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Bull City Burger has a new eight-legged option for adventurous eaters

Tired of the food in the Brodhead Center as the semester winds down? Maybe a tarantula burger can spice up your palate. 

The popular Durham restaurant Bull City Burger and Brewery recently added a tarantula burger to its menu as part of Exotic Meat Month in April. This is the seventh year the eatery has celebrated unique cuisines—with offerings that include pythons, alligators and scorpions. 

“We’ve been able to find more unusual meats over the years,” said Seth Gross, owner of Bull City Burger. “The first year was relatively tame to where we are now.”

He explained that he got the idea for Exotic Meat Month when the restaurant first opened and some customers told him that eating beef was strange to them. Gross started exploring other cultures’ meat options and wanted to celebrate their diversity once a year. 

This led to the famous tarantula burger, now in its third year. The entrée began with a bug burger—including scorpions, larva, crickets and worms—after Gross learned that some people rely on bugs as a source of protein. 

“As we started searching for more unusual bugs, we came across the tarantula,” Gross said.  

He noted that tarantulas are commonly used in street food dishes in Cambodia during the spring. Bull City Burger’s version involves a beef burger with gruyère cheese, chili paste and a zebra tarantula that the restaurant orders already salted and prepared. 

But don’t think you can just walk in and chow down on a tarantula. Getting one of the burgers requires entering the Tarantula Challenge through a raffle. They’re in high demand. 

You can sign up at the restaurant now through April 29 and will be given a lottery ticket. Bull City will be drawing one ticket each day, while supplies last, and posting the winner on its website and Facebook and Twitter pages. If you win, you have two days to call the restaurant and arrange a time to come in for the burger.

If the winners can finish the burger, they’ll get a Tarantula Challenge t-shirt along with a photo to commemorate the dining experience. 

Gross said that the spider tastes very similar to a deep-fried shrimp tail, with its hard exoskeleton. 

“Everyone always finishes it, some a little slower than others,” he said. 

There are three common strategies for eating the burger. One is the slow route, in which you eat one leg at a time. Then, there’s the “band-aid approach” of just popping it in your month. Finally, some people just put the top bun on and eat it like a regular burger, which Gross thinks is  “cheating a little bit.” 

Not interested in eating a spider? There are plenty of other options at the restaurant for Exotic Meat Month, including camel, turtle, wild boar, ostrich, reindeer, goat and elk. Bull City is updating its social media platforms with different meat options that will be offered on each day. 

Gross explained that there are many adventurous eaters out there—including some Duke students—who want to try the meat options to check them off their bucket lists. Anyone who saves seven receipts from eating the exotic meats gets a free t-shirt. 

Despite being fun and a tad crazy, Bull City Burger is using the month to bring awareness to different types of cuisine.  

“Our restaurant has always been based on education and teaching people what we eat and how it affects us,” Gross said. “We’re trying to be an education conduit for our community.” 


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