The Burger Showdown in Tampa Bay at Curtis Hixon Park was no joke. Stamina was required to successfully hit all the stands at the event and build an opinion about them. Tickets were priced affordable, $45 in advance and $55 at the door for unlimited burger sampling, admission, dessert samples, and two drink tickets. Forget about the fact that Green Iguana was passing out free margaritas at the event :p. The event benefited the beautiful Tampa Riverwalk.
Just look at the large list of sponsors for the event.
As expected, Datz brought a tough competitor to the showdown with their Mac N Cheese Burger. It was excellent and Datz was thinking outside the box as usual with their approach to the competition. Datz has some of the best burgers I have ever tried in my life and this one would rank fairly well among them. The goodie bags they passed out with the burgers were helpful as well because the event had limited space for stopping to eat during the event and we made some major t-shirt fouls during the event.
My friend Catherine with her Datz burger. Fun fact: She designed my Carlos Eats logo :p.
Magners was exciting our drink taste buds with their delicious ciders.
The Wellington was BGR: The Burger Joint‘s competitor for the Burger Showdown. BGR by far was the most generous with the burgers they gave to visitors at the event. Portions were half-sized burgers. It was appreciated, although it certainly made us unbuckle our belts some more :). The burger itself was risky, but very interesting. I loved the caramelized onions and black truffles in the burger as well as the mushrooms. However, the blue cheese wasn’t my favorite and stopped me from fully loving this burger. I would totally get this burger at BGR and substitute for some cheddar cheese. BGR won an award for The Wellington at the Burger Showdown.
Lee Roy Selmon’s was a major competitor at the event and although my experiences at their restaurant with food have been mixed, there is no mistake that they brought a slammin’ burger to the Burger Showdown.
Tell me with a straight face that this does not make you hungry
Lee Roy Selmon’s was frequently packed so we had to make a few trips before we were able to secure a burger.
Dewey’s Stacked Burger by Selmon’s was no joke and a delicious competitor at the Burger Showdown. It was honestly one of my favorites. A full portion might have been too much, but the slider picked up the perfect elements of the burger. After trying all the burgers at the event it stayed in my mind and the only burger that rivaled it well was the delicious burger Square 1 Burgers served.
Although Lee Roy Selmon’s had a great burger, it was the Square 1 Burgers that made me jump for joy. I truly believe that Square 1 Burgers has some of the best burgers in the bay and am happy that they have decided to expand into the Brandon area, where I am sure hungry diners will find the same result. Their burger entry was simple, yet delicious with amazing onions and cheese, as well as meat flavoring. Square 1 Burgers is my personal favorite at the Burger Showdown.
We tried the burger at Ashley Street Grille. It was a little too soggy. It may have been from sitting in the sun, I’m not sure. We could only take a few bites before deciding we couldn’t eat anymore. I can understand why they picked their burger though. It certainly wasn’t like any of the other participants. I may have to visit Ashley Street Grille how their regular burgers taste.
Danny’s All-American Diner had a satisfactory budget at their stand. They are located out near Brandon, which is actually where I live so I may to make a future visit there. Their burger was good, but not quite on the level of competitors, such as Square 1 and Datz. I am still pretty sure I could enjoy their burger if I dined at their restaurant there.
The Surf N’ Turf Burger presented by Aramark and the Tampa Convention Center Sail Pavilion was quite interesting. Featuring an english muffin with lobster salad, guacamole, remoulade, watercress and havarti cheese on an all-beef patty inside. It was one of the more unique entries and gave a nice shakeup to your traditional burgers found at the event.
Green Iguana was one of the most popular stands at the Burger Showdown. They actually have very tasty burgers, but their style is not gourmet and I honestly feel it is a little unfair to pit them against restaurants, such as BGR, Burger 21, Datz, and BGR. Maybe in the future the event should have a casual burger award and a gourmet burger award? Besides their burgers they had excellent margaritas that were given out and very much welcome during this outdoor evening event.
Burger 21 is one of my choice burger restaurants in Tampa Bay. They have a wide variety of choices on their menu to satisfy almost any taste bud, however their entry in the Burger Showdown may have been a little too safe to present competition with entrants, such as Datz and BGR. One of my favorite things about Burger 21 is their buns, their representative explained to me they can’t make the buns last outdoors so they switched instead to Hawaiian bread, which was still good but noticeably different. Their sweet potato fries and thai ketchup and milkshakes are also gold and if you haven’t been to Burger 21 I recommend you check it out for sure.
Stacked Bar & Grill looked very good, but was always packed with a mob of hungry visitors who quickly grabbed any plates hitting the table. Alas, we never had the chance to try Stacked at the Burger Showdown, which was truly a shame. The burger challenge seems very interesting and may make a great future blog though. Rumor has it that Stacked may have plans for an expansion soon as well.
Overall, the Burger Showdown was a great example that Tampa has some great food events when restaurants get together for a cause. Curtis Hixon has a beautiful view of the University of Tampa and the event was a great reason to get out of the house in a town where sometimes there just are not enough reasons to leave home. I personally cannot wait for next year’s Burger Showdown and look forward to seeing this excellent event again. Hats off to the event organizers and all the restaurant vendors who took time and energy to make it all possible.
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Category: Food Events
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