The Thurmanator has arrived in Pataskala. The Thurman Cafe, the German Village restaurant known for its over-the-top hamburgers, inspired a to-go restaurant featuring much of the same food at 14950 E. Broad St. It's owned by Aaron Suclescy, the son of Mike Suclescy, one of the owners of the Thurman Cafe.
The Thurmanator has arrived in Pataskala.
The Thurman Cafe, the German Village restaurant known for its over-the-top hamburgers, inspired a to-go restaurant featuring much of the same food at 14950 E. Broad St.
It’s owned by Aaron Suclescy, the son of Mike Suclescy, one of the owners of the Thurman Cafe. The idea sprang from an assignment in an entrepreneurship class that Aaron took during his first quarter at Ohio State University.
“We had to make a presentation about a concept business, and I chose Thurman To Go,” he said. “I actually used the exact location that we’re in now as my example.”
At the time, the spot at 14950 E. Broad St., east of Taylor Road, was vacant.
“It used to be a Cappy Joe’s, and it was for rent,” he said.
When it came time to actually open a real Thurman To Go, the space was once again available. “ You could say I’ve been visualizing this in this spot for five years. Maybe that is why it’s been so successful.”
The 1,200-square-foot restaurant, which was more recently a Philly Station sandwich shop, has been packed pretty much since Thurman To Go opened on Oct. 7. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
“We’ve been way busier than I anticipated,” Suclescy said. It began “mostly as a whisper campaign through social media. I’ve lived in this area a long time, and I started telling people I was going to open a restaurant, and it just spread.”
Folks are lining up at the carryout-only enterprise for the hamburgers, hot sub sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and appetizers.
Thurman To Go is serving a menu similar to the Thurman Cafe in German Village, which also has a Thurman To Go location adjacent to it.
There is one big difference though: The new location offers a smaller, 5-ounce version of the typical three-quarter-pound burger, served with hand-cut fries and a side of cole slaw for $8.99.
Suclescy chose to open in a location close to Reynoldsburg because he grew up in the area and because Thurman To Go could fill a void. There aren’t a lot of independent restaurants nearby.
“It’s mostly pizza places, and there is the new Jimmy V’s, and Max & Erma’s,” but that is about it, he said.
It’s also meeting the needs of nearby folks who “say they love Thurman’s but only go once or twice a year because it’s busy and the parking is hard,” he said.
The Thurman Cafe “has a reputation of always having a three-hour wait, although that’s not really the case anymore. At peak times, maybe, but other than that, it’s not as wild and crazy as it used to be.”
That’s thanks in part to the first Thurman To Go, which opened in the spring next door to the Thurman Cafe, in the former Bakery Gingham. Its goal was to ease the pressure on the small and always-busy Thurman Cafe kitchen and reduce the wait time for dine-in and take-out customers.
Suclescy has taken the concept to the Far East Side, and once the restaurant is running well, he said, he might consider opening another.
Suclescy pays Thurman Cafe a franchise fee for the use of the name and the menu.
The Thurman overall is on the move. Chris Devol, the son of the German Village location’s co-owner Dianne Devol, is planning to open Son of Thurman, a version of the Thurman Cafe, in Delaware sometime in the first quarter of 2014.
So far, the Thurman To Go idea seems to be paying off. On Wednesday, it broke the record for highest sales at either location.
“In German Village, it was a night during the Arnold Classic,” Suclescy said. “Here it was just a normal Wednesday night, and we beat the sales record by $6.”
He’s hoping the good sales and buzz will translate into long-term success.
“We want people to incorporate us into their routines
rather than be a flash in the pan,” Suclescy said. “Our main goal is to become a staple of the area for the long haul.”Off the menu
• Louisiana-based Raising Cane’s opened its 13th central Ohio location last week, at 3820 S. Hamilton Rd., Groveport.
• The Old Horseshoe restaurant will open Friday at 65 S. Main St. in Johnstown.
• October is National Cookie Month. To mark the occasion, Max & Erma’s will donate $1 to the Ronald McDonald House for each box of a dozen cookies sold.
Denise Trowbridge, Dispatch restaurant columnist, can be reached at email@example.com.