Newport, RI – The Newport Burger Bender returns for its second edition this February 16 to 25, 2018, once again coinciding with the Newport Winter Festival. This simple burger contest, which recognizes the bevy of culinary creativity throughout our destination, challenges local restaurants to compete for the lauded “Newport Burger Bender Best Burger” title, burger bragging rights and the coveted Burger Bender trophy.

This year’s burger battle was open to an increased 30 entries with the contest reaching capacity in a matter of weeks. “It’s clear that there’s even more enthusiasm – and friendly competition – among the chefs and restaurateurs this go-around,” said Brittany Lauro, Discover Newport’s social media manager and the contest’s organizer, in a press release. “There are some truly inventive burgers being planned specifically for the Newport Burger Bender and if I have one piece of advice for the public it’s this: come hungry.”

To vote, diners can go to the Newport Burger Bender website to see the entries, plan their burger tasting adventure accordingly and then vote for their favorite burger. The burger with the most votes at the end of the contest will be crowned the winner. A “Critic’s Choice” will be named by Providence Journal Food Editor Gail Ciampa and a “Creative Champion” will be named by Jamie Coelho, Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly and author of The Dish, the magazine’s popular monthly newsletter.

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Mouth-watering entries include a dry-aged beef burger topped with butter poached lobster, roasted tomato and parmesan cheese from Forty 1 North, the “Confit Pork Belly Burger” from Bristol Oyster Bar featuring a 50% prime ground beef and 50% confit pork belly patty served with house cured bacon, Four Town Farm lettuce and pickled mustard slaw on a griddled sesame bun, and the “Fork & Knife Burger” from Speakeasy, a 10-oz. double burger with chourico, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno and sour cream – all sandwiched between a “bun” of  bacon and cheddar loaded potato skins.

The 2017 defending champion, Jo’s American Bistro, is looking to keep the crown with a barbecue spice-infused natural ground beef burger topped with roasted jalapeno peppers, barbecue glazed house pork belly and melted cheddar cheese topped with frizzled onion straws and drizzled with Carolina-style “Que” sauce served on a griddle-toasted Kaiser bulkie roll.

Diners can tag their burger photos on social media with the hashtag #NPTrightnow. Tagged photos will be automatically entered to win giveaways from Discover Newport. The public can vote throughout the entirety of the contest.

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