Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Steinbach Burger Days is back but it won’t last long, so plan ahead or you’ll be left playing ketchup.
The third annual hamburger contest, organized by the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, runs Sept. 12-19.
Inspired by Le Burger Week, a weeklong festival celebrating the best burgers in Canada, Steinbach Burger Days sees local restaurants create signature burgers and add them to the menu for one week only.
Ten local restaurants entered last year. This year, 15 have signed up, including last year’s defending champions: Quarry Oaks, R-Bistro, and New B’s Cafe.
They’ll face stiff competition from newcomers like Golden Fried and Bigg Smoak.
Bigg Smoak owner Rob Turner said his goal was to create a burger "that’s out of this world."
The result, dubbed the Bigg Smoak BBQ Burger, features three different types of cheese melted over three butter-fried Waygu beef patties. Dill pickle slices and two chicken-fried brisket cubes are perched atop the grilled brioche bun.
"It’s zero filler, it’s juicy, it’s flavourful," Turner said.
Michelle Bezditny, executive director of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce, said local restaurants are going to greater and greater lengths to create something uniquely flavourful and eye-catching.
"One restaurant has actually worked for approximately a year to develop the burger that they want to showcase," Bezditny said.
Burger Days entries are judged in three categories: Best Tasting Burger, Most Creative Burger, and Best Presentation.
Bezditny said it’s been "very exciting" to watch Burger Days grow into a regional contest, with restaurants in New Bothwell and Niverville taking part.
"We’ve found that it’s almost become a bit of a foodie tour."
This year, Burger Days is also a show of support for a food service industry hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We didn’t want to change the event per se, but we did want to just let our community know that supporting our business community actually strengthens our entire community and region," Bezditny said.
Given the circumstances, this year’s entry fee, which covers the cost of promotion and prizes, was waived for chamber members.
"The chamber is incurring the entire cost of the event," Bezditny said. "Part of our platform is the support local piece, so this is one way that we are supporting our local economy."
While dining rooms remain open, Bezditny said takeout orders may prove popular this year.
To taste all the burgers before the week is up, she recommends sharing with family and friends. Of course, there’s still the option to tackle an entire burger yourself.
"Put on your stretchy pants," Bezditny said.
Diners are encouraged to take a selfie with their burger and post it on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #SteinbachBurgerDays to be entered to win one of several prizes from winning restaurants. Diners who also rate the burger in all three categories—taste, creativity, presentation—are entered to win again.
This year’s slate of burgers doesn’t include any options for vegetarians or vegans. Bezditny said Burger Days has featured meatless options in the past, and would welcome them again, but doesn’t place requirements on participating restaurants.
"We will not turn anybody away. We welcome any creation."
For more information and to view photos of this year’s burger entries, visit the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce website. Category winners will be announced Sept. 25.
Bigg Smoak – Bigg Smoak BBQ Burger
Boston Pizza – The Honey Bacon Cajun (HBC)
Chicken Chef – Big Red
Chinos Bistro – The Farm Boy
Doener Grill Express – Double Doener Smash Burger
Golden Fried – The Golden Bacon Cheese Burger
Hespeler’s Cookhouse and Tavern – The Drunken Homesteader
Lecoka Cafe / Pita Hut – The Meg
Mary Brown’s Chicken – Big Mary
MJ’s Kafe – Naohbaa Burger
New B’s Cafe – B’s Island Burger
Quarry Oaks – The Back Nine Burger
R-Bistro – Gourmet Surf and Turf Burger
Sawney Bean’s – The DFB
Smitty’s – Monte Bennie Burger