Z-Burger, a D.C.-based burger chain, is offering free “nothing burgers” for customers at one of their locations this Tuesday.
The burger chain announced Monday that it will give a free “nothing burger,” which includes just a hamburger patty and a bun, at its Tenleytown location on Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., to customers that will use the code word “nothing burger”.
The phrase has become common in reference to the assertions from President Donald Trump’s defenders that his son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer was a “nothing burger.”
After it was first reported that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus called the story “a big nothing burger.” Days later, when it was revealed that Trump Jr. was told that the meeting was part of a Kremlin-sponsored effort to elect Trump, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin quipped that the new allegations amounted to “some condiment on this nothing burger.”
“For years, when someone ordered a plain burger, I have always yelled out the order as as ‘nothing burger’ to my cooks, so I think that I actually invented the term,” Z-Burger’s CEO, Peter Tabibian, said in a statement.
FREE #NothingBurger (plain burger)TuesJuly18 @ Tenley location from 11a-2p w/secret password”Nothing Burger”1/person good for beef/veg/turk
— Z-Burger (@zburger) July 17, 2017
The term “nothing burger” is generally used as shorthand for news that, while superficially controversial, isn’t substantively important or impactful. Although it’s gained currency recently, the phrase “nothing burger” has been around for more than half a century. According to CNN, it first appeared in print in 1953 when entertainment columnist Louella Parsons wrote that “if it hadn’t been for [producer] Sam Goldwyn, [actress] Farley Granger might very well be a nothingburger.”
It slowly picked up steam. In 1984, when President Reagan appointed a controversial figure to an advisory committee, the appointee in question described the issue as a “nothingburger.” That same year, it was used in an article about San Francisco attempting to attract more tourists than Los Angeles, and it surfaced again in 1997 in an Connecticut newspaper article about a budget deal.
Ironically, the actual fact that Z-Burger is giving away free “nothing burgers” is not, in and of itself, a nothing burger. Because hey, it’s a free burger, and there’s nothing insignificant about a free burger.