The 2017 Badurik’s Butcher Block Cheeseburger Challenge Meat 16 has begun and the first week brought some surprises.
Round 1, Match 1 - Magic Tree vs. The Village Pump at 93.3 The Wolf - Board of Judges: Fast Freddie, Ron Potesta, Greg Bartholomew
Starting with match number one, the gauntlet was thrown down. The Village Pump owner, Chef Travis Romine teamed up with last year’s runner-up, Rick "The Mad Burger Scientist" Lohr, (then with Just Fred's), and brought some heat with their burger in an attempt to dethrone the reining champ, Magic Tree Pub and Eatery. A close match but Chef Tank created another masterpiece utilizing fresh locally grown ingredients with a little bone marrow -- and it worked, sealing a 2 - 1 decision in round one for Magic Tree.
Round 1, Match 2 - Just Fred's vs. Crossroads at Badurik's Butcher Block - Board of Judges: Andrew Garris, Sylvia Meris, Chris Koulianos
Last year, Just Fred’s made it all the way to the final before losing a 3 - 0 decision to Magic Tree in the Championship. This time, their bid ended early as they put up their pirogi burger on the line against a more traditional burger entered by Crossroads Bar & Grill. Two out of three of the judges chose traditional.
Round 1, Match 3 - Barry Dyngles vs. Davidson's at The Vindicator - Board of Judges: Jordyn Grzelewski, Bertram de Souza, Todd Franko
Less than 3 miles apart, this one qualifies as a backyard brawl! Barry Dyngles has had phenomenal national success at rib burn-offs chose to enter their "Youngstown Burger," that features mouthwatering Italian greens. Davidson's countered with a burger topped with tangy pulled pork which was enough to score a 2 - 1 decision.
Round 1, Match 4 - Bogey's vs. Steamers at Christmas Automotive - Board of Judges: Tom Christmas, Chuck Kountz, Nick Lambert
Chef Mel McKee wants there to be no doubt that Bogey's Bar and Grill makes the best burgers in the valley. He presented his case in the form of a masterpiece he calls the 4 Cheese Grilled Cheese Bacon Brioche Melt. His amazing creation had the room drooling and scored a 3 - 0 KO of a very good entry from Steamers Stonewall Tavern.