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Behold the deep-fried Twinkie burger! 

Oct. 30, 2013 at 11:53 AM ET

The deep-fried Twinkie burger, from Philadelphia restaurant PYT.
PYT Philly
The deep-fried Twinkie burger, from Philadelphia restaurant PYT.

Tuesday, Philadelphia restaurant PYT launched its most ambitious effort yet: the deep-fried Twinkie burger. 

PYT is known for shakes and burgers that go beyond the beef-patty-lettuce-tomato-bun variety: The 4-year-old restaurant comes up with surprising twists on the classic, such as the spaghetti burger and the deep-fried lasagna bun burger. Their gimmicky burgers have won them a foodie fanbase, with more than 17,000 Facebook fans following their every move.

The Twinkie burger, currently drawing drool across the Internet, is a pork-belly patty covered with cheese and bacon, with the crispy snack cakes serving as buns. 

"We are really sorry about this," said the Facebook post announcing the release, "but someone had to do it." 

The staff insists they don’t feel pressure to constantly come up with the next big idea. “We’re lucky here because we have a lot of really creative talent,” said bar manager Kevin McGehrin. “We just sit around and think of ideas and some are great.”

And the line of visitors — who came from all over the East Coast and Canada — proves that a food gimmick can really bring in the crowds. 

So what is it about stuff like a deep-fried Twinkie burger that gets us to line up? “It’s fun!” said Dr. Marion Nestle, professor of food studies, nutrition, and public health at NYU.

“When you see a food like that, high in fat, sugar, and salt, you don’t think about calories or anything else — you think, ‘gee, this is fun!’” Dr. Nestle said. The ‘fun’ of eating makes it possible for crazes like the Cronut (a croissant/doughnut hybrid) to take hold. And then there's bragging rights on social media, which only amplifies the sensation. 

Besides, points out Dr. Nestle, "You’re probably not going to eat it every day. Indulge yourself once in a while.”

Still, the health concerns of flashy, fattening foods are real, said Andrea Moss, a holistic nutrition coach at Moss Wellness in New York. Moss admits that while a single over-the-top burger seems like a fair indulgence, especially when it’s part of an otherwise healthy diet, the after-effects of eating it can be harmful. 

“Later that day or the next day, you are going to have some serious sugar and salt cravings," she told TODAY.com. "It throws your whole system off.”

While Dr. Nestle’s not planning to head to Philadelphia to taste a deep-fried Twinkie burger, she won’t judge somebody who wants to give it a shot. “These things are not poison. Eating one will not kill you on the spot unless you’re unlucky. If you do in fact eat vegetables later on, it’ll balance out.” 

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