Photo via Discover Newport

Newport County’s most savory burger competition, the Newport Burger Bender, returns to Newport and Bristol Counties Feb. 14 to 23, 2020. Occurring in tandem with the Newport Winter Festival, the Burger Bender promises to warm both the heart and palate. 

A record-breaking 39 burgers have tossed their buns in the ring for the coveted “best burger” crown.

While the tasty tenets of the Burger Bender that people have come to know and love for the past three years will remain the same, there are some changes this year, according to event organizer Discover Newport.

For the first time ever, restaurants have been permitted to submit two burgers if they so choose: one beef-based burger and one plant-based or non-beef burger (veggie/vegan, turkey, lamb, seafood, etc.). The reason for this addition, Discover Newport explains, is to further expand the availability of beef alternatives when it comes to getting your burger fix. As such, the popular vote-driven People’s Choice Award will be given to burgers in each of the two categories: beef and plant-based/non-beef.

Winning restaurants in each category will receive;                                                                

  • A $500 prize
  • Free registration in the 2020 Fall Newport Restaurant Week ($300 value)
  • A complimentary Featured Listing for 12 months on ($1200 value)
  • The coveted Newport Burger Bender trophy (plus bragging rights)

The following burger descriptions were provided by Discover Newport. We’ve made note on the plant’based/non-beef burger and seafood burger options.

2020 Burger Bender Participants

Amano Pizza + Gelato – Neapolitan Burger Ground beef / smoked mozzarella / fresh tomato / topped with organic arugula / wrapped in a calzone shell 

Brix Restaurant at Newport Vineyards – The Homer Burger 1/4 lb. Aquidneck Farms Smash Burger / house bacon / sharp cheddar / fried egg / on two glazed brioche donuts / served with smokey BBQ gravy truffle fries 

Buskers Irish Pub – “Paddy” Melt House ground burger mixed with Irish sausage meat / toasted marble rye / Paddy’s Irish Whiskey cheese spread / fried onion strings 

The Café at The Chanler at Cliff Walk – The Chanler Prime Grind Burger Three cuts of prime grade beef / Harpoon Brewery alehouse cheddar / North Country applewood smoked bacon / red onion marmalade / house made Challah bun 

Caleb & Broad – “The PheNa’an” Ground short rib / crispy pork belly / mushroom cheese sauce / toasted Na’an  (Seafood burger)

Caleb & Broad – Tuna Burger Ground Ahi / cucumber wasabi aioli / lettuce / pickled ginger tomato jam / served on a bolo roll 

Diego’s Barrio Cantina – The Serta A house ground local grass-fed beef patty / stuffed with cantina queso fundido cheese / shaved lettuce / jumbo onion rings / semi-sweet pickles / served on local potato roll 

Diego’s Barrio Cantina – Vegan Lentil Burger Lentil patty / vegan cheese / roasted red pepper / lemon miso dressing / herbed chai seeds / served on Boston Bibb lettuce / (*Gluten free/vegan) (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Diego’s Newport – Chili Colorado Burger Seared all beef burger patty / pork chili Colorado / spicy pickled red onion / Oaxaca cheese / lemon- dressed arugula / served on a sweet potato roll 

The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn – French Onion Burger French onion bacon-scallion potato roll / shallot aioli / crispy ham / Brie cheese / caramelized onions / beer-battered onion rings 

The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn – Black Bean Crunch Burger Black bean crunch toasted potato roll / crispy quinoa / pickled red onion / shredded romaine / guacamole / roasted Anaheim aioli  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Gas Lamp Grille – Gas Lamp Bacon Bourbon Burger 8 Oz. Angus beef / pepper jack cheese / caramelized onions / bacon bourbon jam / brioche bun 

The Grill at Forty 1 North – The Grill Steak House Burger Prime dry-aged beef / caramelized onions / brandy peppercorn sauce / Gruyere cheese 

The Grill at Forty 1 North – The Grill Vegan Burger House-made chickpea, quinoa, roasted vegetable patty / marinated grilled red onion / vegan aioli / served on a sea salt caraway roll  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

The Gulf Stream Bar and Grill – Barnyard Burger Grilled beef patty / cheddar cheese / fried egg / bacon / Carolina pulled pork / house BBQ sauce 

The Gulf Stream Bar and Grill – Black Eyed Pea and Portobello Burger Portobello mushrooms sautéed with veggies and spices mixed with black eyed peas / lettuce / tomato / house remoulade / served on a ciabatta roll  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Harrys Bar & Burger – Harry’s on a Bender Hereford beef / American cheese / waffle fry / tomato bacon jam / fried hen egg / special sauce / pickled red onion / arugula / served on a toasted Martin’s potato roll (2 sliders per order – $6.99 or Make it a threesome – $10.49) 

Jo’s American Bistro – Crispy Pancetta Burger House-made 8 oz. beef burger / crispy pancetta / drunken red wine onions / melted brie and provolone / lettuce / tomato / served on a bulky roll / (*Gluten-free option available) 

Jo’s American Bistro – Jo’s Beyond Bistro Burger Beyond Burger patty / sautéed mushrooms / caramelized onions / shredded lettuce / tomato / served on a bulky roll / (*Gluten-free option available)  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

La Forge Casino Restaurant – The Wilbur An homage to Zuckerman’s famous pig from “Charlotte’s Web” 1⁄2 Ib. special brisket-chuck-short rib blend / Applewood smoked thick-cut bacon / Crown Bourbon maple- braised pork belly / spicy Louisiana BBQ / apple cider-dijon spread / baby arugula / smoked gouda / aged white cheddar cheese / tomatoes / house made spicy pickles / served on a brioche roll 

La Forge Casino Restaurant – The Impossible Mac Two plant-based burgers / veggie cheese / shredded lettuce / tomatoes / onions / sweet pickles / “secret sauce” / served on a triple-stacked sesame seed bun  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Midtown Oyster Bar – Nacho Burger Taco spiced ground beef / Adobo pulled pork / pepper jack cheese / sour cream / jalapeno salsa / crisp tortilla chips / served on a Portuguese Bolo bun 

Midtown Oyster Bar – Black Bean Burger Sautéed spinach / roasted red pepper relish / brussels sprouts caesar / served on a tempura battered portabello mushroom bun  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Mission – The B.G.B Bacon cheeseburger / pepper jack cheese / dijon mustard / grilled onions / poblano peppers / jalapeños / dill pickles / served on sourdough 

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen & Bar – Country Fried Burger Double-battered Angus beef patty / chorizo gravy / sunny side egg / arugula / crispy shallots / tomato vinaigrette / served on ciabatta 

One Bellevue at Hotel Viking – The Bellevue Burger Bourbon washed filet of beef burger / bacon jam / pimiento cheese / crispy shallots / lettuce / New England piccalilli 

The Reef – Smoke Gouda Lardon Burger Short rib burger / bacon lardon bits / smokey gouda cheese / lettuce / tomatoes / signature homemade burger sauce 

Saltwater at the Newport Harbor Hotel – Ferris “Burger’s” Day Off 8 Oz. ground sirloin burger / stuffed with Manchego cheese / fire-grilled / topped with sizzling Canadian bacon / pepper jack cheese / fried egg / served inside toasted buttery sweet brioche bread / aioli finish / Boston Bibb lettuce / tomato / pickle chips / onion straws 

Scales & Shells – Salmon Sliders Grilled Norwegian salmon / mixed herb caper mayo / greens / served on a toasted brioche slider bun (2 sliders per order)  (Seafood burger)

Scales & Shells – Shrimp Scampi Burger Shrimp scampi burger / lemon garlic aioli / parmesan crisp / served on a toasted brioche burger bun  (Seafood burger)

Skiff Bar at the Newport Marriott – Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Burger 8 Oz. beef patty / stuffed with gorgonzola and prosciutto / thick slice of smoked gouda / spring mix / heirloom tomato / buffalo chicken mac and cheese croquette 

Skiff Bar at the Newport Marriott – Impossible Burger Roasted peppers / Crimini mushroom / chia / kale / whole grain rice / caramelized onion / vegan cheddar / sliced avocado / spring mix / heirloom tomato / served on a ciabatta roll  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Speakeasy Bar and Grill – Crab Louie Burger 10 Oz. house ground beef burger / Maine crab meat / cheddar cheese / guacamole 

Speakeasy Bar and Grill – Black Bean Burger Black bean burger / hummus / cucumber / feta cheese / avocado ranch  (Plant-based/non-beef burger)

Stoneacre Brasserie – The Bender Burger Grass-fed beef burger / smoked carrot dressing / cheddar cheese / crispy shallots 

Surf Club – The California Double Two seared ground chuck patties / American cheese / lettuce / tomato / onion / special sauce / served on a grilled roll 

Vanderbilt Grill – The Vanderbilt Brisket Burger 8 Oz. brisket blend / arugula / caramelized onion / gruyere cheese / bacon / herb aioli / served on a toasted brioche bun 

The Wharf Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar – Cajun Coffee Rubbed Mac N Cheese Burger Char-broiled Cajun coffee rubbed local grass-fed beef patty / Guinness mac n cheese / fried pickles / crispy pork belly / Juan’s Bourbon BBQ sauce / crispy onions / served on a local brioche roll 

Zelda’s – Zelda’s Poutine Burger Beef patty / topped with gravy / cheese curds / hand-cut fries garnished / fresh diced tomato / scallions / served on a toasted brioche bun 


Get out there and try a few or try them all and then vote!

Voting takes place throughout the entirety of the contest, February 14 – February 23. Voters are automatically entered into daily giveaways for the chance to win $25 to a participating restaurant.


Choose your favorite burger here, try one, try some, try them all (voting opens on February 14th). The burger with the most votes at the end of the 10 days will be crowned the winner


New this year! Vote on Instagram and Twitter. Tag @DscvrNewport + use the individual burger #’s you wish to cast a vote for. Find all of the burger #’s here

All the details on the 2020 Newport Burger Bender are here.