The third annual Food Network-sponsored Wine and Food Festival has become one of the food world’s major destination events—but its populist bent is clear, with comfort food-focused events rating as the crowd favorites.
The place to be Friday night was the Blue Moon Burger Bash, which welcomes 2,300 hungry people and 23 teams of chefs to the Tobacco Warehouse at Fulton Landing, a giant open-air space under the Brooklyn Bridge.
The grills started heating up at 5, waiting for guests to begin arriving at 7 via the Delta Airlines-sponsored shuttle buses, and by the time the sun went down, fragrant smoke and live music filled the air.
This year’s event was heavy on sponsorship, with generous support from Heinz ketchup, Sutter Home Vineyards, and Pat LaFrieda Meats, the favored provider of every big name burger purveyor in the city and the event’s co-sponsor.
The LaFrieda meat lived up to its reputation, with Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack burger taking the judges’ choice—a good omen for the mini-chain, which sells thousands of its sliders around New York every day.
The crowd’s pick was Bobby Flay’s southwestern-accented burgers, topped with jalapenos, queso, and tortilla chips, and served with a tequila milkshake on the side.
The final official honor of the night, Heinz’s Best Dressed Burger award, went to the newly opened Hurricane Club for their spectacular toppings–jack cheese, pickled jalapenos, labneh yogurt and their special fire-eater sauce, served with sweet potato waffle fries with spiced maple cream topping.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a few other crowd/personal favorites—Lure Fishbar, last year’s surprise winner for People’s Choice, presented a spectacularly simple and tender burger topped with bacon jam, equaled only by Back Forty’s beefy patty for a traditional-style burger.
Spike Mendelsohn, of Top Chef fame, presented a Vietnamese-styled burger topped with fresh veggies and siracha-spiked mayonnaise, which was surprisingly fresh while still feeling substantial.
The Greenhouse Tavern and The Dutch also received accolades, and the legendary Minetta Tavern’s LaFrieda Black Label beef, topped with caramelized onions, appeared in miniature form, a delicious taste of what is normally a $26 extravaganza.
While we’d recommend visiting the Burger Bash any year, many of the individual restaurants do have their entries on their regular menu—so we’ve included the full list of competitors below for your next burger joint to New York.
Participating Restaurants and Chefs:
‘21’ Club: John Greeley www.21club.com
3Bs at Food Parc: Scott Ubert www.chinagrillmgt.com
67 Burger: Jeff Maslanka www.67burger.com
The Dutch: Andrew Carmellini www.andrewcarmellini.com/site/the-dutch/
Back Forty: Peter Hoffman www.backfortynyc.com
Bill’s Bar & Burger: Brett Reichler www.brguestrestaurants.com/restaurants/bills-bar-burger/
Bobby’s Burger Palace: Bobby Flay www.bobbysburgerpalace.com
Good Stuff Eatery: Spike Mendelsohn www.goodstuffeatery.com
The Greenhouse Tavern: Jonathon Sawyer www.thegreenhousetavern.com
Hamptons Burger Bloodbath Winner: Mo Koyfman
Lure Fishbar: Josh Capon www.lurefishbar.com
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink: Michael Schwartz www.michaelsgenuine.com
Minetta Tavern: Lee Hanson & Riad Nasr www.minettatavernny.com
Morton’s The Steakhouse: Joe Raiola www.mortons.com
Rare Bar & Grill: Ed Hernandez www.rarebarandgrill.com
Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Bernhard Klotz www.rssc.com
RUB BBQ: Scott Smith www.rubbbq.com
Shake Shack- Madison Square Park: www.shakeshack.com
Strip House: John Schenk www.striphouse.com
The Hurricane Club: Craig Koketsu www.thehurricaneclub.com
Txikito: Alex Raij & Eder Montero www.txikitonyc.com
Winner of the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger competition