The Mirror

We Ate Z-Burger’s ‘Nothingburger’ And Got A Stomach Ache

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The popular hamburger chain Z-Burger is capitalizing on Washington’s use of the word “nothingburger” this week. On Tuesday, they gave away 800 burgers for free. So The Daily Caller put three male interns on the case to find out if they are any good. But there was just one problem: The “NothingBurger” — a burger and a bun with possible American or Provolone cheeses —  put us in minor digestive pain.

The burgers aren’t devoid of taste. We enjoyed them — to a point. Z-Burger, a popular burger chain located in the nation’s capital, hosted the politically fueled promotion to offer hungry customers a chance to capitalize on the popular term to describe drawn out and exhausted media coverage of an issue President Trump supporters and Fox News’s Sean Hannity find pointless.

Though the promotion was clever and well-timed in the wake of the Donald Trump Jr. meeting with a Russian lawyer, it failed on both fronts. The food was poor and most of the patrons had absolutely no clue why they were there beyond getting a free lunch.

How can people in the nation’s capital be this dumb?

After taking our first bites of the “NothingBurger,” we immediately knew it was a mistake. On Monday we ate entire normal bacon cheeseburgers from the same Z-Burger location and we regretted it then, too. First of all the patty was misshapen. One of ours appeared to have a bite-sized chunk missing from it. The burger itself was also just plain horrible. It was bland, except for the copious burger grease and old tasting American cheese. The buns are thick on a scale that we’ve never seen, and harder than any stale bread you’d find on the counter in a youth hostel in Central America.

Seriously, we regret eating the burger and would have preferred consuming a full bowl of mayonnaise. 

The restaurant itself is interesting. The outside is sun-faded and fading, yet the inside shows great promise. The air conditioning works well, and the tables are clean. The ordering process is a confusing mess, but it’s quick so we can’t complain. The [gender neutral] bathrooms are another story altogether. They are the absolute pits. Paper towels and toilet paper on the floors.

Simply put, they’re gross. “I’m like not feeling top,” said one of the writers of this piece, noting that the eaters went to Chick-fil-A for a meal they knew wouldn’t disappoint. Another remarked, “To be fair, I didn’t really have a stomach ache today. I didn’t feel great after today, but yesterday I had awful stomachache.” 

Z-Burger owner Peter Tabibian commented on his promotion. “We take our burgers, 800 free burgers, protect the integrity of burgers around the country,” he said by phone. “We may do another promotion called a “SomethingBurger” in the future.”

He had to rush off before we could ask him what the “SomethingBurger” would entail.

Almost as bothersome as the burger’s taste was how ill-informed the Washington D.C. population is about recent political events. Perhaps this is why the District of Columbia voted 90.5 percent for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Only a single person possessed any background knowledge of the story behind the ‘NothingBurger’ phenomenon.

In Z-Burger, we got a surprising amount of irritation from customers when asked why they had come out. 

Most interviewees looked at us as if we were senile, and gave a blunt answer like, “Because it’s free.”

One man said, “There’s nothing political about a free burger.”

We left Z-Burger disappointed in our fellow Americans and with brutal stomach aches from a poorly-cooked burger. At the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue in Tenleytown, a cackling old man on a bicycle rode up beside us. The friendly old fellow asked us if we were American University students. I informed him we were not, but asked if he’d heard about the burger deal just a few blocks down the road.

“NothingBurger?” he asked. “That’s that thing Trump’s always talking about!”

The light turned green and the old man rode away, cackling to himself as if the ‘NothingBurger’ was the funniest thing he had heard all day.

Well, if there’s any silver lining, at least one old man on a bicycle had watched something other than CNN and MSNBC in the last few months.