What was supposed to be an average monthly special for Kuma's Corner, a heavy-metal-themed Chicago burger joint, has turned into much more than the restaurant bargained for because they chose to garnish with a communion wafer.
The Ghost burger, honoring the Swedish metal band of the same name, is a 10-ounce beef patty topped with braised goat shoulder, aged white cheddar, ghost chili aioli, and a red wine reduction. Nothing too controversial, except for the addition of an unconsecrated communion wafer - essentially a cracker with a decorative cross - which has sparked thousands of reactions, positive and negative, across Facebook.
Luke Tobias, director of operations at Kuma's Corner, said he is baffled by it all.
"We didn't expect this reaction. Apparently, today, someone's coming out to do a rosary prayer over our restaurant," Tobias said. "We've done plenty of burgers named after fairly controversial bands in the past to seemingly no visible effect. It's based on a band, just like every other burger on our menu."
Longtime customer Jamie Trecker agreed that the burger was no big deal.
"Over the years, Kuma's has done a lot of things with their food that has pushed the envelope both in terms of what people consider good taste and, also, actual taste," Trecker said. "Is there an aspect [of this one] that people might find offensive? Sure, if you don't have a sense of humor."
The Rev. Emily Mellott, rector of nearby Calvary Episcopal Church in Lombard, Ill., believes the burger crosses the line.
"The root of this burger is a mockery of one of the most important symbols of the Christian faith," Mellott said. "If the owner of the restaurant were a member of my congregation, I'd tell him to withdraw the burger immediately."
Available through the end of October, Kuma's plans to keep selling its special.
"We've sold a couple hundred so far and started it four days ago. We're not taking it off the menu," Tobias said. "We're in the business of selling hamburgers. We're not trying to upset anybody, but we also support what this band does and think they're good. It made sense to do something honoring them."
As for the actual burger?
"It's delicious!" Trecker said. "I'm taking my father here on Tuesday."