MONCTON – How would you like a burger called the “Homer” with two donuts for buns? Or perhaps a “Tower Burger,” named of course after the cell tower in downtown Moncton?
From Feb. 7-17, chefs at local restaurants in Greater Moncton will get creative with their burgers as part of Flip Burger Fest, is the first taste contest for burgers in Moncton, says organizer Chad Steeves
“I just felt like this type of festival is big in other cities and I thought we’re missing it. And I also saw an opportunity to get Monctonians off their couch in the dead of winter. Help us thrive when we need it the most,” he said.
But there will be no voting in this contest. Steeves, the owner of Tide & Boar, said customers who like a certain burger could just return and order more.
“I wanted to get restaurants to work together for a change instead of competing with each other. And the idea of it was, we actually set price points, so everybody put their best foot forward. There’s no voting or anything else like that. If people like it, then maybe they’ll come back.”
“I think there’s gonna be some bragging rights to see how many [burgers] people can try. If you can say you’ve tried every single one of them, that would be awesome,” he added.
All the burgers will be priced between $12 and $18. Steeves went with burgers because they’re familiar, yet people become excited when new things are added on to them.
“A burger is a burger. You go to a restaurant and you order and you’re gonna see a decent burger. But people love it when people go crazy with their burgers. Put different things on there, different toppings, just to be exposed to different flavours. And then you only have this amount of time to get it and then it’s gone,” he said.
“Everybody knows a burger. What makes burger festival crazy is people will try wacky things. Like this one burger, it’ll have donuts as the buns. It’s at the Sports Rock, it’s called the Homer burger, named after Homer Simpson.”
This year, 14 restaurants are taking part: Tide and Boar, Sports Rock, Pump House, St. James Gate, Igloo Beverage Room, Five Bridges, Triiio, The Old Triangle, Big League Burgers & Wings, Dolma 2nd Floor, Mavericks, Mexi’s, Duo Cafe and Cheers Beverage Room.
That’s quite a few burgers to sample in a 10-day period. But Steeves wants the festival to grow even bigger in the coming years.
“I’m hoping it grows each year, more and more and more,” he said.
Pump House Head Chef Kurt Wermelinger said the event will be good for his pub as well as the industry.
“I think it’s good for our restaurant scene to have something like that happen, definitely. I think we’re lagging behind Halifax and the island,” he said. “I’ve seen [burger festivals] on [PEI], and it was a success over there, and when I was in Halifax. So, yeah, the reason to be in it because everybody else is in and you wanna be there too, you know.”
Wermelinger will be serving a custom burger for the 10 days of the festival. It’s a ground chuck patty on a potato bun with stout mustard mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, topped with Irish stout cheddar. It will be served with beer battered onion rings and black pepper bacon garnished with a slider.
“Because we’re a brewery, so I called it the brewmaster and his apprentice, and we use some of the beer in the sauces.”
Steeves’ own restaurant will offer the “Tower Burger,” named after the “famous” cell tower in downtown Moncton.
“Two patties, American cheese, IPA bacon, umami sauce and deep fried cheese curds on that,” he said.