Good Food Marred By Poor Planning at Inaugural Burger, Beer and Balls Bash

We'd like to say Saturday's Inaugural Burger, Beer and Balls Bash at Miami Circle went off without a hitch, but we'd be lying. The food was delicious as promised, but the event itself marred by poor organization. There were no port-a-potties and not enough garbage cans, seats or water. There were fewer restaurant booths than had been promised and beer was hard to come by without waiting in a ridiculous line. Some people waited for 40 minutes only to be told the booth they were waiting on had run out of food.

"There was one tent with a line that seemed as if it stretched to Little Havana, that was a beer line. I didn't make that one. I had to go to work on Monday," said irate patron Bobby Smith. "There were nowhere near as many vendors as promised."

Some workers at the event acknowledged the shortcomings. Many blamed it on the larger-than-expected attendance, and the fact that it was organizers at Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival's first attempt at such an event.

Director Cindy Bettner told us they were expecting rain and had a rain date for Sunday, so many restaurants didn't show up. The ones that did, however, donated a portion of their proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club as had been promised.

"The Boys & Girls Club was very happy with our help financially and getting their name out," said Bettner. "Next year, we will have a lot more vendors and be a lot better prepared. It will be in the same location, but expanded along the riverwalk."

Some who attended were offered partial refunds, but that created more uproar from those who weren't compensated.

"Some people got some of their money back, but I didn't," said one such local resident Stephen Garabedian, who felt it his duty to stand at the gate and warn potential visitors. "They take your money, tell you to wait on a long line and when you get to the end of the line - there's no more food."

Bettner says anyone who was at the festival can contact her at 305-200-8892 for free passes to the Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival March 2013.

Despite some angry patrons, many attendees (especially the drunk ones) were understanding considering it was a first-time event.

"Next year, I'm sure they will be able to plan a little better," said attendee Ron Goldman. "They had the main ingredients right -- good food and tasty beer -- but it was all the little stuff that makes an event run smoothly they were lacking."

Those restaurants that did show up served a delicious array of burgers and meatballs. Our favorite was Tabu Bistro's meatballs, served in sample cup with a dash of parmesan cheese, and Hoops' burgers, which were made from thick two-inch beef patties with just a little bit of lettuce and tomato on top.

Hoops won the attendee vote for best burger and Vapiano's, which opens in Brickell next month, won the meatball vote.

Did you make it to the Bash? Leave a comment about your experience below.

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