Many will say that nothing beats a juicy All-American burger, so one can only assume Coral Gables’ Burgerlicious Festival is a guaranteed hit. Last Thursday’s event pit twenty different burgers against one another in a delicious battle royale. Endless sandwiches, paired with refreshing seasonal Sam Adams beer on a crisp autumn night, assured guests had the recipe for a successful evening. Attendees flooded Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park, where the best joints around the Gables showcased their take on this American classic. The festival also kicked-off Miami Live Music Month, a premier program of the Great Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. You can be we enjoyed every last bite.
First stop for many was the Sam Adams tent where imbibers had their option of a variety of Sam Adams bottles, from Winter Lager to Cherry Wheat. Angry Orchard Ciders were also on hand if beer is not your drink of choice. For oenophiles, wine company, The Naked Grape, was doling out samples of their red and white wines from Malbec to Moscato.
Arguably the most popular burger of the night came from acclaimed Morton’s The Steakhouse. Their slider consisted of broiled primed beef with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, on a mini onion egg roll. You were lucky if you got a taste- their team was grilling from the start and ran out by 8pm.
Other standouts included Pincho Factory’s The Champ , Elevation Burger’s classic cheeseburger and Rok: Bgr’s Bacon Jam Slider- American Kobe beef, maple bourbon bacon jam, creamy brie cheese, served on a brioche bun.
If beef is not your meat of choice, The Cafe at Books & Books was slinging a veggie mushroom burger, CRAVE offered a spicy Asian pork slider and Sushi Maki served a spicy tuna slider, with sushi-grade tuna, jalapeno, cilantro, ginger and blazing mayo, topped with pickled cucumber and served on a Hawaiian sweet roll.
For other sweet treats, Seasons 52 had their classic dessert shooters on-hand and Ben & Jerry’s was scooping chocolate, cookie dough, strawberry cheesecake and more for ice cream lovers to enjoy.
While the festival was all in good fun, there was a bit of competition added to the mix. Nine judges, including Miami’s most notable food bloggers, popular radio host Nick on the Radio and the Mayor of the City of Coral Gables, participated in a blind tasting of all the night’s offerings. In the end, Shula’s 347 Grill took home the judges’ choice “Best in Bun” award, while The Dome snagged the “People’s Choice” award.
According to Mark A. Trowbridge, President and CEO of The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, the festival was “designed to position Coral Gables as a foodie mecca, no matter your style, budget or gastronomic cravings,” and we can say it fulfilled his mission. With each bite more satisfying than the last, the event reaffirmed the Gables’ standing as a South Florida dining destination, no matter what you crave…. Especially if that craving is a burger.
By Miami Food Critic, Cassie Glenn