Some burgers are served on a plate, in a box or wrapped in paper. The Dog Pounder, the signature burger at Lumpy's Diner in Antioch, is served on a large pizza pan.
The three-pound mutt isn't something to be messed with. It comes topped with mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, cheese and four slices of bacon. Customers who manage to tame all three pounds of the beast, which must include at least six of the available condiments, get their names engraved on a plaque for all to see.
The first man to devour the creature was Lumpy's owner Jeremy Lumpy Sturgill. It took him 53 minutes to eat the Dog Pounder when the diner opened two weeks ago.
It was a tough, Lumpy said. That is not a fun thing to eat. It's about the challenge and the competition. I wanted to make a burger that would get people talking, so it had to be big. It's not big enough to kill you, but it's enough to hurt you.
Since then, the Dog Pounder has been slain five times, in durations ranging from 55 to 82 minutes. Lumpy remained king of the doghouse until Brentwood's Mike Lopez decided to take a bite last weekend. At press time, he holds the fastest time at 43 minutes.
I ate the first half in 15 minutes, and then I felt a knot in my stomach, Lopez said. It was delicious, though. The food is great here.
For his efforts, Lopez received a shirt with his photo on it as proof that he conquered the Dog Pounder.
The allure of the Dog Pounder is just one of many things that Lumpy and his wife Melissa hope will attract people to their restaurant.
After growing up in the diner business, Lumpy, who got his nickname to avoid confusion after his dad hired a cook named Jeremy at their family diner Digger's in Concord, it seemed natural for him to open his own place. However, many people told him he was crazy.
Everyone told us that we were nuts for doing this, Lumpy said. Nine out of 10 people would say, Don't you see what the economy is doing right now? This is not the time.'
Even wife Melissa, also known at Li'l Mama, was skeptical.
I'll admit I had my doubts, but this would be our adventure, Melissa said. I knew he could handle the diner side, and I could help with the business side.
To own a business, you have to take turns. It's sink or swim. I work in Martinez, but I come in every day after work to support him.
So far, the Antioch, Brentwood and Oakley communities have been stopping by to show their support as well. Earlier in the week, people were lined up outside, waiting up to 30 minutes to get a taste of Lumpy's home cooking.
I want the food to be like mom used to make, Lumpy said. I don't care if food is pretty. It's about the taste. Forget the orange peel and the parsley. Our food is country style: big portions and lots of flavor.
Lumpy's menu features dozens of beef and chicken burgers and sandwiches as well as wraps. For the veggie lovers, Li'l Mama's Salads are sure to hit the spot. There is also a variety of fries to accompany meals such as ranch cheese fries or Cajun fries.
Lumpy and Melissa said they hope their diner will become a second home to residents of the surrounding cities. Whenever Lumpy gets a free moment, he makes his rounds through the maze of tables to greet customers.
We want this to be like Cheers where everyone knows your name, Lumpy said. It's like family. We're a mom-and-pop shop a young mom and pop.
This Saturday, Dec. 13, Lumpy's will hold its official grand opening with a car show and toy drive. Lumpy said he expects at least 50 automobiles to fill the parking lot adjacent to the diner. Toys collected that day will be donated to local children in need.
Lumpy's Diner is located at 5891 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. The diner's hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 925-778-5867.