1st Annual Burger Brawl – Stories and Photos of the big day

While you were at the Roots Picnic or the Italian Street Festival around the corner, I was scarfing down some of the 17 variety of burgers being offered at the Burger Brawl which was a competition featuring burgers prepared by chefs from some of the area’s top restaurants and burger joints, including Chef Marcie Turney of Barbuzzo, Bindi and Lolita; Chef Matt Levin of Adsum restaurant; Top Chef contestant Chef Jennifer Carroll of 10Arts; Fairmount legend London Grill Chef Michael McNally; Midatlantic and R2L; Table 31; (my new advertiser note the live link) Butcher & Singer; Pub & Kitchen; Good Dog; North Third; Alfa; Ladder 15; PYT; Paesano’s; Rouge and their sister restaurant, 500˚ served burgers too, but did not participate in the competition (very ABC6 of them). (I really didn’t eat all 17 burgers, but the judges sure did.)
The event was the brain child of Maggie and Rob Wasserman, owners of Rouge and 500˚, to raise money for their son’s school Meredith Elementary School computer lab.
I remember when Rob first began to talk about the event back in the winter. A bunch of us were at 10 Arts one late evening and Rob was telling us about the fund-raising idea he had for his sons schoold. I was there that Marcie Turney, Matt Levin and Jen Carroll all got on board. I spent the next 5 months salivating in anticipation of the day since I am one the biggest burger lover in Philly.
Adsum’s Matt Levin signing the Burger Brawl poster as Rob Wasserman looks on.

The judges are seated for what would turn into a nearly 5 hour, burger busting competition tasting 17 different burgers made with the sweat and tears from various cooks. Above L-R WMMR’s Matt Cord, Sen Larry Farnese, Fox29’s Mike Jerrick, Food Networks Marc Summers and entrepreneur Audrey Claire TaichmanThe tears may have been coming from the massive amount of smoke created by the charcoal grills the burgers were cooked on? David Ansil from Ladder 15 gets his grill on.
Rob Wasserman (seated nearby was his wife Maggie who is 9 months pregnant and whose unborn child will be attending Meridith in 5 years, I bet.) Meridith Principal Cindy Farlino and Mayor Nutter, who was nice enough to stop by, greet the guests and the children were thrilled.
Who wouldn’t want to go to John’s Water Ice and pick up a delicious lemon or cherry flavor treat from Anthony Cardullo?
Multi-Flow’s Gerry Bram, Owne Rothstein and Jason Ziller. They have every flavor of pop you love including cream soda, root beer and orange.
Guarding the gate and handing out the colored tongue depressors that folks would drop into the buckets above, that were placed on each chef’s table, are Kristina Skladaitis, Anna Maria Cavaliri and Michelle Durante

Butcher & Singer’s Alexis Audino and John Gonzalez. John tells me that B&S uses a special blend to create their delicious burger.
Yum burger – Sighted during the day Dana Spain, Justin Wineburgh, Dave Maser, Lt Ray Evers, Brett Rosenbloom, Sharon Pinkenson and Joe Weiss, Jose Rios, Michelle Durante, Cory Baller, Tom Stepek, Gianna Cuccurollo, Boe Hunt, Tim O’Brien, Jonathan Adams, Dan Carr, Palmer Marinelli, Joshua Vasquez, Evan Oxenfeldt, Lindsay Kaskowitz and Esther Oh.

What’s this? The Philadelphia fireman tell the security that a neighbor smelled smoke but didn’t know where it was coming from. Thought maybe a building was on fire so the firetruck was roaming the streets following the smoke and here it is. Are you sure there’s no fire the guy said to the security? The Prodigal Security guy explained about the charity burger brawl going on…
and soon enough the Ladder 5 guys were enjoying some Ladder 15 burgers.
Marc Summers and Audrey Taichman

Mayor Nutter congratulates, er I mean greets the crew from London including chef Michael McNally as bar manager Cristina Tessaro looks on. Cristina tells me this years Bastille Day will be July 16, so mark it down.
On left, Anne Nikolaus is wearing some of the Stella Dot jewelery she sells.

It’s Beer Week and I haven’t had a second to write about it. Check out their schedule here, and check out 6ABC’s FYI this weekend for a clip on Beer Week as well as places inspired by Beer Week like Raw and The Corner. The Corner’s patio is now open for the summer. Check it out. They have a great late night menu as well, serving from Thursdays to Saturdays til 1am. How cool that the Burger Brawl had a DJ spinning all day long, and when an event is nearly 6 hours you get to hear all the tunes you love.
The Mayor meets the students. Later that evening I ran into the Mayor at the Schuylkill River Park Be Green and Eat party at 25th & Spruce. We both get around.

Philadelphia Inquirer’s Elizabeth Wellington and Tara Miller. Later that evening the girls headed over to The Roots Picnic at Festival Pier. I admire them for their stamina. I ran into my “former boss” Inqlings Michael Klein, I miss that column and having my photos published every Sunday too, anyway Mike has a few new projects coming up this year, one is a new website on on July 7. The Ultimate Food site I hear. Just anticipating it makes my mouth water.
Speaking of mouth watering Mr. SweetTooth himself Scott Lean was hanging out with former Miss Pennsylvania, Samantha Carrie Johnson. Scott owns the most delicious candy store Sweettooth (630 S. Fourth St.). I think he should expand into Center City. It’s not like Nuts to You, it’s like Dylan’s in NYC. You could have birthday parties there. Hey shops at Liberty Place I know you read me, do you have a great space, that would be the perfect spot.
Old friends’ R2l & MidAtlantic’s Sue Mahoney and PHS Director of Development, Laura Burkhardt bond over burgers Saturday.
Rob Wasserman, Chefs Jen Carroll, Marcie Turney and Matt Levin share a Four Loko. Matt tells me he still has over a dozen cases of the stuff left so there’s a good chance another signature dinner could happen.

Caleb Clark and Cindy Clark enjoy their day out together.

“Art of The Steal” film makers Sheena Joyce and Dan Argott with Demian Fenton and Missy Meyers. Sheena tells me that Damian edited the new film “Last Days Here”, which was sold at SWSW Film Festival this year. Congrats!!
Here’s CEO Greg Osberg of Philadelphia Media Holdings, which includes, Philly Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer hands out the burger contest awards voted on by the readers. First, 2nd and third places: MidAtlantic, Good Dog, and 10 Arts. Accepting for 10 Arts is Ryan Reigel, Food & Beverage Service Manager.
Richard and Ariel Bronstein. Richard and I grew up in Cherry Hill around the same time and reminisced about our childhood days there.
During a seventh inning stretch one of the meat purveyors gave out tshirts to the judges. Here’s Mike Jerrick and Matt Cord with Matt’s girlfriend Debby Rody
Mike Jerrick reaches for the very last burger of the day (probably for the month). By this time he and Marc Summers are a bit punch drunk after sitting at the judging table for 5 hours. Did you know Mayor Nutter is a vegetarian. Who knew?
Finally the judging is over. Rob thanks everyone for a job well done. Which reminds me earlier in the day the Health Inspectors were checking each station. They wanted all the burgers well done. One chef said if that were the case he would rather balance hot coals on his eyes. Well a compromise was worked out and we all enjoyed delicious burgers.
Stephanie Kuo with Rogue GM Liji Balodis. Liji was a huge help in coordinating the entire days event. Thanks!! Then the winners were announced.
10 Arts Bistro and chef Jennifer Carroll won the judge’s vote for best burger. Her burger, which I have had at the restaurant had cheddar, pickles, lettuce, thin-sliced tomato, red onion, ketchup and Dijon mustard. Jen tweeted that the burger will be served every night til midnight in the 10 Arts Lounge (Which is good since I sometimes wind down my night at 10 Arts)
Mr. Sweettooth tweeted Saturday night…