On Saturday, Aug. 18, eight Lehigh Valley restaurants met on the field of battle (the parking lot of Green Acres Outdoor Living in Lower Nazareth) to compete in the Battle of the Burgers, a three-hour burger-binging event that would conclude with one winner.
Patrons paid a $7 admission to judge the competitors based on the sliders that each cooked up and handed out from their booths. Participating burger joints were:
- Red Robin
- Copperhead Grille
- Starters Riverport
- Burger Shack
- Blue Monkey
- Roosevelt’s 21
- Jake’s Wayback Burgers
- The Keystone Pub
Big Woody’s, who was slated to be the ninth competitor, was not present at the event.
More than 400 people showed up to chow down -- so many, in fact, that at least three of the restaurants had to call for more burgers so as not to lose votes from their hungry judges.
Each restaurant took a different approach.
John Cook, a young employee of Starter’s Riverport, explained to a group that they don’t need a lot of fancy toppings; the onions and vegetables are in their burgers.
“The burger’s supposed to be the good part,” said Cook. “We don’t even put lettuce and tomato on ours.”
Once the votes were in, the winner emerged: Roosevelt’s 21 of Bethlehem took the title -- “Best Burger of the Battle" -- with a miniature version of its famous FDR Challenge: a slider topped with pork roll, egg, cheese, bacon, tomato and onion.
The event was organized by Green Acres Outdoor Living and The Morning Call. Green Acres manager Jon Hall hopes that this year’s event will become known as the “first annual” battle in a succession of many.
“[Green Acres] is a neutral location with plenty of space for people to hang out,” said Hall.
All proceeds will go to the Allentown Rescue Mission, which, according to its website, aims to end homelessness one person at a time, and in some cases, prevent it.
Alexandra Hackett, the rescue mission's communications coordinator, was on hand. “It’s interesting how people choose a favorite,” said Hackett as the event drew to a close. “What stands out to one person might not for another.”
(True words, since this reporter’s vote was solidly in favor of Catasauqua’s Blue Monkey, with its burger topped with pulled pork, cheese and bacon.)
Also on hand was a DJ and an ICEE truck courtesy of Angel 34. Raffles were held throughout the day, with giveaways such as gift certificates to the participating restaurants and passes to both Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom and Hershey Park.
The event raised $4,376 for the Allentown Rescue Mission, according to its blogpost.