'Best Burger in Tampa Bay' goes to EATS! American Grill

EATS! beat out seven other restaurants and vendors to win Saturday's Burger Showdown title.

On Saturday, eight Bay area restaurants and vendors gathered in downtown Tampa to showcase their stepped-up burger creations.

The Burger Showdown's big winner, EATS! American Grill, walked away with three awards at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park — Bring the Heat, Best Beef Burger and Best Burger in Tampa Bay, the competition's top honor.

Imaginative entries like the Duffy's katsu burger, served with poke slaw, lobster fried rice and a sweet rib, graced the patty battle.

Carlynn Crosby

The park was comfortably full during the fifth annual event, whose lines held between 20 to 30 people per booth.

Other spots that reigned victorious: Grille One Sixteen's doughnut burger (Best Use of Bacon), Champions Sports Bar's spicy Caribbean jerk chicken (Best Other Than Beef) and WOW! That's Fresh (People's Choice Award).

Last year's Best Burger in Tampa Bay winner, James Joyce Irish Pub, and the newly opened Duffy's Sports Bar also competed at the burger battle. The event, which iHeartRadio host Corey Dylan said was about supporting local businesses, raised money for students of Chamberlain High School's Culinary Operations Academy.

Chef Matthew Bartholomay, an instructor at the Academy who announced the winning restaurants, said proceeds from the Burger Showdown were "helping kids go to school." The students, assisting chefs and judges, could be seen scurrying around in "Straight Outta Culinary" T-shirts.

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