Suzy Herman doesn’t have children of her own, but she spends a good deal of her time surrounded by teenagers — and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
As the owner of Prize Package, a longtime hole-in-the-wall burger joint in East Topeka, Herman manages about a dozen teens and young adults, who at any time can be seen swirling around her, filling orders as she greets customers at the front counter.
On a rainy Thursday morning this past week, the atmosphere inside Prize Package, 1420 S.E. 6th Ave., was bright; music blared from a speaker behind the counter, and two of Herman’s girls hustled to prepare for the day’s lunch rush.
“I never imagined my life would be like this,” Herman said. “They’re always introducing me to new stuff and have good ideas, and best of all are willing to work. They take care of me all day, sometimes even when I get home.”
Herman laughed, while Bri McFall and Lisa Howard grinned.
One idea Herman has been coordinating with her employees is a double cheeseburger eating contest, which when proposed on Facebook was eagerly received by dozens of potential contestants.
“The contest is centered around Double Cheeseburger Day on Sept. 15,” Herman said. “It’s also National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and I know there’s a golf tournament going on for Team Blake and several other things going on, so we thought we would just jump on the bandwagon and help those folks out.”
Contestants can begin registering on Aug. 28. The process includes signing a waiver of liability and a $10 registration fee, and after Sept. 7, three names will be chosen at random as competitors. After that, the rules are simple: Whoever eats the most double cheeseburgers wins.
“That seems like the most fair way to do it,” Herman said. “That way, the more people who register, the more money that goes to cancer research.”
The three contestants will compete for a $100 or $150 Visa gift card, Herman said. Details are yet to be ironed out.
Another change at Prize Package is that after 15 years of being closed on Saturdays, the restaurant has altered its hours to cater to the weekend crowd. The restaurant is now open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, which will line up with the day of the big cheeseburger eating event.
On the Saturday of the contest, double cheeseburgers will be on sale for $2 each, and the restaurant may stop serving the public at 1 or 2 p.m. to begin preparing.
“We’re trying to have a good time, we’re trying to raise money for childhood cancer awareness, and we’re trying to give back to the community that’s given so much to us,” Herman said. “If you’re trying to do nothing but good things, nothing but good things can come.”
Prize Package is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
For more information about the contest, call (785) 232-5764 or visit the Prize Package Facebook page.