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Benjamins American Diner (Update)

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Gorxheimer Straße 9 68309 Mannheim

2 kilograms of sheer hamburger meat, topped with slices of cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato slices, raw white onions, pickles, and ketchup, sandwiched between two sesame seed buns measuring 30 cm (about 1 foot) in diameter.  If you’re looking for the ultimate test of man versus burger, an ordeal of pure gluttony and fortitude, then look no further than Benjamins American Diner in Mannheim.  Here, you can test the capacity of your stomach with their XXL burger – a true monster, indeed!

Benjamins American Diner is an American restaurant establishment located along a long highway, next to a US army base installation in Käfertal.  Classic American items, such as burgers, salads, sandwiches, BBQ pork loins, ribs, and steaks, highlight the menu.  Breakfast items, including pancakes, eggs, ham, and bacon, are also featured.  Moreover, there are a couple of Mexican items like Mexican salad and Mexican rice.  The menu is printed in both German and English and features many rich images and photographs of the food.  The actual booklet is impressively designed and is reminiscent of typical American restaurant menus.  Special summer dishes, including salads and desserts, are also available on a laminated menu.

Drinks include a nice selection of popular American soft drinks like A&W root beer, Dr. Pepper, and Mountain Dew, as well as different types of beer (including Corona).   Their homemade sweet tea is refreshing.  Served with a slice of lemon, the cool drink is thirst-quenching and satisfying on a hot, summer day.

Appetizers include spicy chicken wings, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, potato wedges, nachos, and cheesy fries.  Soups are also served during the colder months.

Onions rings are thick, crispy, and extremely addicting.  They are battered in beer and fried to a golden brown.  Onions are sweet and have the perfect ratio of batter to onion.  The flavor is simply outstanding – some of the best you’ll ever find.  Furthermore, the rings aren’t overly greasy.  This appetizer is certainly an excellent starter.  The only shortcoming is the small amount of onion rings given in an order – around 8 rings for 3,90 €.


The colossal XXL burger is an experience in itself.  An exercise in mastication and determination, only the finest eaters will be able to conquer such a colossal beast.  Served on a huge serving platter (conceivably a Thanksgiving turkey serving dish), the 2 kg burger is accompanied by crisp fries on each side.  Conquering this behemoth requires absolute skill and a strong stomach.  The hamburger patty itself amounts to a little over an inch in thickness; the bun approximately two inches.  Simply managing the burger is a huge obstacle in itself – you surely won’t be able to bite off a portion of the burger in a single bite as it is just utterly impossible.  It may be safe to say that this burger is indomitable by mere mortals – only the finest eaters could overcome such a monster.

The burger meat is juicy and seasoned well; the flavor enhanced by the melted cheese and condiments.  Due to the gigantic size of the patty, it does taste a bit like meatloaf.  The sesame seed bun is somewhat tough to cut and bite into, though it is a contrast of textures with the succulent meat.  Taking into account the massive amount of meat, the condiments are not individually noticeable.  An occasional tomato or pickle will add a flavor burst, but the burger dominates everything else.  Cheddar cheese is a welcome sight and provides a delightful gooey texture.


What’s a burger without fries?  The fries here are cooked well and finely salted. A side portion costs 2,50 €; seasoned fries 2,60 €.  The seasoned fries are nothing spectacular – seasoning salt is loosely sprinkled over regular fries.  As an alternative, chili cheese fries can be ordered off of the menu.

Like the previous visit, the service on this visit was top-notch.  Upon entrance into the diner and throughout the entire meal, the staff was friendly, attentive, and patient.  You will almost always find a warm smile from every staff member.  One waitress, in particular, was outstanding.  Her politeness and general sociable demeanor made the dining experience even better.  With her New York English accent, she politely addressed each diner with a ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ that is quite uncommon nowadays.  Although the dining room was packed, food came out in a reasonable amount of time.  Plates and empty glasses were also taken away promptly – very impressive considering the situation.

The burgers at Benjamins American diner are better than any you would find at any fast food joint here in Germany.  The ribs and chicken wings are also better than most.  Tack on the superior service, relaxed dining room atmosphere, and American sports on big screen TVs and Benjamins American Diner is quite possibly the best American restaurant in the entire region, if not in all of Germany.  The unique buffet specials also add a special flair to this establishment that will have diners coming back for more.



Hands down the best diner in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan region, Benjamins American Diner dishes up authentic, quintessential American style cuisine, including traditional American breakfast items, burgers, sandwiches, BBQ ribs, steaks, and chicken wings, in a classic, retro style diner.  Prices reasonable.  Excellent American style service.  All-You-Can-Eat: Mondays – Ribs, Wednesday – Wings, Sunday – Breakfast.  Reservations highly recommended.  Home of the XXL 2 kg burger – the largest of its kind in the city and perhaps in the region!  Major American credit cards accepted.

Hours: Monday – Friday: 9:00 AM – 11 PM 
        Saturday: 9:00 AMMidnight
        Sunday: 9:00 AM – 11 PM


Overall – 5 stars

  • Onion Rings – 4.5/5
  • XXL Burger – 5/5
  • French Fries – 4/5
  • Seasoned Fries – 3/5
  • Service – 5/5



Written by geschmack

July 16th, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Mannheim

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Tom’s Original Hot Dogs

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Heugasse (corner of Hauptstraße 154) 69117 Heidelberg

Quintessential American food – apple pie, meatloaf, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, Philly cheese steak, and hamburgers and fries.  Oh, and don’t forget the hot dogs!  Despite being surrounded by hundreds of different types of German sausages and delicious breads, you would be hard pressed to find this classic American fare in Germany.  The closest thing to an American hot dog might possibly be Bratwurst or Würstchen mit Brötchen, but of course you don’t get all of the nifty condiments as you would on a hot dog.

Tom’s Original Hot Dogs will satiate your cravings for this ultimate all-American snack.  Forget the fancy decorations and elegant seating arrangements.  The focus in this fast food restaurant is solely placed on the hot dog.  There is a tiny service counter – essentially a hot dog cart – where the worker places the bun onto a wrapper and the wiener inside the bun.  As the hot dogs are pre-boiled and held warm in water until service, the process is simple and quick.


7 containers, full of condiments, line a brick wall.  Sweet green relish, original relish, sweet yellow corn relish, and red pepper relish make up the relish varieties.  Jalapeño rings, as well as red pepper rings, can be added onto your hot dog.  Toasted onions are highly recommended – they are crunchy and sweet.  Naturally, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise bottles are available on the table.  Seating is limited to two bar stools.  A wooden book shelf functions as a counter table.  There is also an oil drum that can be used as a table.


The hot dog itself tastes great.  Though it is a bit small, it has a good casing and the inside of the dog has a nice texture.  It is nothing like the abomination found in ‘American style’ hot dogs sold at the local German supermarkets.  The buns are also different than the standard plain hot dog bun.  Cornmeal is dusted on top of the buns here at Tom’s, adding even more taste and flavor.  The bun is warmed up and has a nice, delicate texture that complements the juicy hot dog extremely well.

If you think 1,99 € is expensive for a hot dog, consider this: 6 ‘American style’ hot dogs, sold in a jar in brine, cost around 2,79 € at a German supermarket.  A package of 4 plain hot dog buns can be bought for 0,99 €.  Tack on the cost of condiments and you will already be around 1 euro per dog.  Now, taking into account the fact that these poor imitations you find at the supermarkets don’t even come close to the hot dogs at Tom’s Original Hot Dogs, 1,99 isn’t so bad after all.


Besides hot dogs, there are also bags of chips available for purchase.  Habanero chili chips, manufactured by the local Chili Food Company in Bad Dürkheim, boast being produced without flavor enhancers or other artificial additives.  The chips are also labeled as ‘extrem scharf’ (‘extremely spicy’) with a ‘Schärfe Grad: 8‘ (a heat level of 8).  Personally, the chips aren’t terribly spicy – they merely leave a tingling sensation afterwards.  In fact, they start to grow on you after eating just a few.  They taste like kettle chips with its distinctive crisp texture.  Considering that there aren’t any added ingredients – only potatoes, sunflower oil, a blend of spices, and habanero chilis – these chips are well worth a try.

Moreover, the list of drinks is quite unique here.  Unless you have connections to the U.S. army, in which case you can obtain them at the local commissary, finding popular American soft drinks like A&W root beer, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper is as difficult as locating a good Mexican restaurant here in Germany – it’s almost close to impossible.  In addition to varieties of these beverages, you can also find Big Red soda and NOS energy drinks.  The cost of these drinks is fairly reasonable – a can costs about 2 €.

Of course, there is still room for improvement.  The selection of potato chips could use some work.  Maybe importing in some Lay’s potato chips will solve this problem.  Also, the choice of condiments is somewhat lacking.  If they added some fresh lettuce and tomatoes, pickles, chopped onions, bacon, or even chili and cheese sauce, it would be much appreciated and would attract an even larger crowd.  Heck, visiting this hot dog joint had me yearning for corn dogs.  Selling fries could be a good idea.  Fries with toasted onions and jalapeños would make an excellent combination.  The list of possibilities just goes on and on.

But as is, Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is quite possibly the only place in town where you can find hot dogs, living up to their slogan ‘The Hottest Dogs in Town.’  Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is a great place to pop in for a quick, inexpensive hot dog or two and a cool, refreshing American soda.  Just look for the American themed store off of the Hauptstraße!



Situated just off of the Heidelberg Hauptstraße, Tom’s Original Hot Dogs is a very small fast food restaurant focusing exclusively on one traditional American favorite – hot dogs.  A good selection of typical hot dog condiments is provided.  Hard to find American soft drink beverages, including A & W Root Beer, Mountain Dew, and Dr. Pepper, imported from the United States, can also be found.  There are also habanero chips as well as insanely spicy hot sauces sold in bottles.  1 hot dog costs 1,99 €.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Hot Dog – 4/5
  • Hot Dog Bun – 5/5
  • Selection of Condiments – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5


Written by geschmack

July 8th, 2010 at 11:55 pm