Can you devour the 5,218-calorie 'Mega Mel' burger challenge?

Nick Natario Image
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
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The Mega Mel-burger is a big eating challenge at Mel's Country Cafe, and it's a Tomball tradition that's worth HTX+'s attention.

TOMBALL, Texas (KTRK) -- After a quarter of a century, a cafe off Tomball's beaten path continues to see customers and people looking for the ultimate burger challenge.

On a weekday afternoon, nearly every seat is filled at Mel's County Cafe.

"I never thought in a million years we would be this successful and here this long," said Jeff Henry, owner of Mel's Country Cafe.

A big reason is what can be regularly heard sizzling on the grill. There's a pound and half of patties, a pound of bacon, a quarter pound of cheese, and all the fixings.

It's a massive burger built from the bun up known as the Mega Mel. For those who complete the Mega Mel, they wolf down a whopping 5,218 calories.

When HTX+ visited the restaurant, three attempted to eat the Mega Mel, including Donald Hawkins, who's finished it twice. It took 10 minutes to finish it the first time.

"It's a lot of meat," Hawkins said. "A lot of burger."

The veteran eater has advice to anyone trying to tackle the Mega Mel.

"If you drink anything, (it should be) water with no ice," Hawkins explained.

There's no rush to chow down. The restaurant gives customers two hours.

In order to get your name on the wall, you have to leave nothing on the plate. Another thing, you can't get sick. If you do, the restaurant makes you clean it up.

Very few are able to finish the burger. The restaurant says only around 200, or about one in 10, completes the challenge.

It's a challenge not even veteran eater Hawkins couldn't tackle in front our cameras.

"My stomach has shrunk," Hawkins said.

As more complete the Mega Mel, the restaurant says it's running out of space.

"We always figured we could always use the ceiling if we needed to," Henry joked.

It's a challenge that's helped make Mel's Country Cafe a Tomball tradition that hopes to keep its seats filled for years to come.

"It's hard work, but it's very rewarding," Henry explained. "I just love the community and I look forward to coming into work every day."

In case you're wondering, the fastest time to eat Mega Mel is 9 minutes. And the restaurant is looking for more females to do it. So far, only two women have eaten it.

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