Specialty burger benefits one family affected by Hurricane Michael
PANAMA CITY BEACH — 7 Famous Burgers recently created an eighth burger, the Hurricane, with a percentage of its proceeds going to one local family affected by Hurricane Michael.
“We opened Oct. 5 with our grand opening, and five days later the hurricane hit,” said Judah Tuvyana, who lives in Lynn Haven. “The Hurricane Burger was an idea we wanted to have to encourage other restaurants to give back to the community with fun things for relief efforts that bring people together.”
Co-owners Tuvyana and his brother Lucas Bessey of Edge Digital Marketing along with Dave Giles reopened 7 Famous Burgers, 14664 Front Beach Road, in November. The Hurricane burger temporarily is replacing the eighth bonus Mystery burger. Through February, five percent of the proceeds from each Hurricane burger sold will be donated, 6 percent through March, 7 percent through April and 10 percent in May.
The owners want to hear others’ Hurricane Michael stories and will choose one beneficiary to receive all proceeds that are collected from January into May. Stories may be submitted before May 15 via message to the restaurant’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/7famousburgers.
“We have a lot of family and friends affected by Hurricane Michael, and we know how devastating it was. I had 31 trees come down in my yard,” said Giles, who was born and raised in Panama City, where he still lives. “I like taking part in community activities, especially ones that are family oriented. I have two boys, ages 1 and 3. With so much devastation, we needed to add a little bit of fun to giving back to the community.”
The Hurricane burger is available as a Category 1 featuring a 1/3-pound patty topped with American yellow and white cheese slices melted over smashed tater tots with two slices of hickory smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion, served with tots or fries on the side. Biting into the burger with smothered hash browns on a grilled buttered bun definitely is a delicious way to give back. The seasoning on the burger patty and the sides (crispy fries were my favorite) is a mix of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning and other spices. Make it a double burger with a Category 3 with tots or fries, or make it a meal with a Category 5 — a double burger with loaded fries and a drink.
7 Famous Burgers is located just a few doors down from Giles’ second restaurant, Local Steamer Seafood Market. Online ordering is available at 7FamousBurgers.com or sit at one of the six four-top tables inside, which has been painted and redone from floor to ceiling, or at a red picnic table outside.
Kathy and Gary Nidey stopped by 7 Famous Burgers for the first time during lunch Tuesday — ordering Good Ole Boys: the basic burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and yellow American cheese.
“It tastes like a good homemade burger,” said Kathy, who also was really enjoying the seasoned fries.
Gary added, “I thought it was delicious. This is the way they used to do it where the buns go on the grill and the burgers go on the grill.”
The Nideys stay at their beach condo in the winter, renting it out for the summer when they go to their other home in Indiana.
“We go out to eat, and if it’s good, we take menus back and leave them at the condo,” said Kathy, whose husband had picked up extra menus.
Giles said they’ve been serving about 70 burgers a day in the off-season, with prices starting under $10. All beef patties are a third-pound, and the lamb burgers are half-pounders.
“We get fresh angus beef patties delivered every week,” Giles said.
Patties get a sprinkle of the in-house seasoning (or the Caribbean seasoning for We Be Jammin’) before being grilled on the flat top, where they get a shake of Worcestershire mixed with more seasonings. Turano buns get slathered with butter before going on the flat-top grill.
Giles’ namesake is the popular Big Dave’s Bacon Cheese with two thick slices of hickory smoked bacon, Provolone and yellow American. The Excuse My French is topped with grilled onions and crispy onion and Provolone, while It’s So Gouda gets a thick slice of smoked Gouda and mushrooms.
Tuvyana’s favorite is The Swanson — with an over-medium egg, bacon, tater tots and white and yellow American cheeses — named after Ron Swanson, the fictional character on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” “known for loving breakfast food.”
The Mary HAD a Little Lamb burger is similar to a gyro with tzatziki and feta, plus Provolone, while We Be Jammin’ features a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce and pineapple.
All burgers may be topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles at no extra charge. Condiments — ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard — are available at the table or in to-go packets.
After customers buy seven burgers, they get to spin the wheel inside for a freebie — anything from a T-shirt to a milkshake, appetizer or drink.
“We hand make the milkshakes with whole milk in a blender,” Giles said. “We start with a premium vanilla ice cream and then throw ingredients in — such gourmet chocolate syrup or strawberry.”
Appetizers range from fried dill pickles and fried green tomatoes to fried cheese curds or the little spicier mac and jack bites.
While the seven staple burgers will remain, Giles has plans to add a few more favorites for diners wanting chicken or vegetarian options.
“It’ll be a little healthier items to please everybody, such as cucumber-tomato salad,” Giles said. “I grew up on that; it’s what my mom and dad made when we had burgers.”