La Forge won best burger for the 2nd year in a row.

After 10 days and 30 burgers, the 3rd Annual Burger Bender is now concluded and the winners for popular vote (best burger), most creative, and critic’s choice have been announced.

In an email to supporters and readers on Monday, Discover Newport announced the following;

10 Days of Tasting Revealed Newport’s Best Burger

For the second year in a row, La Forge Casino Restaurant has taken top honors by securing the popular vote in the Newport Burger Bender contest. The Bellevue Avenue restaurant’s “Winterburger” was comprised of an 8 oz. ground brisket blend patty topped with signature slow-braised short rib, baby arugula, cheddar and smoked bacon-cranberry jam on a toasted brioche bun.

Burger Bender Winner – Critic’s Choice

Jenna Pelletier, food writer at the Providence Journal, named The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar’s “Sweet N’ Spicy” burger her Critic’s Choice. “The toppings, pepper jack cheese, pineapple jalapeño marmalade, Cajun bacon, and fried onion strings added flavor and texture in a creative way without overwhelming the star of the show – a perfectly cooked Brandt Farms beef patty,” said Pelletier. “It was a welcome surprise from a restaurant known for its seafood, and the Newport Harbor view, even in the frigid weather, didn’t hurt either.” 

Burger Bender Winner – Most Creative

Jamie Coelho, Associate Editor at Rhode Island Monthly and author of The Dish, the magazine’s popular newsletter, has crowned Chomp’s “Towering Inferno” the Creative Champion. “Not only were the toppings nostalgic and over-the-top (Andy Capp Hot Fries and deep-fried jalapeno and cheddar cream cheese bomb), but the patties themselves were unmatched,” said Coelho. “The mortadella pork patty had such a rich flavor and quality texture, and the dollop of guacamole gave me just enough reassurance that it was just a tiny bit healthy.”

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here -

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at and 401-662-1653.