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The competition in this year’s Newport Burger Bender was stiff with a record-breaking 40 burgers representing 29 restaurants. But alas, the 10 days of tantalizing temptations have come to an end.
The Grill at Forty 1° North walks away with the award for the most votes in this year’s newly introduced non-beef burger category. “The Grill Vegan Burger” was comprised of a house-made chickpea, quinoa and roasted vegetable patty topped with marinated grilled red onion and vegan aioli, all served on a sea salt-dusted caraway roll.
Defending champion LaForge Casino Restaurant reigns supreme once again in the beef burger category for “The Wilbur,” an homage to Zuckerman’s famous pig from the children’s novel, “Charlotte’s Web.” The ½ Ib. special brisket-chuck-short rib blend burger was topped with Applewood smoked thick-cut bacon, Crown Royal Bourbon maple-braised pork belly, spicy Louisiana BBQ, apple cider-dijon spread, baby arugula, smoked gouda, aged white cheddar cheese, tomatoes and house made spicy pickles all served on a brioche roll.
Ten more burgers captured both hearts and palates alike. Local/regional media set out on a quest for the best while other top vote-getters have been recognized for their outstanding performance.
Jamie Coelho, associate editor at Rhode Island Monthly and author of The Dish: “I loved all of the burgers I tried, from the buffalo chicken mac-and-cheese-croquette-topped burger at Newport Marriott’s Skiff Bar to Stoneacre’s simple burger that is a prime example of what a burger should be, but my very favorite burger of all was from Mission. I like that Mission put a twist on the traditional burger by adding some heat from jalapenos and pepper jack cheese, smokiness from roasted poblano peppers and bacon, and sweetness from dill pickles. Every bite was a combo of spicy, smoky, and sweet flavors with a mouthful of perfectly cooked, medium-rare, responsibly sourced beef patty. The sourdough bread, sliced in half, also held the whole thing together well so it didn’t become a goopy mess in my lap.”
Rachael Thatcher, food writer and digital producer at The Newport Daily News: “I have to go with the Homer Burger from Brix. While it was over the top and outrageous, that’s exactly what won me over. Every ingredient was well thought out and made in house, and the attention to detail when it came to each individual element made for the perfect end result. Not to mention it was simply fun to eat. When it comes to the Burger Bender, I feel like you have to go big or go home, and Chef Andy Texiera went big with this one.”
Wendy Logan, Newport This Week: “I’d have to say that Forty 1° North’s The Grill Vegan Burger was my favorite. It so beautifully represented the category, bursting with fresh bits of veggies but substantive via the red lentils, chickpeas and steel cut oats. It was seasoned to perfection and contrasted beautifully with the pickled salad side. Total texture-flavor bomb.”
Ryan Belmore, Publisher and Editor, What’s Up Newp & What’s Up Rhode Island and crew: “Surf Club’s California Burger wasn’t the biggest or boldest and it didn’t reinvent the wheel, however it was well-executed, nostalgic and simply put, wonderfully delicious! Among three of us from What’s Up Newp checking out burgers over the last 10 days, that was by far our favorite collectively.”
Class of 2020 Superlatives:
Best on Four Wheels: Neapolitan Burger, Amano Pizza + Gelato (food truck)
Most Instagramable: The Homer Burger, Brix Restaurant at Newport Vineyards
Best Burger with a View: French Onion Burger, The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn
Most Napkins Needed: Crispy Pancetta Burger, Jo’s American Bistro
Most Likely to Skip School: Ferris “Burger’s” Day Off, Saltwater at the Newport Harbor Hotel
Tallest Burger: Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Burger, Skiff Bar at the Newport Marriott
Cutest Couple: Salmon Sliders, Scales & Shells
For more on the Newport Burger Bender, click here.