Battle of the Burgers!
Best Burger Hagerstown contest pits 11 local eateries against each other for bragging rights—and for a good cause.
Which local restaurant do you think has the best burger in town? Find out which will be named the champion, as decided by a panel of judges, and cast your votes for the people’s choice award at the second Best Burger Hagerstown contest from noon to 5 p.m. on May 14 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro.
In last year’s inaugural burger battle, Nick’s Airport Inn came out on top, winning first place for its Kobe beef burger. LJ’s & The Kat Lounge and Rik’s Cafe won second and third place, respectively, out of the 13 restaurants that competed.
Around 350 people attended last year’s event, which served as a fundraiser for the Children’s Village of Washington County, Inc., and organizers expect a much larger crowd this year.
Each of this year’s 11 competing restaurants will make one regular-sized burger to be split between the judges, who will rate the sandwich according to four criteria: presentation, taste, tenderness, and creativity. “It’s a blind judging,” said Geordie Newman, CEO of the Washington County Community Action Council, Inc. (CAC), which is partnering with the Children’s Village of Washington County to organize this year’s event. “So the judges don’t know which restaurant the burger comes from,” he added.
The 11 competitors also will make the same burger in slider form and sell them to attendees with general admission tickets for $2 apiece, with $1 going to the restaurant and $1 to be divided between funds raised for the CAC and the Children’s Village.
While the panel of judges will decide the overall winners of the competition, the people’s choice award is determined by donations. “Each restaurant will have a donation jar,” explained Kimberly Buchanan, director of development for the CAC. “Whichever restaurant has the most donations wins people's choice.”
Last year the people’s choice honor went to Aqua 103, whose staff served up two different burgers, the Raymond James burger and the Burning Aqua Love burger.
Chris Masker, owner of Aqua 103, said during a recent phone call that he and his chef, Ankoor Das, are confident about their entry for this year’s competition. “It will not be mainstream,” Masker said. “We’ve been thinking about the event, and we looked at last year’s winner, and we want to take home both awards this year—the judges’ award and the people’s choice.”
Burgers, Beer, Bands, Cornhole, and More
While the judges deliberate on which is the best burger in town, attendees can cast their own votes for the people’s choice award plus enjoy extra snacks like fresh-cut French fries, onion rings, kettle corn, and funnel cakes as well as beverages like lemonade, craft and domestic beers, and wine from vendors.
Local bluegrass band The Plate Scrapers and 90s cover band The Gist of It will be performing live during the event as well.
At 1 p.m., attendees can participate in a cornhole competition that has been officially sanctioned by the Maryland Cornhole Organization.
“We’re also planning on breaking out a human Hungry Hungry Hippos game during the event,” Newman said. This game will involve “lying down on a scooter with a laundry basket, with somebody pushing you in and out with your feet while you try to grab as many balls as you can with your basket,” Buchanan said. “We’re hoping that makes for some good photo opportunities.”
While children are certainly welcome at the Best Burger Hagerstown fundraiser, organizers haven’t planned any activities specifically for them, according to Newman. There will, however, be a variety of lawn games for people of all ages to play with throughout the event. “We want people to bring their lawn chairs, bring their pop-ups, and just spread out and have a nice relaxing day hanging out and eating some burgers,” Buchanan said.
The winners of the Best Burger Hagerstown contest will be announced at 3:30 p.m.
General admission to the event costs $15, while VIP admission—which includes access to the VIP area, unlimited free sliders, complimentary side dishes provided by the Bavarian Inn, and an event T-shirt—costs $75.
Learn more about the fundraiser and purchase tickets at bestburgerhagerstown.com.
IF YOU GO
- What: Best Burger Hagerstown contest
- When: Noon to 5 p.m. May 14
- Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike, Boonsboro
- Cost: General admission costs $15; VIP admission costs $75.
Learn more at bestburgerhagerstown.com.