Suicide! Betrayal! Drug-related felonies! Hamburgers! The story of Ralphie Palumbo of Rochester, New Hampshire, and his sister, Marcia Johnson, has more twists and turns than a basket of curly fries. At stake: the herbed/spicy/sautéed onion-y “Theo Burger,” a local favorite served up by both Palumbo’s Take Out and Marcia’s Takeout.
Local paper Foster’s Daily Democrat reports that “Palumbo claims his recipe, featuring sautéed onions and certain herbs and spices, is the true Theo Burger. He said he told Johnson the partial recipe in 2003 after he became seriously ill, in order to preserve it in case he died.”
The nut of the conflict comes out in a letter written by Palumbo’s lawyer, Emmanuel Krasner:
“In Krasner’s letter to Johnson, he wrote, ‘It caused confusion to the customers who thought they could get a ‘Theo Burger’ from you, as well as from Mr. Palumbo. It also damaged the reputation of the Theo Burger, as your product was and is inferior to the true Theo Burger.'”
At any rate, the story’s an intriguing read, twinged with flecks of sadness, dark humor, and minor tragedy.