In the year since former Oakland Raider Marshawn Lynch opened Emeryville soul food restaurant Rob Ben’s, he’s taken advantage of the current era’s new routes of self-promotion, including runs at reality TV and the creation of viral web videos. It’s that last venture that inspired a new, limited-edition dish at his restaurant, the SF Chronicle reports: a gigantic burger that packs in bacon, hot wing flavors, and a slew of pickled vegetables.
The idea for the Frankenstein’s monster of a meal began when Lynch appeared in a virally-popular First We Feast video this October. As a guest on The Burger Show, the athlete turned restaurateur joined LA-based host/celebrity chef Alvin Cailan to make a ciabatta-bunned burger stuffed with pickled carrots, cauliflower, and jalapeños, and topped with bacon cooked in Crystal hot sauce and a dollop of Ranch dressing.
During the show, ther pair joked that the elaborate burger should go on Rob Ben’s menu, but after taping stopped, things turned serious. Eventually, Lynch and Cailan planned a pop-up at which Cailan could serve the dish, which they named the “Beastmode Burger” after Lynch’s NFL nickname.
This isn’t the only attention-grabbing effort Lynch has made to keep his restaurant, which serves a solid lineup of soul food and barbecue, in the spotlight. Lynch also participated in a taping of Bar Rescue this year, a reality show that purports to make over struggling nightlife venues that are at risk of closure. At the time of the taping, Lynch told the Chron that he placed his new venue on the show in hopes that host Jon Taffer would “come in and just rip everybody apart,” but it’s likely that the attention the episode might bring (it won’t air until some time next year) won’t hurt.
In the interim, there’s that burger. Cailan, who rose to fame with Los Angeles pop-up-turned-international-chain Eggslut, will only be serving it up two days, making for a culture of scarcity that is likely to bring long lines to Rob Ben’s when it opens at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 14. The next day, Cailan and Lynch will move the operation to the Tailgate C-Lot of Lynch’s old stomping grounds, the Oakland Coliseum, to serve the burger one last time.
Not only is Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars diners’ last chance to get the burger, it’s likely the last home game the Raiders will play in Oakland, as the team will move to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. It’s not the last football game for Oakland Arena, however, as Lynch — a polymath who also owns an apparel brand in addition to his food venture — also co-owns an indoor football team called the Oakland Panthers that will take over the Oakland Coliseum next year. “With the gentrification shit going on, what Oakland represented is disappearing,” Lynch tells the Chron. “But to have a soul food restaurant in a place that has so much soul, you don’t have many of them like this.”
Rob Ben’s will be serving the Beastmode Burger at 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 14 until they run out. On Sunday, December 15, the burger will be available starting at 10 a.m. at Tailgate C-Lot of the Oakland Coliseum.