It's about time Miami's biggest burger devotee had a say about who gets to show off their buns in the most coveted event in his field, Burger Bash.
The ninth-annual Amstel Light Burger Bash, presented by Schweid & Sons and hosted by Rachael Ray, is scheduled for Friday, February 20. It is one of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's most popular events. The evening extravaganza includes 25 of the nation's hottest patties and offers the chance to win the title of best burger. But this year, one South Florida restaurant will be added to the mix of participants thanks to Sef Gonzalez, AKA Burger Beast.
The aptly named local blogger is setting out on a intense mission (which began yesterday) to taste 20 burgers over the next couple of weeks leading up to the festival. The burger that he finds to pair best with Amstel Light will be given the coveted and, until now, nonexistent spot to be part of the annual burger spectacular. Though the selected restaurant won't get to compete at the bash, it will be able to cook alongside the Amstel Light chef at Burger Bash.
And that's not all. Fellow burger enthusiasts will have a chance to score a pair of tickets to the sold-out Burger Bash by eating a burger, drinking a beer, and sharing it with the world via Instagram.
Gonzalez has worked with SoBeWFF in the past on food truck events, as well as last year's Media Noches in Wynwood. He is stoked to be participating in his favorite event for the first time. "I'm a fan of Amstel Light," he says. "When I first went to Burger Bash, I was just a guy with a blog that was maybe 4 months old, and they've been good to me since the beginning, so we stayed in touch and came up with this idea to do something cool that would benefit not only a restaurant that may have been overlooked but also our readers."
Already hard at work, Burger Beast was on his way to Le Tub when New Times spoke with him, and he disclosed his burger-testing strategy. "I'm taking a regional approach -- basically hitting up Broward and Aventura today to test out three burgers and then spreading out the rest through the next two or three weeks." He'll chow down on six to seven patties a week to avoid a burger overload and better appreciate each burger individually (and also not get totally smashed). We know, tough life.
"There's a chance [the restaurants] might recognize me, but I'm going to try to my best hide behind the burger," he says.
Here are the eateries, in alphabetical order, that will be put to the Burger Beast test: American Social (Fort Lauderdale), B&B Joint (South Beach), Batch (Brickell), Burger Fi (Aventura), Keg South (West Kendall), Latin House (Kendall), Le Tub (Hollywood), Lefty's Tavern (Coral Springs), Mickey Byrne's Irish Pub (Hollywood), Mike's at Venetia (Miami), Novecento (midtown Miami), Pincho Factory (Coral Gables and Westchester), Pub Grill (Cutler Bay), Racks Downtown Eatery (Boca Raton), Rebel House (Boca Raton), Rhum Shak (Lake Worth), Rosie's (Wilton Manors), Shula's Burger (Kendall), Tarpon Bend (Fort Lauderdale), and Vegas Burger Bar (North Miami).
"I'm pretty excited cause I've never tried half of these before." Who knows, Burger Beast might just discover his next favorite burger of all time. "I actually haven't been to Le Tub in quite a while. I'm equally excited to be driving this far for a burger."
The #AmstelBurgerBeast restaurant winner will be revealed on his blog and social media channels Tuesday, February 17, at noon. That's just three days before the event.
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As for the consumer contest, two tickets (a $500 value) to the festival's signature event will be given to one lucky Instagrammer who posts the best and most creative photo of enjoying a burger and beer at one of the 20 participating restaurants. The winner will be announced at noon February 18, which will give you two days to fast in preparation for the 25 burgers at Burger Bash.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha