'Sinful' burger served in Chicago restaurant offending some Catholics

October 3, 2013

Flickr/York Minister
A unconsecrated Communion wafer surrounded by red wine reduction tops the Ghost Burger, inspired by a Sweden Band but raising the ire of some faithful in Chicago. The burger is on the menu at Kuma’s Corner, a north side eatery known for pushing the envelope.

A 10-ounce goat and beef burger served at Kuma’s Corner on Chicago’s North Side is being called sinful for more than its calorie count. The Ghost Burger is topped with red wine reduction and an Communion wafer that was inspired by a Sweden band and also could symbolize the body and blood of Christ.

The burger is the monthly offering at Kuma’s, a foodie destination with just a few tables. The eatery regularly names its hamburgers after heavy metal bands. The members of Ghost dress in religious robes and wear skeleton face makeup.

It's in poor taste, said Jeff Young of New Orleans, who runs the blog Catholic Foodie.

"It's not, for us, the Eucharist," Young said. "However this wafer is a symbol. There's a cross on it. It's like taking a flag and burning a flag."

Michael Caine, owner of Kuma’s identifies himself as Lutheran and said he was not at all offended when his sous chef suggested the burger idea.

“It wasn’t intended to be a religious statement, it wasn’t intended to be anything. We bought the wafers on Amazon, they’re not blessed by anyone,” Caine added, “Does everyone forget that God might have a sense of humor?”

Luke Tobias, Kuma's Corner director of operations, said the restaurant never wanted to offend anyone. He said reaction has been a "mixed bag," but more positive than negative.

"There are people who are offended by it, but we're delighted to see that generally people seem to have a sense of humor," Tobias said.

The restaurant, which often plays loud heavy metal music, is a fan of Ghost, Tobias said. Young said he realizes that and knows Kuma's Corner didn't intentionally want to make anyone mad.

"The Ghost" burger is selling well, Tobias said, because customers are curious about it.

"Hopefully people will have a good time with it — that's certainly what we're trying to do," Tobias said.

Kuma’s in the past has had burgers named after defamed former governor Rod Blagojevich and also topped a burger with foie gras when Chicago’s city council had tried to ban the delicacy because they said it was cruel to animals. The dish is made by fattening up ducks’ livers, often through force-feeding.

Caine’s staff said its keeping the Ghost burger on the menu, complaints or not, until the end of the month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Aurora Aguilar is WBEZ’s News Editor. Follow her @aurorabr13