Here’s how to know Detroiters like your idea: You hope 100 people will show up at your event. And some 800 end up there.
So, there’s that. And it taught Elizabeth Durham-Adragna a few things. Firstly, that people really like hamburgers, so if you’re offering to host the Detroit Burger Brawl, you may need to set up a few more chairs.
Secondly, the sophomore event – which is happening Saturday, Aug. 10, at Eastern Market – needs to be bigger, better and more burger-licious than the first. That means having more burger chefs, a bunch of celebrity judges as well as a festival atmosphere for hipsters and families alike. And the burger restaurants are from across the state, created a sense of good will and good flavors throughout Michigan.
Finally, it should do some good for Detroit. Well, Durham-Adragna has that covered and then some. The Detroit Burger Brawl is great for showing off its sponsor companies, who call the amazing Eastern Market home. It’s perfect for highlighting the great parts of our fair city: the food, the pageantry, the people. And it will raise money for Gleaners Community Food Bank, a most worthy cause.
“It’s going to get down and dirty down on Erskine Street,” Durham-Adragna said. “These chefs are not playing around. They know if the public picks you then you know you’re really being judged the best burger in Detroit.”
In all, Durham-Adragna is hoping that 1,000 people show up for the second-annual event. She and co-organizers Jeremy Adragna (hubby) and the good folks at Fairway Packing (a sponsor along with Hour Detroit) are ready for the crowd. And if every participate donates the $10 suggested, then the awesome folks at Gleaners will go away not only with full stomachs, but as much as $10,000 for the day.
Here’s how it will work: You, your family and a dozen of your closest friends need to show up around 11 a.m. when the taste tests begin. Walk along Erskine Street to sample as many of the competition burgers as you can possibly digest. For the family, there will be face painting and balloon animals, all stuff that the kids love.
Voting will begin on Facebook. And, for your $10 donation, you can win a chance to be one of the final judges. Other prizes, in case you were wondering, includes a three-course meal with paired beers for a party of six at One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, a burger a day for a year from Townhouse Bistro in Birmingham and endless gift certificates from local salons and cool places like Rocky’s at Eastern Market.
The best part of the sampling stage is that you know there will be something here to like. The on-site yumminess will come from (in alphabetical order): Captain’s Landing (Mt. Clemens), Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe (Grosse Pointe), FireKeepers Casino (Battle Creek), Forest Grill (Birmingham), Green Dot Stables (Detroit), Local Kitchen and Bar (Ferndale), Metropolitan Cafe (Shelby Township), Motor City Casino (Detroit), Mt. Chalet (Royal Oak), O’Connor’s Public House (Rochester), One-Eyed Betty’s, Pappy’s (Detroit), Prime 29 (Birmingham), Rattlesnake Club (Detroit), Red Crown (Grosse Pointe Park), Terry’s Terrace (Harrison Township) and Townhouse Bistro.
Around 1:30 p.m., the top eight restaurants will be the called to the stage for the competition to begin. From that point, the competing eateries and their now-celebrity chefs will present their burgers to the crowd. A panel of equally famous local judges will decide which two chefs will face off. This duo then will mix, grill and dress their burgers for success, serving a new burger to the judges. The winner goes home with pride, a sense of accomplishment and a big, old trophy.
Here are some of the glitterati that will be there: Ken Daniels, the voice of the Detroit Red Wings for Fox Sports Detroit, returns to emcee. His wing man is Michael Schafer, an honorable Detroit’s Sommelier. Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa founder Jack Aronson, one of the nicest men on the planet, will be the official Detroit Burger Brawl referee, complete with zebra uniform and silver whistle. And Joe Hakim, a fine fellow also known as Joe Foodie and a part of The Hungry Dudes, also will be a line ref.
In 2012, Townhouse Bistro took home the overall “Best Burger” award while other restaurants were awarded as most creative, most flavorful and most stylish. There’s only one way for sure to know who will win in 2013: Show up and have some fun. See if you can find the chef with the hamburger socks. And you can buy me a free sample or two if you see me there.