By Anthony M. Fuda
Special to The Vindicator
Tournaments and brackets, you all love them. After the last point is scored in the NCAA Tournament, an even bigger tournament begins, and it’s sweeter than the Sweet 16. It’s the BurgerGuyz third annual Badurik’s Butcher Block Meat 16 Cheeseburger Challenge!
The pairings have been chosen. A No. 7 seed versus a No. 2 seed. Who wins? Is there any difference between a No. 5 versus a No. 4? Will a No. 8 take down a No. 1?
Butcher Block owner Steve Badurik partnered with us again to present the Meat 16, saying, “I am so honored to be a part of the Burger Challenge once again! Such a pleasure to see restaurants and the BurgerGuyz so excited and motivated to share my passion to preserve and help promote the meat industry I love so much.”
The restaurants chosen have some of the best burgers in the Mahoning Valley, and we’ve been to more than 100 places, and yes, we are talking about the third annual Meat 16 Cheeseburger Challenge. The coveted award takes eight of the best burgers in Trumbull County and pits them against eight of the best burgers in Mahoning County. But, like the big NCAA dance, some burgers will be left out – there is no science, just fun! If you aren’t on the list this year, contact us and we will try and slot you in for next year. All the burgers in the Meat 16 are top-notch. You can’t go wrong ordering any of these beefy, cheesy gems. The fans suggested we try these burgers, and now we put them against each other to find out who will be this year’s champion.
The 2018 Meat 16 Cheeseburger Challenge is picking up steam and ready to rumble through the Valley. We picked some past participants and some new burger blood to fill out the brackets and are excited to find out who emerges victorious.
Last year brought us a new champion in Big D’s Newton Grill, and they steamrolled through the burger year, not only winning the Meat 16, but also winning 2017’s Burger of the Year. Also in the field is 2016 Champion the Magic Tree.
Ron Dillon, owner and head chef at Big D’s, said, “Winning the 2017 Meat 16 Burger Challenge has helped my business tremendously. Competing against these area restaurants is good for business. I would like to thank Burgerguyz and my fan base from Newton Falls for giving me the opportunity to be in this. With that said, I’m going out to win for the second year in a row. I’m throwing out a burger combination this year that will blow your mind. I will not have an easy time repeating as champion because the Trumbull County side of the bracket has gotten a little tougher this year. But we will work hard to send out the most delicious and cheesy burger you can get.”
The 2018 Badurik’s Butcher Block Meat 16 Rules:
A change for this year – restaurants are to provide the same burger recipe, all the way through the tournament. Example: If they stuff a burger with a Reese’s Cup and horseradish in Round 1, they are locked into that recipe for the duration of the tournament.
Burgers that are entered must appear in the restaurant’s menu, even if it is only during the tournament. Several tournament followers during last year’s tournament expressed to us on Facebook and through CD 93.3, their disappointment at not being able to try for themselves the burgers they were hearing about on the radio and Facebook, when they visited the restaurants.
Any toppings and condiments can be used, as long as they are on the restaurant’s menu during the Meat 16.
All burgers will be ordered medium-well.
For “Build-your-own” burgers, all components used in the recipe must be listed on the menu during the tournament.
Restaurants are to provide a copy of the menu with a full description of the burger.
Now, on to Burger Battle:
Bogey’s Bar & Grill (Lowelville), BurgerGuyz 2013 Burger of the Year winner, BurgerGuyz No. 1 ranked burger since Feb. 2013
Ice House (Austintown The upside down sign points to great burgers
Davidson’s (Cornersburg)2017 Meat 16 Final Four
Coaches (Poland) We were introduced to Coaches through “Boom Boom” Mancini, a burger knockout
Phoenix (Canfield) Rookie entry to the Meat 16
Pour House (Canfield) 2017 Meat 16 Final Four
Magic Tree (Boardman) 2016 Meat 16 Champion
MOJOs (Austintown) Rookie entry to the Meat 16
Big D’s Newton Grill (Newton Falls), BurgerGuyz 2017 Burger of the Year recipient, 2017 Meat 16 Champion
Lime Tree (Warren) A Warren favorite known for burger creativity
Sunrise Inn (Warren), BurgerGuyz 2011 Burger of the Year recipient
Raptis (Howland) The Tiger burger is a local favorite
Peter Allen Inn (Kinsman) Farm fresh beef and ingredients make for strong competition
Niki’z (Niles) 2017 Meat 16 Final Four
Lake Tavern (Mecca) BurgerGuyz 2012 Burger of the Year recipient
High Pointe (Niles) The High Pointe burger is just the beginning here.
Go to www.vindy.com/news/valleyfood to read all our reviews of the Meat 16 entries.
Now that the pairings are set, let the battles begin. The matches will take place at various locations throughout the Valley. The BurgerGuyz facebook will have information on those matches and keep you up to date with the results. Also, our Vindy.com blog will be updated with weekly results and previews of upcoming matches.