|The winning burgers on the grill.
|A cross section of Big Orange's winning entry, plus
|Johnny Burger from Johnny B's.
|Arkansas Burger from The Hive at 21c.
|The Humburger at Hamburger Station.
Or the humble Humburger, the mustard-and-onion combined greasebomb served up over the ages at the venerable yet tiny Hamburger Station along the railroad tracks in downtown Paragould.
|The Herb Burger at Herb's
Creamland in Ashdown.
|The Barnbuster at The Back Forty.
|The Hubcap Burger at Cotham's Mercantile.
So many burgers -- hundreds of worthy possibilities all over The Natural State -- is it any wonder that there's been no definitive crown placed upon the brow of a master burgerslinger in Arkansas?
I could go on for days about magnificent morsels of beef on bread, with or without cheese, tied together with a range of condiments and vegetation… but I believe the better service to you is to share who’s participating in this challenge. Those valiant competitors:
|The Maytag Blue Cheese Burger at Big Orange.
Café 42. You know, I’ve never had the burger at this restaurant that sits below the Clinton Presidential Library. I always have a sandwich or soup or the blue cheese cheesecake. So I’ll be excited to see what comes out of this pretty little place.
|A cheeseburger at David's Burgers.
EJ’s Eats and Drinks. This late competitor is a Little Rock standard, and I expect great things. Those third-of-a-pound ovoids smashed on the grill with that split top bun are so good, you can’t ever really find a table right off the bat at lunchtime. If EJ’s manages to sneak in some of its housemade barbecue spiced potato chips to the judges, they’ll take the prize.
Heifer Café. Wait, Heifer International has a café? Of course they do. Café@Heifer is a splendid River Market secret, with Grab & Go lunches and pastries and a decent delicious lunch selection that includes pizza, salads, sandwiches and a couple of burgers. The dark horse in this competition, it could be what puts the eatery on the map. I’m eager to see how they do.
Stratton’s Market. Let’s be honest – this is really Dugan’s Pub competing under the name of their attached grocery. And that’s awesome. Dugan’s has been making pretty dang good burgers since before they were Dugan’s. What? Oh, yeah, before Dugan’s those burgers were coming out of Markham Street Pub. How about one of those savory-saucy-soak the bun burgers?
There may be more competitors to come… and that’d be great. Sure, there’s a $500 on the line – but it’s that title that has me intrigued. Grill on, guys.
If you want to check this competition out, it’ll be held between 2:30 and 4:30 over there at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette Family Free Zone. Come hungry. Oh, and check out this site for all this information you’ll need to optimize your Riverfest experience.
And to see more photos of burgers, click here.
Photos from the competition: