Love at First Bite
Max & Erma’s Has Been Serving Juicy Burgers in Carmel for Nearly 20 Years
Writer / Allison Yates
Photographer / Jamie Sangar
Max & Erma’s, located at 12195 North Meridian Street in Carmel, has proudly been serving the community since 2000.
The all-American chain restaurant, located in 10 states, started in 1972 in Columbus, Ohio. Although the restaurant is a chain, each location has a different theme, drawing inspiration and nostalgia from the community. Those who have visited the Carmel location know this well. There are high school banners on the walls, and guests can sit at a table underneath an upside-down racecar hanging from the ceiling.
“The kids are just fascinated by it,” says Beth Williams, General Manager.
Williams, who has nearly 10 years of experience with Max & Erma’s, became the manager of this location two and half years ago. She got her start in the company in Columbus, Managing the location in Carmel, she says, is different than in Columbus. There, you have a strong community backing. Nearly everyone not only recognizes the restaurant, but eats there frequently and has a lifetime of memories made there. Here, there’s more explaining to do.
“A lot of people in this area are like, ‘Max & Erma’s, what’s that?’” Williams says. But from her years of working in Columbus, Williams has a wealth of nostalgic stories she can share with newcomers.
Regardless if customers are regular Max & Erma’s patrons or first timers, once people get a taste of the delicious food and joyful atmosphere, they’re hooked.
Their extensive menu features classic appetizers like wings, nachos, pretzel sticks and spinach dip, flatbreads, soups, salads and sandwiches. Customer favorites include the Santa Fe salad, grilled chicken and crunchy tortilla strips on a bed of lettuce, and the TMC sandwich, tomato, mozzarella cheese and chicken breast with fresh basil and sun-dried tomato.
There’s dozens of tempting options on the menu, but Max & Erma’s might be best known for their award-winning, juicy hamburgers. These fresh, never frozen burgers even took home the 2015 Best Cheeseburger award at the National Hamburger Festival in Akron, Ohio. Williams admits they’re all delicious, but an all-time favorite is the Garbage Burger.
It has bacon, cheese, mushrooms, guacamole and marinara.
“There used to be a saying with it: everything but the kitchen sink,” Williams says.
Max & Erma’s gives more than just great food and a good experience in Carmel. Following the Max & Erma’s tradition, the restaurant tries to get out in the community and form partnerships with other businesses, nonprofits and school groups.
“That’s what we’re all about, being out in the community as much as we can,” Williams says.
Max & Erma’s has participated in things like the Taste of Carmel and business expos in Fishers, giving samples to share their food and mission.
The Max & Erma’s staff, which totals nearly 40 employees, love to raise funds for people who need it. Anyone from preschools to Carmel High School hold ‘dine and donate’ fundraisers there, where 20 percent of all profits are given back to their organization.
Besides those special fundraising nights, each September the restaurant fundraises for the Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville. Last year they raised $3,500 and this year their goal is $4,000.
Although Carmel has recently experienced a lot of construction making it a challenge to get there, the Max & Erma’s enthusiastic staff is well-versed in giving directions from any part of the city. They hope to see you there soon, eating everything but the kitchen sink.