After a year off due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Newport Burger Bender, Discover Newport’s “best burger” contest, returned to Newport and Bristol Counties from February 18th – 27th.

The competition in the 2022 edition of the Newport Burger Bender was stiff with a record-breaking 48 burgers (30 beef, 6 non-beef, and 12 plant-based) representing 36 restaurants.

Discover Newport on Monday night announced the winners, critic’s choice, and top vote-getters;

The Boat House’s Mediterranea Swordfish Burger won the non-beef category.

The Mooring’s Portuguese Burger won the most popular vote for the best beef burger.

Caleb & Broad’s Grilled Prime Rib Burger was named “Most Instagrammable”.

Jo’s American Bistro’s Pretzel Bomb Burger was named “Most Likely To Become a Menu Staple”.

Midtown Oyster Bar’s Sushi Burger was named “Most Likely To Move To L.A.”.

Sprout & Lentil’s V-Rex Burger was named “Most Likely To Convert A Carnivor”.

The Reef’s Chuck Norris was named “Best Burger With A Kick”.

Wally’s Wiener’s Bleu Dream was named “Best New Kid On The Block”.

Wharf Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar’s The Sweet Carolina Burger was named “Most Likely To Make You Say Y’All”.

On March 3, Discover Newport shared the following press release with What’sUpNewp;

2022 Newport Burger Bender Competition Champions Announced

The competition in this year’s Newport Burger Bender was stiff with a record-breaking 48 burgers representing 36 restaurants. But alas, the 10 days of tantalizing temptations have ended. The people have voted, and the Newport Burger Bender Champions are announced below.

The Mooring Seafood Kitchen and Bar, walks away with the most popular vote in the beef burger category. The winning burger, The Portuguese Burger, included a half pound Angus beef burger patty, chourico-sweet onion jam, Fontina cheese, fried egg, crispy cherry peppers, and Mozambique aioli, served on a bolo burger bun.

In the non-beef category, The Boat House Waterfront Dining entry, The Mediterranean Swordfish Burger received the most votes. This burger boasts fresh ground swordfish, Narragansett Creamery Sea Salty Feta, house pickled onions & cucumbers, frisée, Kalamata and red pepper aioli, served on a toasted brioche bun. 

“Our team is excited that it was so well received! My goal was to deliver all the flavor and textural components that make a burger satisfying while showcasing locally sourced seafood.” Commented Marissa Lo, Executive Chef at the Boat House Waterfront Dining in Tiverton.

The 2022 Newport Burger Bender both non-beef and beef champions will receive a cash prize, a complimentary Featured Listing for 12 months on, a year membership to RI Hospitality Association, the official Newport Burger Bender trophy, and of course bragging rights. 

Seven more burgers captured both hearts and palates alike as the top vote getters and are recognized for their outstanding performances. Local media shared their favorite burgers as well.

Editor’s Picks:

Ryan Belmore, Owner, Publisher, and Editor, What’s Up Newp & What’s Up Rhode Island: 

“What a treat and delicious surprise the Sushi Burger at Midtown Oyster Bar was. With its sesame-seared sushi rice cake bun, Midtown really provided a one-of-a-kind option for those looking for a non-beef burger! I hope it finds its place permanently on their menu.”

Wendy Logan, Food Columnist, Newport This Week: “As a meat-eater who picks cheeseburgers as my all-time favorite hangover cure, it comes as somewhat of a shock, even to me, that my number one choice was the V-Rex at Sprout and Lentil. The black bean-based burger was astounding, hearty, flavorful, stacked with the perfect balance of textures, acid, salt, and heat. It was not at all what I would expect from a vegan entry made without all the questionable, artificial ingredients found in that “Impossible” stuff (which I readily admit, tastes pretty good). But right down to the potato-based cheese (I don’t know how Carmen does it) the V-Rex has made me rethink both my go-to, morning-after remedy, and the entire category of vegan food.”

Betsy Walker, Lifestyle Contributor, Ardent Foodie, contributor to Newport Life Magazine:

“True to the look and feel of this intimate, always bustling whiskey bar, Wharf Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar’s entry, the Sweet Carolina Burger, is smoky and delicious. What makes it such a treat is the deliciousness hits you in layers. The generous bourbon-infused burger (the beef is local, organic, and grass-fed) could stand on its own. When you bite into the hefty Dagwood you get the flavors of the okra (nice texture), the BBQ sauce, the crunch of the chow-chow relish, the cheeses; and then—wait for it—the grilled andouille sausage subtly envelops it all. I loved the grilled potato roll. Its mild sweetness brought a tasty closure to the whole experience.”

Class of 2022 Superlatives:  

Best Burger with a kick: The Chuck Norris from The Reef

Most Likely to convert a Carnivore: V-Rex Burger from Sprout & Lentil

Most Instagramable: Grilled Prime Rib Burger from Caleb & Broad

Best New Kid on the Block: Bleu Dream from Wally’s Wieners

Most Likely to move to L.A.: Sushi Burger from Midtown Oyster Bar

Most Likely to become a menu staple: Pretzel Bomb Burger from Jo’s American Bistro

Most Likely to make you say “Y’all”: The Sweet Carolina Burger from Wharf Southern Kitchen

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