2 min Read
May 10, 2010

That’s Right, Luther Burgers

The team here at Big Duck has been talking about trying Luther Burgers ever since we learned what a Luther Burger was.

My father was a Lutheran minister, so I was disappointed to learn that it wasn’t named for Martin Luther. Alas, it was named for the soul singer Luther Vandross who, according to legend, invented the thing.

It’s quite simple, actually. It’s a bacon-cheddar cheeseburger. In place of the buns, however, are Krispy Kreme donuts (or doughnuts, if you prefer the classic spelling): one glazed donut on top and another on the bottom.

We take turns bringing snacks for each other on Fridays, and it was Rebecca‘s turn last week. Because her snack day also coincided with her birthday week, she decided that it was time to commit to the Luther Burger experience.

Opinions beforehand varied from “That sounds disgusting” to “That sounds pretty good” to “That sounds disgusting, but I bet it’s pretty good.” Whatever our opinions, we all agreed to try it (two people got veggie burgers, but I won’t mention them again).

Rebecca got up early and traveled all the way to Penn Station to get real Krispy Kremes. Sonny had schmoozed an employee at a local lunch joint with a good burger to prepare them for our arrival (and get the “all clear” to bring outside food, i.e. the donuts, into the restaurant).

Sonny and Rebecca ordered the burgers for us.

We got the donuts ready.

We got pumped up and ready to eat.

The restaurant, Choice, did a remarkable job accommodating our madness, even bringing the bunless burgers out on a platter.

Put ’em all together, and this is what you get.

So how were they? In a word: delicious. The salty/sweet combination was a pleasure most of us expected. But Luther Vandross’s brilliance in creating this burger lies in his use of Krispy Kreme donuts. Truth be told, they’re mostly air (and fat and sugar, of course). But they don’t actually have that much flavor.

In other words, it still tasted like a burger. It wasn’t overwhelmed by the sweetness or weight of a more substantial donut. It was a delicious bacon-cheddar cheeseburger. With donut buns! It tasted much better than any of us expected. Even those of us who thought it would be good had no idea just how good it would be.

Most of us also agreed that it’s not something we’d ever eat again. At 1,550 calories (approximately), and god knows how much fat and sugar, it would be exceedingly unwise to eat it more than once in your life. And it’s probably wise to remember that Luther Vandross suffered from diabetes, struggled with his weight, and ultimately died from a stroke probably caused by hypertension.

As Liz pointed out, it was the first time in the more than two years she’s worked at Big Duck that we actually closed the office over lunch and went out as a group. Initially, I didn’t think there was much of a lesson to be gleaned from our Luther Burger experience and, in general, we like to provide useful tips to our nonprofit readership on the Duck Call blog.

But once we came out of our sugar-and-meat comas (and yes, the aftermath of our lunch was quite drowsy indeed), it hit us…

Team-building, nonprofiteers. Don’t underestimate it.

Oh, and Luther Vandross’s brilliance was not limited to his silky singing voice.

Dan Gunderman

Dan Gunderman is the Former Creative Director at Big Duck

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