Behind The Scenes

U.S. Open grub: Olympic Club’s “delicacy” traps Berman, Tirico and North

The burger dog is a fan favorite for those in attendance at the Olympic Club.

SAN FRANCISCO — The world’s best golfers have been slugging it out at Olympic Club in the 112th U.S. Open, which concludes Sunday. By then more than a few of the ESPN contingent that brought Rounds 1 and 2 to your best available screen will be trying to replicate one of Olympic’s tastiest treats.

“I remembered the burger dogs from 1998 (when the Open was last played at Olympic),” ESPN’s Mike Tirico said. “They are unique and phenomenal and I need to figure out how to make them on my grill. That’s my goal for when I get home.”

Aim high, we say!

But even the multi-talented Tirico may not be able to ace the 60-year-old staple invented by food stand owner Bill Parrish. Unlike the course it is eaten on, the burger dog is simple in design; yet much like Olympic’s pristine grounds, the culinary delight is near-impossible for the lay man to master. Many have tried but none have been able to duplicate the taste of the burger dog. One of those “secret family recipe” things.

Legend has it that Parrish was selling hot dogs and hamburgers near Olympic Club and decided to buy only one kind of bun. The invention caught on and eventually the club invited Parish to move inside. He died in 1999, but his family continues the tradition.

Analyst Andy North, a two-time U.S. Open champion, was well aware of the oblong indulgence and he introduced anchors Chris Berman and Tirico to burger dogs early that week in ’98 in a tent between the 9th and 10th holes.

“We were out running around and I took them there,” North said. “They said, ‘Jeez, these are pretty good.’

“But then they shut that down the rest of the week so we had to scout around,” he said. “We found they were serving the burger dogs in the members’ tent, so we ended up weaseling our way in there and we pretty much ate there all week long.”

So memorable were the burger dogs that during last year’s U.S. Open telecast from Bethesda, Md., Tirico told the audience he knew where he’d be having lunch at the same time the next year. That’s planning ahead!

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