If you want to stir up some food-induced controversy, simply ask a group of carnivores their local burger pick and sit back and watch as they beef it out.
To take part in the action, head to the second-annual Burger Brawl this Friday, May 15, at Magic City Casino, where 21 eateries will grill their buns off for the title of best burger.
The mastermind behind Burger Brawl is none other than Burger Beast. In case you're unfamiliar, the aptly named local blogger otherwise known as Sef Gonzalez has a thing for patties of all shapes, sizes, and sources. "We're going to have a burger with pulled pork from Pig Floyd's in Orlando," he says. "We really wanted to have someone outside of South Florida, and I'm really excited they're coming just for the event."
At last year's inaugural Burger Brawl, Latin House walked away with the steer trophy for its Mad Love With a Twist burger (made with special sirloin/brisket/chuck blend topped with provolone, Swiss, mozzarella, and Bellavitano Gold cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon, Irish-butter-grilled onions and mushrooms, and Hass avocado served with a pouring sauce of avocado lime and crema Mexicana). If that sounds like a mouthful, it's because it was.
Latin House is back to defend its championship against some fresh contenders. "You know the funny thing is we were originally considering not doing it for a second time, but restaurants kept asking for it," Burger Beast says. "They wanted to be a part of it. That made me change my mind."
All about local flavor, Burger Beast has put together quite a roster for Friday's brawl: 180 Degrees at the DRB, Barley, B.C Café, BTW, Buns & Buns, BurgerFi, Charm City Burger Company, Chefs on the Run, Da Burger Shack, Ends Meat, GastroPod, Jersey Dawg, Jr.'s Gourmet Burgers, Latin House, the Local Craft Food & Drink, Meat Eatery & Taproom, Ms. Cheezious, OTC, Pig Floyd's, Pincho Factory, and Rok:Brgr.
But it's not all buns and battles. In addition to burgers, there will also be sweets and a bevy of other snacks. Think treats from Liquid N2 Ice Cream, Night Owl Cookie Company, Velvet Creme Doughnuts, Bunnie Cakes, El Mago de las Fritas, PDQ, Little Louie's Italian Kitchen, and Relentless Roasters. "People laugh at the fact that we have a vegan company there [Bunnies Cakes], but they do some great stuff."
"One of the most requested questions I get is of people asking for where they can eat Night Owl Cookies, and since they're only available in Kendall, this is the perfect opportunity for them to have it." Not just that, but it'll also be an opportunity to sample some of Night Owl's new stuff in anticipation of its store opening in Westchester.
So what advice does the beast of burgers have for first-time Burger Brawl attendees? "I'd definitely tell people to pace themselves and buy their tickets in advance. I know it's a big Miami thing for people to wait till the last minute, but let's get with the program. Buying tickets at the door just holds up the process."
Besides, it's $35 versus $50 to buy presale tickets online rather than wait to purchase them at the event. And because Burger Beast predicts it will be sold out by tomorrow or Thursday, you should get to it so you're not burger-deprived come the weekend.
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"This year's lineup is better than last. We have some really hungry competitors and guys who wanna win, like newcomer 180 Degrees, or Pincho Factory and Latin House, who are both defending titles from last year and Burger Bash. That's what I like to see. Anything can happen," Burger Beast says.
"Most of all, though, it's a good opportunity for someone who wants to try a bunch of places and burgers. Here's your shot in one night."