IF YOU GO
What: Big D’s Newton Grill
Where: 327 S. Milton Blvd. Newton Falls, Ohio44444
Hours: Mon: Closed. Tues - Fri: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sat: Noon - 9 p.m. Sun: Noon - 5 p.m.
Menu: 16, plus a Build Your Own ($6.95 - $11.95)
Website: Facebook page: Big D’s Newton Grill
Grade: 41/2 stars
By Anthony M. Fuda
Psst, it’s that time again. Time to announce the 2017 Burger of the Year. Month after month, each restaurant we reviewed made a compelling case for why it should win the coveted award.
But before we crown the winner, we need to pay tribute to one of our own. Our resident bun aficionado and caramelized-onions expert, John Spatar, passed away this year. He was a great friend and an A1 prime-cut Burger Guy. We will miss you, Spatman. Keep the grill flames going until we meet again.
OK, now back to the 2017 Champion.
There can be only one.
Four worthy contenders stood out this year, and each presented a great selection and an excellent-tasting burger. They are:
The Phoenix Fire Grill and Bar
Peter Allen Inn & Event Center
Pondi’s Restaurant & bar
Big D’s Newton Grill
Each restaurant has a high-quality burger. It was hours to deadline, and we were still trying to find something that stood out between the finalists. These burgers were all so good and cooked impeccably well, with the freshest of meats, and the taste of all four restaurants’ burgers was simply delicious. These are the times we wished ties counted, but we took this mission to find the best burger, and we will not cop out with a tie.
Let’s break down the four finalists. Fresh meat: check. In fact, at two of the restaurants, the burgers were ground from the cow possibly hours before we ordered because they have a farm, with cattle, or a butcher shop minutes away. The other two had fresh meat shipped in at least twice a week. So, no frozen patties in this group.
Next, nice selection of burgers: check. The contenders have anywhere from a handful of burgers to a menu featuring at least 20 burgers. Each restaurant had options, but they all could’ve put just one burger on the menu and gotten away with it, the taste was that great. And yes, the restaurants’ burger selections are that good.
Finally, and most importantly, a chef who takes pride in creating – and cooking – high-quality burgers: check. These restaurants featured some of the best chefs in the area, and that was reflected in the perfectly cooked beef and attention to detail on each plate.
So, you ask, what set this year’s winner apart from the rest? Again, it was by the narrowest of margins. Remember, a burger from any of these places would make your stomach say, “Thank you” and “More, please!”
The 2017 Burger of the Year goes to Ron Dillon and Big D’s Newton Grill. Ron does a lot of work in the Newton Falls community and takes pride in the product he puts forth to the public. We all finally came to a consensus saying Big D’s is this year’s champion.
Ron remarked, “It feels great to win the Burger of the Year award. Here at Big D’s, we strive to make the very best burger imaginable. We are always trying new toppings in combinations and searching for some unique flavors to add to our burgers.”
“What does winning the BOTY means to us at Big D’s? We’ve spent a lot of time researching burgers, and it’s finally paying off. Being able to bring Newton Falls and people from other areas the best burger around. If it wasn’t for our hometown support, we wouldn’t be here.”
For me, what set the winner apart was not only the choice of burgers, but that each burger was of such high quality – and as a chef, Ron Dillon was able to take portions of other dishes that most people would throw away and create a burger that has people lining up at the door to try his new creations.
A little extra chili? There’s a burger in there. Some mac and cheese? There’s a burger in there, too. If you look at his menu, you see a lot of burgers, and each of those burgers has that wow factor when you are eating it. What condiment blends well with what bun and other toppings available? Ron takes those ingredients and creates a burger that somehow ends up as the Burger of the Month with people stopping back a couple times during the month because it’s so good.
Eric’s thoughts on this year’s winner, “For me, the choice of Big D’s as 2017 BOTY was both very easy and extremely difficult. This year, we had some real top-notch burgers in contention, and each of the restaurants we visited brought their ‘A’ game. After days of internal struggle, I cast my vote for Big D’s and have no regrets. Anyone can tell that Ron takes pride in his menu and works tirelessly to develop amazing new concoctions. Plus, I owe him for introducing me to the idea of adding sriracha to maple syrup, which has really taken my breakfast to new heights!”
JT said of this year’s choices, “All four of the finalists deserve an award! What tilted the scales for me? Ron’s whole attitude on burgers. He doesn’t just serve burgers at Big D’s, he serves up a burger experience. Neon burger signs in the windows, walls adorned with burger-related photos, figurines, posters and, displayed prominently on the back wall, the Meat 16 trophy. After trying a Big D’s burger, it’s easy to understand why they won it. And after talking with Ron, it’s easy to see, that for him, it’s more than just grilling burgers; it’s a passion for creating art for his customers to enjoy. Ron is like the Picasso of burger chefs, and I just can’t wait to see what he comes up with for his entry for the 2018 Meat 16 tournament.”
Ron and Big D’s started the year winning the 2017 Meat 16, with a Cuban Burger that rolled through the competition. He is looking to make it two championships in a row going into the 2018 Meat 16, which starts next month.
Keep reading the Valley food section each Wednesday for the best food the Valley has to offer.
If you think you know where the next Burger of the Year is, send the info to BurgerGuyz@hotmail.com, or on our Facebook page BurgerGuyz.