Foodies savored gourmet burgers from over 20 of Coral Gables’ finest restaurants while enjoying live music and entertainment at the second annual Burgerliscious festival on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park.
“Burgerliscious showcases how great the culinary community is in Coral Gables. There’s something for everyone here,” said Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. “My favorite thing about Burgerliscious is the camaraderie amongst the restaurants. There’s a bit of friendly competition.”
Enjoying the cool weather and laid-back atmosphere, approximately 1,200 guests selected from an array of burgers and sliders, which they washed down with beer or soft drinks from 6 to 10 p.m. at the park, 2810 Ponce de Leon Blvd. The grounds were lined with tents and booths, showcasing an array of masterpiece burgers. Cars were sprinkled throughout the lawn, courtesy of South Motors BMW, giving guests a glance at the latest in automotive technology and luxury.
As they advanced from station to station, many guests stopped to pose for pictures. Popular photo-ops were the Ben & Jerry’s booth, featuring a carnival cutout of Jimmy Fallon showcasing his “Late Night Snack” ice cream, along with the Cool de Sac display, where Zaky, a costumed canine character, charmed guests.
Musical entertainment was provided by The Stage, featuring Mad World Orchestra and DJ Mayner. The Burgerliscious festival kicked off Miami Live Music Month, a premier program of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Mad World Orchestra, a South Florida 80’s alternative music band, played a set of crowd-pleasing songs, including With or Without You by U2 and Surrender by Cheap Trick. DJ Mayner followed with Michael Jackson hits and some party favorites of the Miami club scene.
True to its name, Burgerliscious put some of the Gables’ juiciest sliders and burgers in the mouths of guests. However, the event was not limited to traditional beef-made burgers.
Vegetarian and fish selections, such as salads, sushi, and chips with humus, were also available. After sampling the entrees, guests could select dessert options of brownies or ice cream.
“The food was great! I tried just about everything,” said Regina Starrett, whose favorite slider was the non-traditional ahi tuna burger from Sushi Maki. “The people here are wonderful and so is the music. It’s very casual, fun, and uplifting.”
After sampling each burger, guests and a panel of judges, made up of food writers, chefs and civic leaders, voted for their favorite.
Among the judges was Mayor Jim Cason, who called himself the “bürgermeister” (“mayor” in German), throughout the night as he sported a cheeseburger-style hat. “This is a fabulous event that brings together people from all over South Florida,” said Mayor Cason. “It’s truly a beautiful time and lots of fun.”
The Dome Restaurant Bar & Lounge won over the public’s taste buds with its tasty selections, earning it People’s Choice title, while the burgers from Shula’s 347 Grill were crowned Best in Bun.
Additional participants included Angelique Euro Café, The Bar, Burger and Beer Joint, The Café @ Coral Gables | Books & Books, Christy’s Restaurant, Coral Gables Senior High School Culinary Arts Academy, Crave, 1862 Room at the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables, Elevation Burger, JohnMartin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, Morton’s the Steakhouse Pao Town, Pincho Factory, Rok:Brgr, Route 9, Seasons 52, Shake Shack, Sushi Maki and Tarpon Bend Raw Bar & Grill
The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Samuel Adams and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau partnered to present the event. A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation to help support local small businesses.
Burgerliscious was sponsored by Sam Adams, the city of Coral Gables, Brown-Forman Beverages, the Naked Grape and the Coral Gables Chamber.
Photos by Betty Alvarez / Events Photographer