterwards and had him sign their stomachs in mustard. i was jealous but dude got hella game and can eat crazy." -Jake (although i’m quite sure there wasn’t any stomach-mustard-signing that took place)

"That’s not a burger. That’s a garbage sundae." -Trixie

"Read the account of your attempt to eat the 5lb burger with everything on it. I was seriously turned on! If you ever want a boyfriend, I’m your guy! (And NO, I’m not a big fat pig!) You are just the cutest thing ever." -Ken

"That guy is going to make some proctologist very, very happy." -beelzbubba

>> Update #2: Media/Blog Coverage <<

Looks like our little burger tale has caught the attention of foodies worldwide. Check out some of the sites that have linked to this story:

Slashfood: [link no longer valid]
A Hamburger Today: [link no longer valid]
Supersized Meals: link
Dvorak Uncensored: link
Linkfilter: [link no longer valid]
Lido’s Lounge: [link no longer valid]
Yelp: link
The Feed: [link no longer valid]
A Welsh View: [link no longer valid]
Food Notebook: [link no longer valid]
Good Morning Silicon Valley: [link no longer valid]
Didn’t You Hear: [link no longer valid]
Digg: [link no longer valid]
Buzz (a Swedish site): [link no longer valid]
San Jose Mercury News: [link no longer valid]

And that's it. Stay hungry, my friends.