Ohio Hamburger Festival dishes up fried patties to brave attendees

Just when i thought they couldn’t take burger to another level………………….!

Step aside Iowa and fried butter — there is a new national fried treasure to feast upon.

The country’s first deep-fried cheeseburger is making its debut among at least 30 other varieties of hamburgers served by 15 different vendors at the National Hamburger Festival in Akron, Ohio, this weekend.

“We cook the cheeseburger, put it on a bun and dip it in batter before dropping it in a deep fryer,” said Drew Cerza, the festival’s founder.

Cerza came up with the idea for a deep-fried burger alongside a chef at a local burger restaurant. He wanted to combine two of his favorite things — hamburgers and chicken wings. Cerza said the special batter is a cross between funnel-cake batter and pancake batter, making the deep-fried cheeseburger both sweet and savory.

“We’ll serve it with a side of Lipitor,” Cerza said with a laugh.

The Hamburger Festival started six years ago in Akron, one of at least four places that claim to be the birthplace of the burger. Local lore has it that in 1885, Akron natives Frank and Charles Menches created the sandwich after they ran out of pork and were forced to use ground beef while serving concessions at the Buffalo Fair.

“I just said, ‘Let’s just do it (in Akron) and stake the claim,'” Cerza said.

Recognizing the controversy surrounding the burger’s birthplace, Cerza staged “Hamburger Hearings,” during the festival’s first year and allowed each of the four cities, Seymour, Wisconsin; Athens, Texas; and New Haven, Connecticut, to send representatives to make their case to a “burger commission.”

After deliberations, the jury was hung and an online poll had to be taken, naming Seymour, Wisconsin, the home of the hamburger by popular vote.

“We had a lot of fun with it,” Cerza said, “Everyone is very proud of their influence on the hamburger.”

Still, he says, with hamburger chains White Castle and Wendy’s beginning in the state, it’s tough to deny that “Ohio is a hamburger state.”

The festival is expected to attract 20,000 people over the weekend. Most visitors are regional, but Cerza said the universal appeal of the hamburger has prompted road trips from all over the country.

“This festival is America,” Cerza said. “It includes all demographics of everybody, just like the hamburger.”



6 Comments Add yours

  1. MrsF says:

    Another level, eh? I noticed you didn’t specify whether that level is above, or below……

    1. I would love to try it once to make a judgement, I find american fast food goes over the top quite often, to the point where
      you would have to look at the health issues with eating some of those food items.

  2. MrsF says:

    I should think that just once would be enough!

    1. LOL once would be more than enough.

  3. i’m sorta near Akron. i’ll have to try that the next time the festival is around

  4. Richard says:

    That burger is a calorie killer………….it has to be over the top.

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