‘Call your doctor before you eat one:’ The most outrageous burger in golf

Welcome to Clubhouse Eats, where we celebrate the game’s most delectable food and drink. Hope you brought your appetites.


If you are of the opinion that the burger dog, beloved turn-stand staple at the Olympic Club, in San Francisco, is the golf world’s finest take on ground beef on a bun, Carlotta Brown would like to have a word.

Make that a paragraph.

“I’ve heard a lot of talk about that burger dog and I’m sure that it’s delicious,” Brown says. “But those people over at the Olympic Club should come over here and try what I have going, because it’s something special. It’s not like anything else. And if we were going to have a competition with the burger dog, I’m pretty sure that I would win.”

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When Brown says “here,” she means Lake Chabot Golf Course, a bootstrapping municipal track in Oakland, Calif., just east of San Francisco. And when she says “something special,” she means the Carlotta Burger, a creation as outsize as her personality.

The signature dish at the Carlotta Club Cafe, a humble bar and grill at a busy nexus of the course, between the 11th green and 12th tee, the Carlotta Burger starts with a juicy patty, at which point Brown really starts to beef things up.

On top of the burger goes a grilled hot link, followed by several strips of bacon, two types of cheeses (pepper jack and cheddar), an avalanche of “secret” barbecue sauces, lettuce, tomatoes, onions . . .

You get the picture. The culinary version of Al Czervik’s golf bag, it’s got practically everything.

The origins of the Carlotta Burger date to 2008, not long after Brown moved from her native Wisconsin to the Bay Area and landed a job at Lake Chabot.

At the time, the muni’s snack shack served the usual dog-and-burger fare.

Brown thought to herself: “We’ve got to do something to spice up the food.”

Not a chef by training, she took inspiration from her grandmother, whose method in the kitchen, Brown says, was to “add, add, add.”

The rest is high-caloric history.

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In recent years, the Carlotta Burger has made headlines in the local papers, becoming nearly as famous as its namesake.

“Everyone at Lake Chabot knows Carlotta,” says course ambassador Bill Eadus.

Everyone hears her, too, a vivacious and voluble figure, treating golfers to pleasantries as they go by, even those who aren’t stopping for a nibble, while taking pains to make plain her love for the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers. In diehard Raiders and 49ers country, only someone as popular as Brown could get away with such heresy.

At $16.50, the Carlotta Burger qualifies as an indulgence. It’s also something of a commitment, not the sort of item that you scarf down between swings. It’s something to be savored. Brown recommends that you pair it with a lager, or maybe a margarita, and if it proves too much to handle in one sitting, don’t be afraid to cut it in half and save the rest for later.

Lastly, she suggests: “Call your doctor before you eat one.”

Defibrillator sold separately.

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Josh Sens

Golf.com Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.