by Nick deCourville

Is there anything in life better than fried food and cheeseburgers? Probably. But for me, fried foodstuffs and cheese can mend any heartache or bandage any emotional wound. Dave Quarterman is a chef par excellence in that space.

Dave is the head chef at Dave’s Dinners, and his story is as unique as his food. He learned to cook for his family and began selling dinners from his home in October 2014. At his peak, more than 30 people a day would come to his house in the hopes of bringing home a plate of his cooking. After some time, Dave was soon able to move his business to a more permanent location, a little shop on Copley Road. It was here that I discovered his restaurant and the unique offerings that he provides.

So what exactly is it that makes Dave’s Dinners stand out from the rest? For me, it’s the stuffed burger. To some, a “stuffed burger” might mean two beef patties with melted cheese in the middle, similar to a Juicy Lucy popularized in Minneapolis. Dave does something a bit different. While his burger does have both pepperjack and cheddar cheese, the burger patty itself is seasoned with seafood spices, and filled with juicy and plump shrimp.

When I first experienced this burger, I did not know what it had been stuffed with, and lo and behold, what a treasure of a surprise. The shrimp added a fantastic element to the burger, and the seafood seasoning and Dave’s special BBQ sauce delivered a shock wave to my taste buds. This burger is a heavyweight in flavor. 

The fascination with seafood does not end with just seasoning some beef, as Dave also specializes in a deep fried lobster tail, which is one of his biggest sellers. 

“When I was thinking of going into the food business, I said OK, I ain’t going to make it on just selling burgers. You gotta have those heavy-hitting items, and one thing everyone was attracted to was seafood, and the thing about seafood is that it’s quick to prepare, and it’s true. I can get you a $35 meal in 15 minutes,” Dave says.

Dave also likes to work with turkey ribs, something that he noticed was an item uncommon in Akron restaurants. In addition to being something particular to his menu, turkey ribs allows those with restricted diets to enjoy the delicacy of ribs while avoiding pork.

After some time at his Copley location, Dave says he soon turned his sight on Chapel Hill Mall. While this at first seemed prosperous, the venture soon turned south.

Dave says, “A friend of mine told me about the mall, and she had big hopes for the mall. But with online shopping, people can sit and shop at home now.” 

While online shopping might have taken much of his foot traffic, there were some positives. “There were a lot of plusses, I had almost an unlimited seating area and parking. I also got to see my business in a bigger spectrum. Many customers came from different demographics. I got to see a lot of different nationalities and what they eat,” Dave says.

Dave has since left the mall, however. While he does not currently have a permanent residence for his business, he is available for private events and offers his services as an in-home chef.

Dave’s Dinners can provide catering or private dining for any occasion. With plates for guests starting at $10, Dave’s Dinners can cater a fantastic experience that fits any budget. 

Dave can be contacted through Facebook, through either the mainpage known as Dave’s Dinners, or through the page Dave’s Dinners Express. Dave is also available on Instagram @dinnersdaves.

Nick is a freelance writer and food fanatic. When not writing, he teaches English Composition, and plays in various Rock and/or Roll bands. You can contact him on Instagram @sewerfuneral.

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