Kevin Farley has had enough hamburgers for a while. “My eyes aren’t bigger than my stomach—my eyes are, like, seven times bigger than my stomach,” says the actor and comedian, briefly sitting down to chat in the corporate offices of Tilted Kilt on Warner Road in Tempe. “I flew in yesterday,” he says, for his gig shooting promos for Tilted Kilt’s Big Arse Burger Bowl Challenge. Farley was asked to taste each of the six competing burgers, and he obliged. He didn’t have to finish them, but by the end of the session, he’d estimated that he had eaten the equivalent of three, maybe three and a half burgers. “We started with appetizers…Why did they give us appetizers?” After he finished, he says, he went back to the hotel and slept for two hours. Kevin, who also performed at Scottsdale’s Laugh Factory while he was in the Valley, is a younger brother of the late Chris Farley. He’s a successful stand-up performer in his own right and a prolific movie and TV actor as well, having racked up numerous credits on everything from Hawaii 5-0 to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to Curb Your Enthusiasm.
He even appeared opposite his younger brother John (also a veteran actor) in the David Lynch movie The Straight Story. But Kevin is, unmistakably, a ringer for his late brother Chris, and has some of the legendary Saturday Night Live clown’s sweetly Falstaffian manner, all of which makes him right for the job of promoting a new hamburger. Even so, says Farley, during the actual shoot at the Tilted Kilt’s Warner Road location, “I had a spit bucket.” Said promotion is Tilted Kilt’s second annual competition among burgers for a spot on the chain’s menu. As with last year’s Burger Bowl, the burger recipes were submitted by Tilted Kilt’s beverage vendors. “We asked them to suggest some burgers that paired well with some of the beverages,” says TK’s Director of Food and Beverages Chris Purcell. Some 60 submissions were winnowed down to 30, then to 12 to a final 6—not only on the basis of their yumminess but “by our ability to execute them consistently.” The “Holy Guacamole Burger”—paired with a Habañero Margarita—was among the finalists, as was the “Inside-Out Melt” of sourdough, melted cheese, Southern Comfort pickles and red onions, paired with a “Jacked Car” (“a trendy version of a whiskey sour,” explains Purcell).
Then there’s the “Fried Pickle Ranchburger,” submitted by Stella Artois, and the Fish Burger with pub-style chips right on the sandwich, to be partnered with a Dewar’s scotch and ginger beer. Rounding out the final six is the “Jalapeño Coleslaw Burger,” with a Canadian Tuxedo (Crown Royal, ginger beer, lime and—get ready—a touch of maple syrup) and Heineken’s “Tilted Muenster,” with muenster cheese, onion strings, applewood bacon and sriracha mayonnaise. These choices will be available for three months starting Aug. 4, and the one that receives the most votes earns a spot on Tilted Kilt’s menu. Did Farley have a favorite? “I liked the Coleslaw Jalapeño burger,” admits Farley, “because it’s spicy! But I have to say, that fish burger was really good, too.” Diners, he says, are unlikely to make a bad choice. “They have good food at Tilted Kilt,” proclaims Farley, adding: “Obviously, you want to take it one burger at a time.”