Sweet Basil Crowned 2019 ‘Battle of the Burgers’ Champion
(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography)
Sweet Basil Italian Restaurant & Bar of Shippenville finished in first place, followed by Clarion River Brewing Company of Clarion, and Seldom Inn of Tionesta.
Sweet Basil owner Jason Conley and Chef John Davis cooked the winning burger – “The Kickin’ Jack & Bleu Burger” – and accepted the trophy for the restaurant.
The second place burger – “The Brewery Burger” – was presented by Clarion River Brewing Company Co-Owner Jeremy Borkowski and Chef Ryan Passamore. The Brewery Burger also won the Fan’s Choice award, receiving the most in-restaurant votes among the twelve burgers in the contest.
The “Seldom Stryker Burger,” presented by Seldom Inn Owner Terri Obenrader and Chef Bo Swiatek, notched third place and was declared the “Messiest Burger.”
The show, hosted by Dustin “Crowbar” Kifer, featured four taste-testers who rated each burger on a 1-10 scale.
The taste-testers were Caleb “Sledgehammer” Kifer, of Clarion; Lexis Twentier, of Knox; Paul Recklein, of Delmont; and Kelsey Hawk of Clarion.
Twelve restaurants within Clarion, Forest, and Jefferson counties participated in the month-long competition which started with diner voting at the restaurants.
First Place: The Kickin’ Jack & Bleu Burger
Location: 21108 Paint Boulevard, Shippenville, Pa.
About the Burger: The Kickin’ Jack & Bleu Burger is an 8 oz. Cajun-seared burger topped with bacon, bleu cheese crumbles and dressing, tangy Jack Daniels infused BBQ sauce, and crispy onion rings served on a toasted Kaiser roll.
Second Place/Fan’s Choice: The Brewery Burger
Clarion River Brewing
Location: 600 Main Street, Clarion, Pa.
About the Burger: The Brewery Burger is 1/2 pound of Clarion Port Farms Beef. This burger has pulled pork with CRB’s house balsamic BBQ sauce, potato pierogies, fried onion straws, house beer cheese made with CRB’s Iron Furnace American Pale Ale and, of course, bacon, on a toasted bun topped with a dill pickle.
Third Place/Messiest Burger, Seldom Stryker Burger
The Seldom Inn
Location: 255 Route 36, Tionesta, Pa.
About the Burger: The Seldom Stryker Burger is a bourbon pulled-pork stuffed burger topped with roasted red peppers, bacon, pepper jack cheese with beer battered shrimp.
The Grille Burger
The Allegheny Grille
Location: 40 Main Street, Foxburg, Pa.
About the Burger: The Grille Burger is a pork/beef burger topped with pepper jack cheese, avacodo, spinach, and and egg.
Location: 626 Lawsonham Road, Rimersburg, Pa.
About the Burger: The Rimersburger is a juicy 1/2 pound burger topped with a melted layer of pepper jack cheese, crisp onion rings and BBQ sauce nestled on a toasted bun, lettuce, and tomato.
Umami Ribeye Burger
Location: 301 Wood Street, New Bethlehem, Pa.
About the Burger: The Umami Burger is an eight ounce Clarion Farms burger seasoned with Zack’s Umami Dry Rub and topped with a buttery sautéed mushroom blend consisting of cremini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. It is smothered in baby swiss cheese and served on a freshly baked kaiser roll with a roasted garlic aioli.
Gold Eagle Inn
Location: 250 West Main Street, Brookville, Pa.
About the Burger: The Vendetta is a burger for steak lovers. It consists of charcoal-grilled to order angus beef burger on a toasted sesame bun with roasted red pepper sauce, spinach and artichoke dip, and house made tortilla chips.
The Voo Doo Burger
The Iron Mountain Grille
Location: 10638 Route 36, Clarington, Pa.
About the Burger: The Voo Doo Burger is a 1/2 pound fresh angus burger topped with cheddar cheese, jalapeño peppers, onion rings, and two strips of bacon and Sriracha sauce.
Bacon Cheese Dino Burger
Location: 19298 Route 208, Fryburg, Pa.
About the Burger: The Bacon Cheese Dino Burger is a 1/2 pound lean burger with provolone cheese, American cheese, and bacon topped with lettuce and a slice of tomato.
Bourbon Bacon Burger
Ramada Bar and Grill
Location: 45 Holiday Inn Road, Clarion, Pa.
About the Burger: The Bourbon Bacon Burger is topped with smoked cheddar cheese, bourbon caramelized onions, peppered cherrywood smoked bacon, and roasted garlic aioli.
Trail’s End Brisket Burger
Location: 2738 Forest Road, Cooksburg, Pa.
About the Burger: The Trail’s End brisket burger is an angus burger topped with provolone cheese, grilled onions, brisket, BBQ seasoning, and Trails End’s own tangy special sauce. It is served on a toasted garlic bun.
The Vegan Heathen
Location: 31729 Route 66, Leeper, Pa.
About the Burger: The Vegan Heathen is a perfectly grilled aged ground steak patty or an Impossible vegetarian patty topped with a thick sliced tomato and fresh burrata cheese drizzled with a balsamic glaze served over basil and icicle lettuce on a toasted brioche bun.
Here are more photos from the competition, captured by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media Photography:
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