If we learned anything from last year’s sold-out Atlantic City Weekly’s Burger Bash, it’s that South Jerseyans love a good burger. And while that event was a smashing success, this year’s looks like it will be bigger and better in every way.
Let’s start with the numbers — last year there were 14 competitors. Not a bad showing, but just to make the competition that much tougher, this year there will be a grand total of 22 restaurants serving up slider-sized versions of their best burgers. Everyone from casinos to local bars will go head to head-to-see who’s beef is the chief.
The event is set to be held at The Deck at Golden Nugget Atlantic City and will feature live music from Seven Stone along with drink specials and some seriously gorgeous views of the marina. Burger Bash is presented by A.C. Weekly and sponsored by Golden Nugget and 103.7 WMGM FM.
While it all sounds great, the truth is a successful Burger Bash can only be as good as its burgers are. Luckily we only let in the top dogs in town. Want the details on exactly what they will serve? Here you go —
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Vic & Anthony’s: Bacon Beer and Onion Burger — Vic & Anthony’s may be best known for its incredible steaks, but once you try its burger you will know why it earned its slot here at Burger Bash. Its burger comes topped with bacon, onions and dijon mustard all on a soft brioche roll.
Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House: The Dough Boy — A legend among A.C. burger joints, Vagabond will bring one of the most unusual burger choices to the party this year with “The Doughboy” burger featuring pork roll, American cheese, caramelized onions and spicy ranch dressing all encased in pizza dough and deep fried. Vagabond co-owner Elvis Cadavid seems confident, saying “I saw Paul from Gregory’s Bar (last year’s Burger Bash winner) last night and told him he better bring his ‘A’ game to Burger Bash this year because I have a winner!” Watch out folks.
Ruby’s Dinette: The Quick Bites Deli Burger — Ruby’s wowed the crowd last year with a burger that featured a parmesan-encrusted exterior, and this year it returns with something new — a burger topped with smoked pastrami, sauerkraut and dijon mustard, wisely piled on two slices of that irresistible grilled parmesan sourdough bread.
Hard Rock Cafe: Guinness Bacon Cheeseburger — Hard Rock Cafe makes its debut at Burger Bash this year, and from what we have heard, this burger is no joke. It’s a beef patty topped with Jameson bacon jam, Guinness cheese sauce and lettuce and tomato — mouths are already beginning to water.
Michael Patrick’s/The Deck: The Virginian Gentleman — The Deck will have home-field advantage at this event, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t bring its A game when it comes to the burger. Dubbed “The Virginia Gentleman,” this entry comes topped with Virginia ham, sharp cheddar and onion mustard relish, all piled on a soft brioche bun. A true contender.
Wingcraft: The Classic Single — Wingcraft’s burgers have become legendary despite only being in business for a few years. The classic single keeps things simple with a patty and some of Wingcraft's special sauce — it’s hard to go wrong here.
Margate Dairy Bar and Burger: The MDB Burger — A local legend around the Margate region, this is the first year in Burger Bash for the Margate Dairy Bar and Burger. It may be a rookie at the event, but it is definitely not a newbie in the burger world, and its MDB Burger will be tough to beat. A proprietary Pat LaFrieda blend of short rib and brisket, it’s loaded with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a “secret sauce” — all on one of MDB’s legendary branded buns.
Guy Fieri’s Chophouse: Bacon Mac ’N Cheese Burger — Just about everyone knows the name Guy Fieri, and of course he is synonymous with classic, semi-gluttonous American dishes, making Burger Bash a natural pairing. The Chophouse’s entry is about as decadent as a burger gets, with its array of toppings including bacon, mac and cheese, crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions and something called “donkey sauce.”
Bocca Coal Fired Bistro: Pepadew Bacon Burger — Bocca sat out last year’s Burger Bash, but after coming in second place at the inaugural Wing Wars, it decided to give this whole burger competition a try. Chef Robert Pappas will flex his culinary muscles as he brings out his Pepadew Bacon Burger, a custom blend Angus burger topped with aged white cheddar, Pepadew relish and cherry wood smoked bacon on — you guessed it — a buttery brioche roll.
Maynard’s Café: Chef Sam’s Burger — Maynard’s is another Burger Bash virgin, but Chef Sam’s Burger is already building up a buzz with its combo of bacon marmalade, gouda, pickled red onion, garlic mayo and a long hot, all on a buttery bun.
Gallagher’s and Broadway Burger Bar: Buffalo Chicken Burger — In one of the most daring moves in the entire competition, Gallagher’s and Broadway Burger Bar will leave customers asking “where’s the beef” as they bite into this chicken burger loaded with Gorgonzola cheese, shaved celery and hot sauce all on a slightly sweet Hawaiian-style bun.
Hi Point Pub: The Stockton Savage Burger — Hi Point boldly returns to throw its hat in the Burger Bash ring this year with its own hand-formed burger, ambitiously topped with American cheese, bacon, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and its homemade signature hot blue ranch sauce.
Olon: Ibérico Secreto Burger — Iron Chef Jose Garces recently opened his brand new restaurants in Tropicana: Olon and Okatshe. Though Olon specializes in Equadorian food, which is not typically associated with burgers, it can still whip up a great Burger Bash offering. Featuring somewhat unpronounceable ingredients such as shishito escabeche, along with miso-glazed pineapple and Yuzu cilantro aioli, this burger should be one of the most “outside the box” options at Burger Bash.
Leatherhead Pub: The Thai Turkey Burger —“We like to let the great flavor of the burger speak for itself,” says Lisa Savage of Leatherhead Pub. And this particular burger has a lot to say with its combo ground turkey, thai herbs, sriracha mayo, asian slaw with daikon, carrots and cucumber. Now that’s a mouthful!
Kelsey and Kim’s: The Kelsey Burger — The soul food specialists at Kelsey and Kim’s are sure to wow burger enthusiasts with their Fresh Black Angus burger, which comes topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions and special house made barbeque sauce on a Brioche roll.
Gregory’s Restaurant: The Mac ‘N Cheese BBQ Chip Burger — This may be the one to beat. Why? Because last year Gregory’s took home the top prize with its incredible breakfast burger, so they know a thing or two about how to succeed at Burger Bash. This year they look to repeat with this entry which features mac ’n cheese and barbeque chips piled on their classic burger. It’s gonna be tough to take down the champ.
Bill’s Bar and Burger: The Steakhouse Burger — Bill’s is a veteran of Burger Bash, and this year it is coming back with a burger that is already making mouths water more than a month ahead of time. It’s a dry-aged burger with bacon-shallot marmalade, onion mayo and Swiss cheese on a potentially game changing pretzel bun. Yum.
Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar: The Rum Point Burger — Coastal Craft Kitchen + Bar may not have officially opened its doors yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cooking up a storm in preparation for Burger Bash. Its Rum Point Burger consists of a secret blend of Pat LaFrieda beef topped with Neuske’s bacon, tillamook cheddar cheese and a fried egg, all seated on a griddled brioche bun with lettuce and tomato. Coastal is sure to find some new fans with this one.
Atlantic City Burger Co.: The AC/BC Burger — With a name like Atlantic City Burger Co., one can safely assume that it knows its way around a burger. And one would be correct. Its entry in Burger Bash starts things off with a dry-aged burger, then adds both Boursin cheese and mushroom peppercorn sauce to produce a perfect masterpiece.
The Metropolitan: Steak au poivre burger — Going the fancy route this year is Borgata’s own Metropolitan, which brings its steak au poivre burger to Burger Bash. Topped with gruyere cheese and slab bacon, think of it as an upscale version of the classic bacon cheeseburger.
Tavern on the Bay: The Tavern Burger — Another newcomer to Burger Bash this year is Tavern on the Bay. Chef Paul Drew comes well prepared with what is sure to be a favorite at Burger Bash: the Tavern Burger. Think Kobe beef grilled over an open flame, with apple-smoked bacon and blue cheese, all resting casually on a toasted brioche bun. Delish.
McCullough's Pub and Restaurant: The Bulleit Bourbon Burger -- A last minute addition to this years troop of bashers, McCullough's takes a Schweid & Sons beef patty, and tops it with Cooper cheese, carmelized onions and their own homemade Bulleit Bourbon BBQ sauce. Then (just to stand out from all the brioche in the crowd) rests the whole thing on a sweet Kings Hawaiian bun.
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