Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

April 8, 2014 at 8:00am

Tournament of Burgers: a champion crowned

Westside Tavern was crowned champion of the 2014 Tournament of Burgers. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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It's a simple equation. Take ground beef and add heat. Then, it becomes tricky. Choices need to be made. Griddle or grill? Plain salt or complex seasoning blend? Poppy seed or potato bun? In those choices lie the path to burger greatness.

Over the past three weeks we've pitted 64 of the South Sound's best against one another in the mother of all reader-voted burger brackets. You've seen the carnage: No. 1 seeds fell, powerhouses butted heads and surprise patties made a run at the prize. 

Yesterday, our Tournament of Burgers came to a close. The championship match pitted the Westside Tavern in Olympia against Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge in Tacoma, and you, the voters, made your decision. It was the closet margin of victory in Weekly Volcano food tournament history. For the first time, the championship party meant more than an excuse to drink on a Monday.

The day began with Maxwell's gobbling up online votes for an early lead. The Westside Tavern kept the game within a lettuce leaf's length, holding back its steak burger. At 3 p.m., Maxwell's surged forward after server Kent jumped up on the bar and broke out in what he calls the Burger Slide. With an hour left in the online voting portion, the Westside Tavern unleashed the kraken, their steak burger. When the 5 o'clock bell chimed, and the online voting closed, the Westside had a 17-vote lead.

At 6 p.m., the Tournament of Burgers moved into the live vote portion of the championship game, initiating a ballot vote and a bunch of beers at Meconi's Tacoma Pub. The Westside Tavern contingent arrived a half-hour before Team Maxwell's made its way down Saint Helens Avenue. The televised NCAA Men's Championship hoop game would every so often steal a burger conversation.

As promised, we tallied the on-location votes during halftime of the hoop game, a vote Maxwell's managed to own. After the raffle prizes found homes, and I stumbled through an explanation over Meconi's PA system, both vote sessions were combined and the Westside Tavern of Olympia was crowned the Tournament of Burgers champion by a four vote margin.

Then, a burger love fest broke out. Both restaurants congratulated each other, tossing out compliments (and tossing back shots!) as well as posing for pictures. An hour after Westside's win, both teams still held court at Meconi's, signing autographs and telling stories of early bracket victories.

Both South Sound burger joints will receive Tournament of Burgers trophies after engraving. Also, look for an upcoming feature on the Westside Tavern in the Weekly Volcano.

So it's official: Westside Tavern is the winner of Weekly Volcano's 2014 Tournament of Burgers. Eat it up, South Sound.

Thank you!

We would like to extend special THANKS! To Ricky J's Restaurant & Lounge for sponsoring the Tournament of Burgers. The popular Puyallup hangout really stepped up and made the tournament possible.

Also a big thanks to Meconi's Tacoma Pub and Eatery for hosting our Tournament of Burgers championship party last night. Good times.

But most of all, thanks to all the awesome folks who voted. You rock.

See you next spring for the Tournament of Mac N Cheese!

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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