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Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Battle is on for Delaware’s Best Burgers: Tips for First-time Burgeristas

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Head Chef Dan Butler of Piccolina Toscana received an honorable mention in 2016 for his “visually stunning and incredible-tasting” burger, grilled over applewood chips, served with Gorgonzola slaw, crispy pork belly, and a Hotel DuPont brioche.

When it was in its infancy, the Delaware Burger Battle’s planning committee heard a common refrain: nobody will buy tickets to an event in Wilmington in August.

Cut to year seven of this energetic charity event, and not only has this shindig proven the old logic to be false, but the party seems to have ushered in a new breed of summer itinerary in northern Delaware. This year’s competition is on Saturday, August 25that Noon.

Attendees juggle burgers and beer, but they figure it out.

Delaware Food Battle’s founder JulieAnne Cross credits a few things with this paradigm shift. “The Saturday before Labor Day weekend is two days before a ton of schools start. Even people who spend their whole summer at a beach house are often home that weekend, getting backpacks together. And Wilmington has changed. It doesn’t empty out in the summer.”

Starting in 2017, multiple organizations have staged beer and food events in the weeks prior to the Delaware Burger Battle, which turns out to be a coup for this veteran event. “I’m a beach goer myself,” says Cross. “But since I’m home planning a big fundraiser, I’m super excited to have fun events to attend earlier in August. And you know I show up with my burger shirt on and a pocket full of Burger Battle flyers.”

What makes Delaware Burger Battle different is this: the ticket price is all-inclusive. And there is no VIP versus general admission. “Everybody is a VIP,” Cross says.

She offers her tips for first-time burgeristas, to make your experience as great as it can be:

Have a buddy system. With 17 restaurants presenting 19 burger samples—which are usually a quartered burger or a slider—eating them all means you’re consuming nearly five full hamburgers. Grab your bestie and share bites of each entry.

What to bring: your kids, your ID, a cup, a Frisbee (TONS of room to recreate at Cauffiel House), weather-appropriate footwear (it’s rain or shine) and sunblock.

It’s a family-friendly event. See deburgerbattle.com for kids’ pricing.

Last year, the Battle welcomed outside tumblers, which probably kept 500 disposable cups out of the landfill. There is a size limit – bring your 20oz Oktoberfest cup, and not Das Boot – and you’ll be asked to show that the vessel is empty when you leave the party. On your way out, check in at the gate and your cup will entitle you to an entry into a drawing for 2019 tickets.

Procrastinators beware. Online ticket sales end at 6 pm the night before the Battle, so lists and things can be printed and packed. Prices go up to $10 at the gate, but that’s only if the event isn’t sold out in advance. The Noon competition is time sensitive: don’t show up at 2:30 pm thinking you still have an hour to eat and vote; votes take time to count, and, naturally, supplies dwindle after the first hours. (Not beer. Beer is plentiful. And there is wine, honey mead and vodka to sample.)

These ladies are prepared for battle wearing sleeveless tops, sunglasses and cross-body purses.

Plan your transportation. With the beverage-included ticket price, you’ll want to consider a designated driver or a car service. The address is 1016 Philadelphia Pike; follow signs for parking and drop off. If you’re driving, carpooling is strongly recommended.

“Parking for the event has been free so far, and we’d like to keep it that way by being conservative with our parking,” Cross explains.

Guests can grab a shuttle from the remote parking lot or make the .3 mile (roughly 8-minute) walk to the site. Handicapped guests can park on site.

What not to bring: dogs and other pets; 17 hot grills and curious, hungry puppers are a bad mix. You generally don’t even need cash—the all-inclusive price means you don’t get nickel and dimed for various perks. (Although there is a 50/50 every year, as well as t-shirt sales, but these can be purchased with a card.)

You’ll miss moments like this (Chelsae Tavern wins Delaware Burger Battle 2016) if you leave before the winners are announced.

Delaware Burger Battle is 100% volunteer-run, with all proceeds benefitting Delaware charities. This year’s beneficiaries are Food Bank of Delaware and Delaware ProStart.


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Latest News

Despite momentum shifts, Ursuline women take down Woodbridge, 51-41

Ursuline's Emily Rzucidlo had a game-high 22 points, including 10-13 from the free throw line.

State cases continue to decline as mass vaccinations start; here’s where to be tested

State Walgreens have given 100,000 tests to Delaware residents.

Back-and-forth game ends with St. E beating Sanford 62-57

The two powerhouse teams haven't played each other since January 2015.
- Thank you to our sponsor -
- Thank you to our sponsor -

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