There are two types of people in the world, and they are easily identifiable when you describe to them the Brunch Burger – the marquee food item debuting at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s AutoFair this weekend.
The first type gags a little bit hearing the description: “a quarter-pound cheeseburger topped with hash browns, more American cheese, two slices of bacon, an egg over-easy and maple syrup, served on two slices of French toast.”
And then there’s the type that reflexively drops their jaws about an inch, clutches their hearts and says something along the lines of, “Where do I sign up?”
(A subset of this type is the “You-had-me-at-bacon” people, who read that list of ingredients, got to the word bacon, and stopped. We had them at the word “bacon.”)
The Brunch Burger was created by Chicago-based Levy Restaurants, which comes up with plenty of fantastic cuisine for restaurants like Spiaggia and River Roast in Chicago but also is responsible for a long list of some of the most artery-clogging food in the history of human civilization.
Exhibit A: The funnel bacakonator – a funnel cake drizzled with chocolate and strawberry sauce and topped with bacon (score!) and introduced at AutoFair in 2011.
Exhibit B: Deep fried cupcakes – three mini cupcakes, battered and fried, covered in chocolate sauce and powdered sugar, then served on a skewer. That was AutoFair 2012.
Exhibit C: A spare-rib sundae – baby back rib meat slathered in barbecue sauce, then mixed into homemade vanilla ice cream and topped with bananas, chocolate sauce and a maraschino cherry.
OK, I’m just kidding about that last one. (But Mr. Levy, if you’d like to buy my idea, give me a call and we’ll chat ...)
The Brunch Burger, meanwhile, tops out at nearly 1,200 calories. It costs $10, it takes several minutes to make, and if you walk around the infield at the speedway clutching one in your hands, it will turn as many heads as a Shelby Mustang.
Plus, it’s so big and so messy – partly because Carolina Diner grillmaster Jamil Woods finishes off each sandwich by covering it with enough syrup to fill a bathtub – that the only way to eat it is with the provided plastic fork and knife.
But the mashup of breakfast-y flavors makes sense, even if the slab of ground beef doesn’t. And the combination of sweet (syrup, French toast) and salty (everything else) tastes like it was painstakingly engineered in a government laboratory to be more addictive than crack cocaine. It shouldn’t be, but the Brunch Burger is delicious.
At this point, I must reiterate: This thing tops out at nearly 1,200 calories.
Remember that documentary from like a decade ago, where the guy conducted an experiment on himself by eating only McDonald’s menu items for 30 days? If he tried subsisting that way on nothing but Brunch Burgers, he’d be dead within a week.
But if he could limit himself to one, he could leave AutoFair with a sense of accomplishment, a story to tell and – if he’s lucky – no more than a mild stomach ache.
8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Parkway South. $11 for adults, free for ages 13 and younger; $32 for weekend pass. 1-800-455-FANS; www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.