Restaurants duel for your favor in beefy battle. It might get bloody. And juicy.
Michael Buchinski’s hamburger, Peanut Butter Jelly Time, won last year’s audience favorite at the Riverwalk Burger Battle for its childlike allure: peanut butter, jam and candied bacon on a sesame-seed bun.
Buchinski is the man behind the menu at Brgr Stop, an18-month-old restaurant in Coconut Creek, which specializes in throwback comfort food such as deep-fried peanut butter balls, Lucky Charms milkshakes and Cap’n Crunch-dusted chicken fingers.
When the Fort Lauderdale burger showdown returns today toHuizenga Park, Buchinski will vie for top beef again with a different, brand-new burger. It’s called La Loca, a deep-fried patty topped with crushed Peppadew aioli and smoky ghostpepper jack cheese and rubbed with a guajillo glaze. The secret ingredient? Crushed Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos.
“This burger came to me inmy sleep,” Buchinski says. “It’s crazy. It’s out there, just like everything else in the restaurant.”
At the eighth annual Riverwalk Burger Battle, which coincides with National BurgerMonth, Brgr Stop’s La Loca will join entries fromAmerican Social, Big City Tavern, Burger Craze, Hard Rock Café and Tucker Duke’s Lunchbox. Brgr Stop will also be defending its title against competition newcomers Pincho Factory, Metro Diner, Rumors Bar andGrill, Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Margaritaville, Bokampers, Red Rock Oasis andMarina 84 Sports Bar and Grill.
Fewer restaurants are competing this year— 14 instead of 16— Burger Battle organizer Cristina Hudson says.
“Itwas burger overload [last year],” Hudson says. “Say you took one bite of each burger, times 16. That would be like eating three full-size burgers, and that’s a lot. Sowe’re doing it smaller, leaner and better.”
Each burger will be assayed by visitors and a panel of judges, including local chefs Jen Knox, Gina Sansonia, Judith Able, BretHauser, Camilo Cuartas and Peter Farrand. Contenders keep their concoctions under wraps until the main event, when they’ll unveil the creation that attempts to achieve the perfect combination of flavors. The big prize: a golden burger trophy.
Burger eaters will also have access to a french fry bar, three JackDaniel’s drink tickets and music fromthe Joe Friday Band.
“When a burger joint wins, and you see that trophy, it gives these restaurants a nice nod, an acknowledgement of success,” Hudson says. “And for someone who sees the trophy while dining, they’ll think, ‘Oh, wow, I’m in a good place.’ ”
The Riverwalk Burger Battle VIII will take place 4-7 p.m. today atHuizenga Park, 32 E. LasOlas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $45, $125 for VIP, which includes 3:30 p.m. early access. Call 954-468-1541, ext. 205 or go to GoRiverwalk.com.
The burger showdown returns today to Huizenga Park in Fort Lauderdale.