It was a burger Bonanza Sunday afternoon at Eastern Market and one burger came out on top as the best.
After a fierce competition, a Caribbean burger with mango chutney, peppery arugula and spicy jerk mayo was the 2022 Detroit Burger Battle champ.
The burger, created by Max Hardy, owner of Coop Caribbean Fusion at Detroit's shipping company in Midtown and pizza and wings spot, Jed's Detroit, won the $1,000 top prize and a trophy to display in his restaurant.
“It was truly an honor,” Hardy said of the win. “Coming back off COVID, after not being able to do this for the past year, being outside and being around all the fun chefs and restaurateurs. It’s an honor to be able to do it. And to win. It speaks to all the work that we put in every day in the restaurant industry."
The burger featured a blend of beef short rib and brisket, Hardy said. It was also topped with creamy Havarti cheese and served on a toasted bun.
"There's a lot of love and a lot of flavor," Hardy said. "It's spicy but love ... summer. So we had a lot going on."
On Sunday afternoon, burger fans waited in long lines, braving the heat, to sample burgers for the annual Burger Battle, put on by Dine, Drink, Detroit. The battle returned after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic. Nearly 2,000 people were expected, said Scott Rutterbush of Dine, Drink, Detroit, the event organizer.
“We got positive feedback from people and are so excited to be back.” Rutterbush said.
Nearly a dozen metro Detroit restaurants and chefs competed for the top prize.
Second place for "Best Presentation" went to Frita Batidos, with restaurants in Ann Arbor and Detroit, for a slider-style burger served with corn relish, topped with beef brisket and a small, sunny side up egg. Naked Burger, with locations in Clinton Township and Rochester Hills, earned 3rd place "People's Choice" award for its burger with shaved truffles and a crispy cheese layer. The burger received 1,400 votes.
The entire afternoon the crowd sampled burgers and voted on favorites to send to the judge's table. Full disclosure, I was a judge along with other local food experts and restaurant critics.
"It's exciting," Mindy Kroll of Livonia said. "You feel like you're at a big party, like a big backyard barbecue with 15 different grillers."
Coop's Caribbean burger was one of Kroll's favorites.
Others that made it to the judging table included 2019 winner, Kozy Lounge, with its Katburger with jalapenos, Rolling Stoves food truck and its burger with caramelized onions, bacon and the surprise ingredient of peanut butter.
Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Susan Selasky and send food and restaurant news to: email@example.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Caribbean burger wins best burger at Burger Battle Detroit event