Go On a Burger Bender at 28 Newport Restaurants
From February 14 to 23, twenty-eight Newport area restaurants are serving thirty-nine creative interpretations of the all American burger (including plant-based options!), and diners can help determine a winner.
May the best burger win! Diners will soon begin taste-testing up to thirty-nine different burgers for Newport’s annual Burger Bender, February 14 through 23, alongside Newport’s annual Winter Festival. Twenty-eight restaurants on Aquidneck Island and the surrounding area are coming up with creative interpretations of the all-American patty as well as all-new plant-based and non-beef options for vegans, vegetarians, omnivores and pescatarians. The meat and veg masterpieces will be featured on the restaurants’ menus, so guests can experience them anytime they get a craving for a good burger throughout the festival.
As part of the Newport Burger Bender, local restaurants will compete to win the title Newport Burger Bender Best Burger and they’ll earn the coveted Burger Bender trophy, a $500 prize, free registration for Newport Restaurant Week and much more. For the first time, restaurants are allowed to submit two burgers; one meaty burger and one plant-based, non-beef burger.
“Whether messy, meatless or monumental; goopy, grass-fed or with grilled onions; tangy, tart or triple-pattied, we’re expecting our local chefs to be both calculated and creative when it comes to this year’s Burger Bender entries,” says Julie Grant, Discover Digital Marketing Manager and the contest’s organizer.
Diners can check out the full list of participants and their burger submissions on the Newport Burger Bender website. Plan your burger binge and then vote for your favorite meaty and veg champions throughout the entire competition. Voting takes place throughout the entirety of the contest, February 14 through 23, and voters are automatically entered into daily giveaways for the chance to win $25 to a participating restaurant. The People’s Choice Award will be given to burgers in each of the two categories: beef and plant-based/non-beef. I will also be judging the Critic’s Choice category along with other local media.
Harry’s Bar and Burger down in Newport is having fun with this year’s contest. They created hangover-inspired sliders to enter – their official name: “Harry’s on a Bender!” The loaded sliders feature Hereford beef, American cheese, waffle fries, tomato bacon jam, fried hen egg, special sauce, pickled red onion and arugula. Meanwhile, chef Christopher Ferris from Saltwater at the Newport Harbor Hotel will be cooking up “Ferris Burger’s Day Off,” an eight-ounce, fire-grilled, ground sirloin burger stuffed with Manchego cheese and topped with sizzling Canadian bacon, pepper jack cheese, a fried egg, pickle chips, onion straws, tomato and Boston Bibb lettuce along with a dash of aioli – all served inside a toasted, buttery, sweet brioche bun.
In the non-meat category, Diego’s Barrio Cantina created a Vegan Lentil Burger with a lentil patty, vegan cheese, roasted red pepper, lemon miso dressing and herbed chia seeds served on Boston Bibb lettuce; The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn has the Black Bean Crunch Burger with black bean crunch toasted potato roll, crispy quinoa, pickled red onion, shredded romaine, guacamole and roasted Anaheim aioli; and La Forge Casino Restaurant submitted the Impossible Mac with two plant-based burgers, veggie cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sweet pickles and “secret sauce,” served on a triple-stacked sesame seed bun.
Each burger is being individually photographed and featured on the Newport Burger Bender page on DiscoverNewport.org along with a detailed description. People will also be able to vote onsite at participating restaurants by tagging their burgers on social media with the burger’s custom hashtag. Those who vote online using the burger’s hashtag will be also entered into daily giveaways from Discover Newport. Share your Newport Burger Bender experience using the hashtag #NewportBurgerBender.