King takes burger throne

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Thomas Herrera, of Austin, is the newest champion of the Tendermaid challenge after eating 11 cheeseburgers and sides in 23 minutes. — Matt Peterson/

His shirt read “Dethrone” and was fitting for the occasion; however, the cotton was fitting a bit tighter at the end of it.

Thomas Herrera of Austin dethroned former champion Amanda Dunning at the Tendermaid restaurant’s challenge Tuesday during the lunch hour. After the challenge, Herrera was the one feeling tender.

“Oh, it’s hard to walk right now,” Herrera said just minutes after finishing the would-be $48 meal that was instead on the house.

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Dunning for five years held the only record of 10 Tendermaid cheeseburgers, a bag of chips, a malt and eight glasses of water in a half hour. The challenge was invented 13 years ago. While Dunning completed the challenge in 28 minutes, Herrera finished it in 23 minutes on Tuesday. For good measure, he piled in an 11th burger, and that was only at the 12th minute. He milked the rest of the challenge for another 11 minutes. For no particular reason, Herrera decided to tackle the challenge at midday Tuesday, without telling many people. He sat quietly in the corner and shoveled.

Owner Sara White said she could hardly make the burgers fast enough for Herrera to put down.

“It was effortless for him,” she said.

While Herrera has completed several other food challenges, the Tendermaid’s challenge is special to him.

“The important one was this one,” Herrera said. “This was the one I wanted.”

Herrera — a mixed martial artist who diets and works out hard — said the secret is to eat a large meal several days before, give a few days rest, eat a light breakfast on the day of the challenge and drink plenty of water. For his efforts, Herrera also won a shirt, hat and his picture on the wall as the reigning champion.