burger brawl 2013

Burger Brawl has been going on for the past two years and it killed me to realize that it was on the same day as the Broad Street Run in both 2011 and 2012. My decision to not run this year has allowed me to make it out to the third annual Burger Brawl!

If you’re not aware, Burger Brawl is an annual charity competition where several chefs in the city compete for the Judges’ and People’s Choice awards. It’s held at the Fleisher Art Memorial and proceeds go to Philly area public schools. In 2011, Jen Carroll of 10 Arts and Michael McNally of London Grill took home the gold. Last year, David Wiederholt of The Capital Grille and Bobby Flay of Bobby’s Burger Palace won.

It was a beautiful day for this year’s burger brawl. The sun was out and the weather was perfect. Tables and grills lined the perimeter of the Fleisher Art Memorial’s parking lot and the smell of grilled beef filled the air.

There were a lot of signature restaurant burgers, such as The Industry’s Industry Burger, London Grill’s London Burger, and Alla Spina’s Burgamo. In addition, some restaurants served other creations. South Philly Tap Room served the Ham-Hamburger, a burger topped with a ham salad, and Chef George Sabatino gave us a taste of what he’s serving over at Morgan’s Pier, sous-vide burgers finished on the grill topped with homemade American cheese (which will actually be finished in the deep fryer at Morgan’s Pier).

The Judges’ Choice went to Fat Jack’s BBQ, who made their Ultimate Memphis Mauler Burger which was made up of angus chuck brisket & ribeye, topped with homemade BBQ sauce, cheddar jack cheese, brisket, pulled pork, sauteed onions, slaw, and a dill pickle.

The People’s Choice went to Lucky’s Last Chance, who served up their PB & Bacon Burger. That, as simply stated by the name, was made up of peanut butter, bacon, and homemade jelly.

Burger Brawl was a lot of fun. Aside from the fact that I ate myself into an almost painful burger coma, this event was the perfect celebration of one of my favorite foods. So many delicious burgers were made and there were also a lot of familiar faces hanging out, whether to cook or eat. Can’t wait until next year!

For a full list of the brawl’s burgers, check out Michael Klein’s roundup on Philly.com.

Here are a few other shots from the event:






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basically burgers – basically brunch burger

Not too long ago work brought me out to the Doylestown area. I’m rarely in Doylestown and know nothing about where to eat when I’m up there. A quick search on my phone showed that there was a burger joint in town.

Basically Burgers is located right on Main Street and their menu offers several different combinations under their “Basically House Burgers” section. You can also make your own custom burger, order a hot dog, or other grill items. The burger that drew my attention was the Basically Brunch Burger.

The Basically Brunch Burger is made up of an Illg’s Meats grass fed beef patty which is topped with American cheese, cheddar, bacon, a fried egg, and a hash brown. It’s served between two halves of a fresh baked challah bun from Warrington Pastry Shop.

With all the toppings on this burger, it was pretty big. Surprisingly it wasn’t as messy of a meal as I thought it was going to be. It was cooked medium-rare and was very juicy. However, I felt that the meat could have used a little more seasoning. The combination of cheddar and American was tasty. They melted well to assure each bite had cheesy goodness. The hash brown also added an awesome, crunchy texture to each bite. I would have preferred the strip of bacon to be a bit crispier so it could have broken up with my bites instead of fighting through it.

Unfortunately, the meat and bacon were the downsides for me. However, it could be different next time, as it’s an execution issue, not product or quality. I definitely want to come back to give em another shot.

Basically Burgers
33 N Main St.
Doylestown, PA 18901

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johnny brenda’s – cheeseburger

I have to admit. I have never eaten at Johnny Brenda’s. I’ve been here several times, whether it’s to see a show upstairs, grab a drink downstairs, or enjoy a brew while sitting along Girard Ave. but not one of my visits included food. There is no reason except for “I don’t know.” This was not due to a lack of interest, though.

Lots of people have told me good things about the food here, more particularly, their burger. Another friend, who’s burger opinions I take seriously, told me that the burger here was one of her favorites. Not too long ago, the stars aligned and I happened to be hungry when I was enjoying a beer at the bar.

The burger at JB’s is made up of beef (the source could not be found by the staff at the time) which sits on top of lettuce and pickles. It’s then topped with melted cheddar and chopped caramelized onions. I also got a taste of a secret sauce of some sort. The burger is sandwiched between a regular bun. I ordered the burger medium-rare and it came out perfectly medium-rare. There was no lack of juiciness, as I savored each bite. The flavors all came together and made for one tasty burger. The accompanying well-seasoned, tasty hand-cut fries complimented an already great burger.

Only not so great parts? The bun fell apart slightly during consumption (but I can get over that). The portion of fries seemed a bit small. I actually was wanting more once the burger was done. Not that I’m truly complaining…having a large weekly portion of fried potatoes isn’t exactly the greatest habit…

I’m glad I finally tried it. I’m even more glad that I know how good of a burger it is now.

Johnny Brenda’s
1201 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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clinton station diner – cheeseburger

Clinton, New Jersey is not only home to the first bridge I’ve ever inspected in my career, but home to the Clinton Station Diner, a diner seen off of I-78 that is known for their 50 lb. burger, the Mt. Olympus.

After a meeting in the Lehigh Valley last week, I was headed back into the office where I remembered that the diner was on my way home. Having used to work in the area and had gone to college off of I-78 in Pennsylvania, I was a little bit embarrassed that I’ve never been to this diner. With that in mind, I stopped in for lunch.

Like any other diner, their menu consisted of several pages of items. Clinton Station, however, had a whole page of just burgers! They had a list of regular burgers, specialty burgers, and their “Burgers of the Gods,” which consists of their larger ones (1 lb, 2 lb, 3 lb, etc.). The even have one called the 8th Wonder which weighs in at 105 lbs. total! That’s just unnecessary. Considering I wasn’t the most hungry and I still had a lot of work to do, I went for a cheeseburger deluxe. Deluxe meaning I added lettuce, tomato, cole slaw, and house-cut fries on the side for an additional $2.

The cheeseburger was made up of an 8 oz. beef patty, two slices of American cheese (one below and one above the meat, lettuce, and tomato. It was sandwiched between a large in house baked bun. I requested it medium-rare and it came out about medium. However, it was dripping with juices and had a delicious char taste from the grill it was cooked on. With all the toppings and size of the bun, every bite was pretty tough as the burger was quite large. It was surprisingly not messy to eat and the house-made bun held up well. The burger to bun ratio was perfect, too.

The house-cut fries could have been really good but they lacked seasoning. They were on the thick side, like steak fries and had a nice crispy exterior. Unfortunately, salt never touched these at all after they left the fryer.

My closing thoughts is that this burger definitely exceeded my expectations for a diner burger. It tasted good and didn’t break the bank. There was also a whole lot of food on the plate, as I didn’t finish my fries or slaw. Unfortunately, the fries were lacking seasoning and I wasn’t even tempted to finish them. I can’t imagine the larger burgers being more than just a novel idea, but if there were a lot of people who wanted to try to do it, maybe I’ll be down?

Clinton Station Diner
2 Bank St.
Clinton, NJ 08809

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burger bros. – cheeseburger

A few weekends ago, I ended up in Towson, Maryland with my family for my brother’s track meet. Needing pre-meet lunch, we found this place nearby that had burgers! Burger Bros. is a small burger joint not far from the craziness that is the Towson Town Center. Their menu is pretty simple, offering burgers made from either beef, turkey, or portabella mushrooms, chicken sandwiches, Vienna hot dogs, and a few other things.

I ordered a cheeseburger. Their cheeseburger is made up of a 6 oz. patty of Angus beef, topped with your choice of cheese (I went with American). Similar to a Five Guys, they have a huge list of toppings you can choose from. I simply added lettuce, tomato, and a little bit of diced onion. They grill their burgers over a charcoal grill and you can taste that great chargrilled flavor on the meat. They don’t ask you how you want your burger cooked, but it was cooked well but not dry at all. The fresh bun was toasted and held together to the meat and other ingredients. We also ordered a bucket of fries to share. These were housecut and absolutely delicious. Definitely bookmarking Burger Bros. for the next time I’m in the Towson area.


Burger Bros.
14 Allegheny Ave.
Towson, MD 21204

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