2017-02-16 / Front Page

‘Burger Bender’ Spices Up Winter Festivities

By Betsy Sherman Walker

The latest addition to Newport’s playbook of winter events has nothing to do with music or comedy or ice sculptures or polo on the beach, and everything to do with taste buds. For a 10-day stretch beginning on Friday, Feb. 17, it will be the goal of some of Newport's most creative chefs to make a name for their restaurant by earning the title for the best burger in town.

Continuing through Sunday, Feb. 26, in an effort to encourage more local dining out during the frosty crusty days of February, Discover Newport is introducing the Newport "Burger Bender." Including eateries throughout Newport and Bristol counties, this culinary competition is designed to elevate the humble hamburger from the ground up, so to speak.

Call it a quarter-pounder with benefits.

“This is just another example of how in our destination, the offseason is on,” said Kathryn Farrington, Discover Newport's vice president of marketing. “What better way to savor this extraordinary time of year? The fire is lit, the energy is palpable and the best seat in the house awaits!”

Chefs who have thrown their toques into the ring are limited to one burger per establishment. Restaurants involved have entered both menu favorites and burgers created especially for this event.

To date, 23 restaurants throughout Newport and Bristol counties have entered the competition, and offer everything from local Aquidneck Farms beef (Brix at Newport Vineyards) to burgers topped with fried oysters and Gruyère cheese (Midtown Oyster Bar). There’s also a bevy of creative entries, including a pork belly and chorizo burger (Saltwater at Newport Harbor Hotel), a “Turducken” burger featuring ground turkey and duck confit (Scratch Kitchen & Catering) and “The Woodsman,” a venison burger with herbed goat cheese spread and a wild mushroom medley (The Wharf Pub).

For the past few weeks, area chefs have been “bringing the heat” to "The Rhode Show" on WPRI 12/CBS Providence by cooking up their entries.

The burger with the most votes will be crowned the winner. A "Critic’s Choice” winner will also be named by a lauded Rhode Island food critic.

For a list of participating restaurants, a full description of their entries, and to vote, diners can go to the Newport Burger Bender website at discovernewport.org/ burger-bender. Those casting a vote will be automatically entered to win one of Discover Newport’s daily giveaways throughout the contest.

Diners can tag their burger photos on social media with the hashtag #NPTrightnow. Tagged photos will also be automatically entered to win daily giveaways.



(Photos courtesy of Discover Newport) (Photos courtesy of Discover Newport)

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