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Posts made in: 'Tournament of Burgers' (20) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 20

April 18, 2014 at 2:17pm

Mac and Cheese Madness!

These two items combined is crazy delicious.

I haven't worked off the 20 pounds of weight gained during the Tournament of Burgers. In fact, the extra weight has become my friend. The fat and I reminisce about each burger joint, becoming all mushy and nostalgic over a last call burger at Shake Shake Shake, pairing Manhattans with Maxwell's Walker Burger, eating smoked burgers next to someone getting canned at Famous Dave's, playing human pinball at Five Guys in Lakewood, a rowdy Friday burger night at Tournament of Burgers Champion Westside Tavern, and so on.

Since announcing mac and cheese will be next year's tournament, my body fat is all ready thumbing through the Big and Tall catalog.

I'm prepared to begin the mac and cheese madness immediately. Why wait? Send that lentil soup back in the kitchen! That tramp will go through me in 30 minutes. My goal is to report on a South Sound mac and cheese dish every week. Those who have followed my past columns know I will most likely fail. And, dropping in on Tacoma's STINK Cheese & Meat for its weekly mac and cheese special doesn't count, although I will not surrender that pleasure.

Let's start with my favorite mac and cheese recipe.

The first time I made macaroni and cheese, I followed the official CIA (Culinary Institute of America) recipe. It took me approximately four hours, utilized two French "Mother" sauces, cost me about $10 to make and tasted mediocre. I won't be doing that again soon. I've since learned that cheese choice; plenty of preferably fresh breadcrumbs, and ample baking time can make all the difference. One very simple recipe that turned out delicious:

Aged Gouda and Campanelle

Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil the campanelle (campanelle, or pig's ear pasta, is a broad, curly edged pasta that soaks up sauces beautifully. It's available at most grocery stores). Once the water is boiling, you'll want to add about a pound, pound and a half of pasta to it. Take about four slabs of bacon and fry them until they're crisp. Set on a towel to drain fat. In a medium sized saucepan, heat one-and-a-half cups of half and half until nearly boiling. Throw in 2 Tablespoons of butter and watch it melt. Pretty, right? Now you want about 3/4 of a pound of shredded quality, aged Gouda. Make sure it's aged, or you will have a very bland casserole.

Stir this mixture over medium-low heat until the cheese is smooth. Now, I was naughty at this point and just couldn't resist grabbing a spoonful of freshly rendered bacon fat out of the sauté pan beside me and tossing it into the sauce as I stirred it. Not necessary. But it sure makes things taste good. Turn the heat off, drain your pasta (as long as it's al dente) and throw it in a bowl. Crumble the bacon into the pasta and toss. Pour the cheese over the pasta/bacon and toss again. Pour the mixture into a buttered casserole (I used a 10-inch cake tin). You can sprinkle with black/white pepper, cayenne, or even something sweet like cardamom or cinnamon on top. You probably won't need to add salt unless you've omitted the bacon.

Now take a dry old hunk of good bread and grate the daylights out of it to cover the top (you can pre-grate if you want to avoid a crumb mess from the guaranteed misfires). Some people at this point would throw on a couple pats of butter. I think I already hit the decadence quota with the pig fat. Your choice. Bake it until the crumbs are toasted and the cheese is bubbling. Eat with impunity.

Well, time to stick a feather in my hat and call it macaroni, whatever the hell that means.

April 8, 2014 at 8:00am

Tournament of Burgers: a champion crowned

Westside Tavern was crowned champion of the 2014 Tournament of Burgers. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

It's a simple equation. Take ground beef and add heat. Then, it becomes tricky. Choices need to be made. Griddle or grill? Plain salt or complex seasoning blend? Poppy seed or potato bun? In those choices lie the path to burger greatness.

Over the past three weeks we've pitted 64 of the South Sound's best against one another in the mother of all reader-voted burger brackets. You've seen the carnage: No. 1 seeds fell, powerhouses butted heads and surprise patties made a run at the prize. 

Yesterday, our Tournament of Burgers came to a close. The championship match pitted the Westside Tavern in Olympia against Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge in Tacoma, and you, the voters, made your decision. It was the closet margin of victory in Weekly Volcano food tournament history. For the first time, the championship party meant more than an excuse to drink on a Monday.

The day began with Maxwell's gobbling up online votes for an early lead. The Westside Tavern kept the game within a lettuce leaf's length, holding back its steak burger. At 3 p.m., Maxwell's surged forward after server Kent jumped up on the bar and broke out in what he calls the Burger Slide. With an hour left in the online voting portion, the Westside Tavern unleashed the kraken, their steak burger. When the 5 o'clock bell chimed, and the online voting closed, the Westside had a 17-vote lead.

At 6 p.m., the Tournament of Burgers moved into the live vote portion of the championship game, initiating a ballot vote and a bunch of beers at Meconi's Tacoma Pub. The Westside Tavern contingent arrived a half-hour before Team Maxwell's made its way down Saint Helens Avenue. The televised NCAA Men's Championship hoop game would every so often steal a burger conversation.

As promised, we tallied the on-location votes during halftime of the hoop game, a vote Maxwell's managed to own. After the raffle prizes found homes, and I stumbled through an explanation over Meconi's PA system, both vote sessions were combined and the Westside Tavern of Olympia was crowned the Tournament of Burgers champion by a four vote margin.

Then, a burger love fest broke out. Both restaurants congratulated each other, tossing out compliments (and tossing back shots!) as well as posing for pictures. An hour after Westside's win, both teams still held court at Meconi's, signing autographs and telling stories of early bracket victories.

Both South Sound burger joints will receive Tournament of Burgers trophies after engraving. Also, look for an upcoming feature on the Westside Tavern in the Weekly Volcano.

So it's official: Westside Tavern is the winner of Weekly Volcano's 2014 Tournament of Burgers. Eat it up, South Sound.

Thank you!

We would like to extend special THANKS! To Ricky J's Restaurant & Lounge for sponsoring the Tournament of Burgers. The popular Puyallup hangout really stepped up and made the tournament possible.

Also a big thanks to Meconi's Tacoma Pub and Eatery for hosting our Tournament of Burgers championship party last night. Good times.

But most of all, thanks to all the awesome folks who voted. You rock.

See you next spring for the Tournament of Mac N Cheese!

April 7, 2014 at 7:56am

Tournament of Burgers: Final vote and tonight's party

Today's marquee matchup: The Westside's Tavern Burger vs. Maxwell's Walker Burger.

<<< MONDAY, APRIL 7: GAME CLOSED >>>

Update: Tournament of Burgers champion crowned.

The titanic burger throwdown finale is on! Voting for the 2014 Weekly Volcano Tournament of Burgers Readers' Poll Championship game is live.

After three weeks of voting, you have picked the most popular burger joints in the South Sound. What began as 64 burger-slinging joints has been narrowed down to two: Maxwell's Restaurant and the Westside Tavern.

Who do you think has the best burger?

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

Welcome to the big dance. Online voting will end at 5 p.m. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting will resume at 6 p.m. live at the Tournament of Burgers Party at Meconi's Tacoma Pub in downtown Tacoma. Ballots will be handed out, which will also serve as raffle tickets. The live vote will close at halftime of the NCAA Men's Tournament final and the South Sound Burger champion will be announced.




Thanks again for voting! See you at Meconi's Pub at 6 p.m.

LINK: What's up with this burger tournament?

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

April 5, 2014 at 8:53am

Tournament of Burgers Day 17: Two burgers to battle Monday for the title

Two patties will do battle Monday, April 7 right here on Walkie Talkie.

SATURDAY, APRIL 5: SET UP FOR MONDAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAME >>>

For more than two weeks, wechallenged 64 of the South Sound's best burger joints to go patty-to-patty in a showdown of culinary combat. Some fell easily by the wayside, either due to a rogue Condiments Guy or simply because they faced a superior opponent. Bun by bun, we ate our way down to yesterday's Final Four: Eastside Big Tom, Maxwell's Restaurant, Westside Tavern and Tatanka Takeout. It was do-or-die, win-or-fly, bring-your-best-or-over-fry.

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom (2023 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. Maxwell's Restaurant (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

Our Steno Pool called it the game of the tournament, which is hard to argue with a one and two seed battling it out. When the last burger was flipped, and a lead it never gave up the entire day, Maxwell's Restaurant grabbed 56.57 percent of the vote and moves on to Monday's championship game.

Game 2: Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. Tatanka Takeout (4915 N. Pearl St., Ruston)

Tatanka Takeout came into the Tournament of Burgers as a No. 3 seed and didn't disappoint - at least in the opening 400 minutes. Tatanka led all morning with an average lead of 40 votes, without any help from the Internets. Its tasty bison burger standing tall on North Pearl Street. At 3 p.m., with the help of its late-rising crowd, Westside Tavern poured it on. The Olympia hangout began racking up votes in an eye-popping display of patty perfection, with strong play from their Tavern Burger. When the final buzzer rang, Westside Tavern managed to beat Tatanka by 365 votes, and score a date with Maxwell's Restaurant in the championship game Monday.

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

Here we go. Maxwell's Restaurant will face Westside Tavern Monday, April 7 when the polls open around 8:14 a.m. Online voting runs until 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. the voting opens back up live at the Tournament of Burgers Final Party at Meconi's Pub, 709 Pacific Ave. in downtown Tacoma. Ballots will be handed out, which will also serve as raffle tickets. The live vote will close at halftime of the NCAA Men's Tournament final and the South Sound Burger champion will be announced.

So, pack the car and eat at Maxwell's today and Westside Tavern tomorrow. Compare notes with your neighbors. Then come Monday, vote here on Walkie Talkie before joining us at Meconi's Pub later that night.

Thanks again everyone for voting!

LINK: What's up with this burger tournament?

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

April 4, 2014 at 8:19am

Tournament of Burgers Day 16: Final Four - vote now

It's the Final Four baby!

<<< FRIDAY, APRIL 4 GAMES CLOSED >>>

The South Sound loves burgers - at least according to the thousands that have voted in our Tournament of Burgers. Yesterday's burger voting action doubled the previous highest vote count for a single day. And local favorites fell. They fell hard. Every winner yesterday won by capturing 59 to 65 percent of the vote.

What four patty-slinging joints will move onto today's Final Four?

The drum roll please ...

Thanks to your votes, we've narrowed down the Tournament of Burgers to these four burger joints: Eastside Big Tom, Maxwell's Restaurant, Westside Tavern and Tatanka Takeout.

Let's remember that every burger that made it into the tourney is worth a nosh. Still, someone's gotta win. We started with 64 of the South Sound's best burgers. Now, these four boss burgers face off for the ultimate glory - patty to patty battles to determine the best burger in the South Sound. Which burger joint has the moxie to nail down the championship? Whose burger will win it all?

Today's Final Four match-ups are:

GAME 1: Eastside Big Tom vs. Maxwell's Restaurant

GAME 2: Westside Tavern vs. Tatanka Takeout

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Final Four burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



After today's voting, there will be two South Sound burger joints left in the Tournament of Burgers, unless something goes terribly wrong. Jump on Walkie Talkie tomorrow to find out which two burger joints will be battling it out Monday, April 7.

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

April 3, 2014 at 8:21am

Tournament of Burgers Day 15: We're down to eight!

Mmmm ... mmmmm ... mmmm

<<< THURSDAY, APRIL 3 GAMES CLOSED >>>

The Great Eight is fully fleshed out: Eastside Big Tom, Maxwell's Restaurant, Westside Tavern, Tatanka, Lefty's Burger Shack, Crown Bar, The Spar and Shake Shake Shake. Eight establishments that - according to our readers' poll - serve the best burgers in the South Sound.

It's all come down to eight. All the signs in the restaurants, the mass emailings to customers and friends, the burger phone trees have paid off for these eight patty slingers. It's now crunch(y) onion time for the burger royalty.

On to today's Tournament of Burgers action and yesterday's results.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack vs. The Forum

I feel bad for the kids on this one ... especially the 20-something partiers. But something tells me they'll survive, and they'll do so in tasty style with The Forum that they have quickly come to adore. Unfortunately for The Forum and their fancy stuffed burgers and lively bar, the task yesterday of taking down Lefty's Burger shack was simply too much - and the votes told the story. When all was said and done, Lefty's moves on with 73 percent of the vote.

Game 2: Lunchbox Laboratory vs. Crown Bar

Despite an early lead from the heralded Lunchbox Laboratory, the Crown Bar and its large, devoted Sixth Avenue strolling fans proved too powerful in yesterday's action, catapulting into the Great Eight with the closest victory margin of the day - 53 percent. Lunchbox Laboratory will survive. The new kid in Gig Harbor has been drawing large crowds with its inventive food.

Game 3: The Spar vs. Herfy's

The oldest tavern in Tacoma, The Spar, was simply too much for the fast-food joint in the Lakewood Towne Center. The Spar moves on with 69 percent of the vote and a spot in the Great Eight.

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake vs. Little Jerry's

Shake Shake Shake, the heavy favorite to win Region 4 after perceived contenders such as Mikie Burgers and Best Burgers were dismissed in earlier rounds, cruised to an easy win over Tacoma's Fern Hill darling, Little Jerry's. The Seinfeld jokes and physical comedy filled the café all day. But, it wasn't enough. Shake Shake Shake pushed its Steak and Bacon Burger hard, tossing in their Real Hot Hot Dog periodically (ballsy). Shake Shake Shake grabs 56 percent of the vote and moves into the Great Eight to take on the bison boss, Tatanka Takeout.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Great Eight:

  • Lefty's Burger Shack
  • Crown Bar
  • The Spar
  • Shake Shake Shake

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Great Eight burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 




Tomorrow's Burger Battles: The Final Four

Eight South Sound burger joints go at it today for slots in the Final Four. Jump on Walkie Talkie tomorrow to vote on the Final Four games.

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

April 2, 2014 at 8:29am

Tournament of Burgers Day 14: Tuesday's winners and Sweet Pickle 16 games

Eastside Big Tom is in burger heaven right now. Photo credit: Winter Teems

<<< WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2 GAMES CLOSED >>>

You must admit: in a region full of dining options, you lust after your burger as a teenage girl pines for Ross Lynch (I'm forced to watch the show). Buns, meat, onions, greens and cheese - the things of dreams. Taco Bell might try to tempt you away with bun puns but their 88 percent "USDA-inspected quality beef" fails: Burger, it is your heart that it has taken.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom vs. NetShed No. 9

To be honest, NetShed No. 9 did far more damage in the Tournament of Burgers than anyone here in Walkie Talkie Land anticipated. We know the Gig Harbor waterfront restaurant more for its New American breakfast and lunch, serving dishes such as baked chicken thighs paired with waffles and the "Rubenesque" pastrami sandwich. Taking out The Harmon in the first round, and later freakin' Five Guys in the second, was impressive to say the least. However, the good times came to an abrupt halt yesterday when number one seed Eastside Big Tom once again flexed its muscles, perhaps emerging as the odds on favorite to make the final Four out of Region 1, Snagging 63 percent of the vote, Eastside Big Tom moves into the Great Eight.

Game 2: Pick-Quick Drive-In vs. Maxwell's Restaurant

The way Maxwell's and their Walker Burger has managed to bring it during this year's Tournament of Burgers has been nothing short of amazing. Yesterday, many all ready had established competitor Pick-Quick penciled in as the winner. Those people, however, were foolish - as Maxwell's once again proved its burger prowess. The votes don't lie, and when the final buzzer sounded Maxwell's had racked up an astounding 87 percent of the vote and comfortably moves into the Great Eight competition.

Game 3: Asado vs. The Westside Tavern

The Westside Tavern in Olympia went through some serious transformation during 2011. Gone are Big Buck Hunter and pull-tabs. They have been replaced by refurbished pool tables and the classy photography of Casey Grant featuring tattooed ladies and Olympia beer. Gone is the tattered blue paint on the outside of the building - inside and out. The ambiance has been mellowed by earthy paint tones, accented by red. Gone is the greasy spoon bar food. The Westside now serves homemade upscale menu items, such as portabella fries with sweet Chile sauce and pineapple express sliders. New owners Dean and Lisa Damitio have created a cool bar, and a lineup of burgers that is tough to beat. In the closest battle of the day, the Westside gathered 67 percent of the vote over fancy number one seed Asado, and moves into the Great Eight.

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout vs. Best Burgers

R-E-S-P-E-C-T is how the song goes, and that's just what unheralded Tatanka Takeout has been earning so far in the Tournament of Burgers, knocking off Best Burgers yesterday and garnering 77 percent of the vote. Our circulation department had Best Burgers going all the way. Bison meat is trickier to cook than beef, but also leaner and more nutritious, and Tatanka takes its skills and skinny ass into the Great Eight.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • Eastside Big Tom
  • Maxwell's Restaurant
  • Westside Tavern
  • Tatanka Takeout

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Sweet Pickle 16 burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 




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Tomorrow's Great Eight Burger Games

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom (2023 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) OR The Forum (815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Maxwell's Restaurant (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor) OR Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

Game 3: The Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. The Spar (2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma) OR Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout (4915 N. Pearl St., Ruston) vs. Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) OR Little Jerry's (8233 S. Park Ave., Tacoma)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

April 1, 2014 at 8:17am

Tournament of Burgers Day 13: Monday's winners and Sweet Pickle 16 games

Crown Bar with their big bun burgers beat the Classic Cafe at LeMay in Second Round Tournament of Burgers action.

TUESDAY, APRIL 1: SWEET PICKLE 16 BURGER ACTION >>>

For the last two weeks we presented you with a compelling question: Who makes the best burgers in the South Sound? And you have responded in multitudes. Sick days have been used. Friendships have fallen apart. Pickle Girls and Fry Guys living together - mass hysteria!

The competition had been whittled down to the Sweet Pickle 16. Yes, 16 South Sound burger flippers are poised to make the final push to the Final Four, which will begin Friday.

So, read up on yesterday's action, and then vote on the first four games of the Sweet pickle 16. It's in your hands, mouth and stomach, folks. Do us proud.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. Alfred's Café and Bubble Room (402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Lefty's Burger Shack kept a lead all day with ferocious play from their one-pound beef patty Viking Burger. The behemoth was too much for Alfred's. Lefty's grabbed 61 percent of the vote and moves into the Sweet pickle 16 to battle The Forum tomorrow.

Game 2: Classics Café at LeMay (2702 E. D St., Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

These two Tacoma restaurants bounced buns off each other all day until around 4 p.m. when the Crown Bar began to pull away. Rumor has it the Crown Bar got behind their Cougar Gold Burger with its housemade pickles and pushed through Classics Café's wall of chili cheese tots protecting their classic, hard-working cheeseburger. As the clock hit 11:45 p.m., the Crown Bar had 62 percent of the vote, and a spot in the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 3: Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. Dirty Oscars (2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Herfy's in Lakewood grabbed the lead early and never looked back, nabbing 66 percent of the vote when all was said and done. Our Steno Pool believes Herfy's rode a bit of nostalgic momentum, drawing huge numbers of Lakewood's old-timers who remember the original Herfy's from the Villa Plaza days. It was too much for Dirty Oscar's gourmet burgers. Herfy's moves into the Sweet Pickle 16 to take on The Spar tomorrow.

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Frugals (10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma)

In NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament history, when a ninth seed team has battled a number one seed, the ninth has emerged victorious less than 10 percent of the time. In the Tournament of Burgers, the percentage drops to zero. In the largest victory margin of the day, Tacoma's Stadium District burger joint Shake Shake Shake clobbered longtime Tacoma burger slinger Frugals with 69 percent of the vote. Shake Shake Shake moves moves moves into the Sweet Pickle 16 to battle the Seinfeld-loving Little Jerry's tomorrow.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • Lefty's Burger Shack
  • Crown Bar
  • Herfy's
  • Shake Shake Shake

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Sweet Pickle 16 burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Sweet Pickle 16 Burger Games

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. The Forum (815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor) vs. Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

Game 3: The Spar (2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma) vs. Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Little Jerry's (8233 S. Park Ave., Tacoma)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 31, 2014 at 8:05am

Tournament of Burgers Day 12: Sunday's winners and four new burger Second Round battles

Lunchbox Laboratory creates burgers in a lab. Photo courtesy of Facebook

<<< MONDAY, MARCH 31 GAMES CLOSED >>>

Beginning tomorrow, we'll cut the field of 64 South Sound burger joints to the Sweet Pickle 16. No joke. April 3, it'll drop to eight. Monday, April 7, we'll announce the winner of the Tournament of Burgers - picked by you, of course - at Meconi's Pub in downtown Tacoma during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. On that Monday, we'll cut the online voting at 5 p.m. and take the voting live at Meconi's, handing out ballots while you pound beers.

That's all fine and dandy, but it's Monday and you don't have time for idle chitchat. You need to know yesterday's results and get to voting on today's games.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Forum vs. Frisko Freeze

Ah, history. The factor we all owe so much but for the most part choose to ignore. Frisko Freeze is still going strong after more than 50 years in the biz and its delicious burgers are the reason for its success. But the modern electric hum lies with The Forum - the new kid on the block - and its fancy burgers. The new restaurant at the historic Olympus Hotel grabbed 65 percent of the vote yesterday over Frisko Freeze, and moves into the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 2: Lunchbox Laboratory vs. Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery

Let's face it. It is more fun to drink shakes out of beakers, munch on a burger made of duck and pork (affectionately called the "dork"), or order cocktails made with Tang. Lunchbox Laboratory positions itself as a laboratory where amazing burgers are created and the customization options are endless. It's a winning formula, at least in terms of the Tournament of Burgers. Lunchbox Laboratory grabbed 59 percent of the votes over the Puyallup mainstay Powerhouse Restaurant, and nabs a spot in the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 3: The Spar vs. Norma's Burger Hut

Eleventh seed The Spar knocked three seed Norma's Burger Hut out of the tournament yesterday. I don't have any idea if The Spar's weekly Sunday night blues concert played into the historic tavern's whooping of the popular Lacey burger shack, but its handful of burgers grabbed 65 percent of the vote, and an April 2 date in the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 4: Little Jerry's vs. Mikie Burger

Mikie Burger has history and fans. For years the tiny mom-and-pop restaurant defied the odds, going head to head with nearby national franchises. Despite having no indoor seating and very little parking - despite eccentric hours and long waits - despite being literally overshadowed by new construction - the home of the Mikie Burger endured, until the summer of 2009. The Little Holland burger joint - which now bares a sign reading "Mikie Burgers" - officially reopened on Center Street Jan. 4, 2010. Little Jerry's knew it had to go big against the history and long list of burgers. The Seinfeld-crazed café pulled out The Mimbo. Remember Elaine's man-bimbo, Tony? Yes, Little Jerry's creates dishes from Seinfeld episodes. Yes, the burger sandwiched between grilled cheese sandwiches and topped with a fried egg put the hurt on Mikie. Little Jerry's nabbed 64 percent of the vote and has made the Sweet Pickle 16.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • The Forum Tacoma
  • Lunchbox Laboratory
  • The Spar
  • Little Jerry's

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Second Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Sweet Pickle 16 Burger Games

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom (2023 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. NetShed No. 9 (3313 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor)

Game 2: Pick-Quick Drive-In (4306 Pacific Hwy. E., Fife) vs. Maxwell's Restaurant (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

Game 3: Asado (2801 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. The Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia)

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout (4915 N. Pearl St., Ruston) vs. Best Burgers (7714 Custer Road W., Lakewood)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 30, 2014 at 8:56am

Tournament of Burgers Day 11: Saturday's winners and four new burger Second Round battles

The Asado Burger in all its glory.

<<< SUNDAY, MARCH 30 GAMES CLOSED >>>

The subject of burgers is, like the subject of barbecue, vexed and fraught with controversy. What constitutes a great burger? Who makes the best? Everyone seems to have his or her own favorite, and everyone's an expert. Throughout the month of February we polled our readers asking what are the top 64 burger joints in the South Sound. You chimed in. Thursday, March 20 we launched the Tournament of Burgers, pitting your 64 burger joints against each other, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, only with more pickles. It's the 11th day of action, and we're deep into the Second Round. Let's take a look at yesterday's results and today's four games.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: NetShed No. 9 vs. Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Thad Lyman and Katie Doherty, the husband-wife team behind Brix 24 in Gig Harbor, opened the waterfront breakfast and launch destination Netshed No. 9 a year ago. Just off Harborview Drive, it has a splendid view of quiet waters and boats. It also has a breakfast burger that smoked Five Guys Burgers and Fries with 88 percent of the vote. NetShed No. 9 moves into the Sweet 16 to face Eastside Big Tom April 1.

Game 2: DeLong's DeLuxe vs. Maxwell's Restaurant

Robert Walker, who was the president of Walker Cut Stone Company, built a seven-story apartment hotel building at the corner of Sixth and St. Helens in 1927. The building was designed in a classical revival style. While the building appears rectangular from the street, it is actually L-shaped with a small garden court. It was the first apartment house to be faced with stone in the Northwest, where others were brick. Today, the fine-dining restaurant Maxwell's anchors the building, serving a namesake "Walker Burger," which has remained on the menu through several ownership changes. It's an historic building and an historic burger. Yesterday, the gourmet Walker Burger beat a tough opponent, Lakewood's DeLong's DeLuxe, with 80 percent of the vote. There's chatter of putting Maxwell's Walker Burger on the Historic Register.

Game 3: Asado vs. Marrow Kitchen + Bar

Tacoma is Asado, and the Commonwealth of X Group. Tacoma is Marrow, and the Republic of Jones. At 62.34 square miles, Tacoma is hardly big enough for the both gourmet burgers, and that includes Saturday night in the Second Round. Asado vs. Marrow. Few sentences in Tournament of Burgers come with more buzz, especially in March. A half-hour after No. 1 seed Asado beat No. 8 seed Marrow by two points, Asado co-owner John Xitco stepped into the entrance of Asado. Chefs were texting family members, conducting interviews and watching themselves on YouTube when the familiar voice of Xitco cut through the joyous din. "You guys have a hell of burger," Xitco probably said, pausing for a moment. "You just beat the best. You should be proud." This game will be the enduring legacy of the Tournament of Burgers, etched in the record books as Asado 50.42%, Marrow 49.58%. Epic.

Game 4: Meconi's Pub Tacoma vs. Tatanka Takeout

We can't thank Meconi's Pub in downtown Tacoma for hosting the Tournament of Burgers Championship Party at 6 p.m. Monday, April 7. The final two South Sound burger joints will battle live through paper ballots, and the burger winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Basketball Championship Game. Yes, I'm softening the news for Mecoini's, "Tacoma's friendliest place to eat and drink," as the pub fell to Tatanka, who's bison burger captured 68 percent of the vote. The remain burger joints need to pay close attention to the Ruston joint specializing in bison, especially Best Burgers who takes on Tatanka April 1 in the Sweet 16. This cross-region game will be a bruiser.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • NetShed No. 9
  • Maxwell's Restaurant
  • Asado
  • Tatanka Takeout

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Second Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Second Round Burger Games

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. Alfred's Café (402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Classics Café at LeMay (2702 E. D St., Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

Game 3: Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. Dirty Oscars (2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Frugals (10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

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