HUTCHINSON — Russ Silvey is used to turning people's stomachs.
The manufacturer of such midway rides as the Gravitron, Starship and Tornado, Silvey decided to offer a new groaner at this year's Kansas State Fair:
The Krispy Kreme Donut Burger.
Silvey, who bought and renovated the Carousel Cafe on the fairgrounds over the winter, saw the burger featured at the Florida State Fair "right next to the deep-fried butter" and decided to import it to Kansas.
The concept is simple: Sandwich a hamburger patty between two glazed (and grilled-on-one-side) Krispy Kreme doughnuts. A burger topped with lettuce, tomato and onion costs $6.50. One with the works — all that, plus cheese and bacon — is $8.
"So much of fair food seems to be about mixing sweet and salty or sweet and savory, so this just fits right in," Silvey said.
"It's something new, so people are talking about it. ... It's not bad. Some people really like it."
Between 60 and 100 dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be delivered to Silvey's concession stand each morning of the fair. Setting up for the big opening Friday morning, he said he was "kind of nervous" but ready to start.
"Obviously, the big hit is the Krispy Kreme burger. Everyone wants to taste it, or at least see it.... We expect to sell quite a few."
Doughnut burgers may be new to Kansas, but Silvey's not the first to offer the decadent concoction.
Southern cook and Food Network celebrity Paula Deen has one she calls "The Lady's Brunch Burger," which features a fried egg and bacon strips atop the beef patty. A minor-league ballpark outside St. Louis, Mo., made national news several years ago when its concession stand started selling doughnut bacon cheeseburgers served in Krispy Kreme paper hats.
Krispy Kreme officials steadfastly maintain that the company "does not endorse" such burgers but merely supplies one of the ingredients.
Much of the talk at the Kansas State Fair and elsewhere has centered on the burger's monstrous calorie count and fat content.
When Denny Stoecklein, the fair's general manager, mentioned the Krispy Kreme Donut Burger during Friday's opening ceremony, one woman in the crowd gasped, "Heart attack on a plate!"
To be fair, it's not on a plate. Silvey's staff serves the burger in a clear plastic shell, like a deli sandwich to go.
But yeah, it's hardly diet food. Some put the calorie count at 1,500 calories or more — an entire day's recommended amount for some adults. The doughnuts alone have 20 grams of sugar.
Even so, there's a whole category of foodies and adventurous eaters who love to try anything once — especially at the State Fair. And that category includes us.
Was it tasty or revolting? A little of both. It was primarily messy — there's no delicate way to eat hamburger buns coated with glaze — and tasted mostly like a hamburger, with a slight undertone of sweetness.
Silvey guesses that's because each of the doughnuts is grilled on one side.
Silvey's menu also features a Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich. "You have to have a low-fat option," he said.
Oh, is the chicken grilled? Broiled?
"No," he laughed. "Deep fried."
You can only go so far when the buns are glazed doughnuts.