Bernie's Burger Bus Wins the 2012 Burger Bracket

School's out for summer: The little yellow school bus that delivers some seriously juicy burgers, Bernie's Burger Bus, won our 2nd annual Burger Bracket last night at The Distillery.

It was a fortuitous time for a win, as Bernie's has just launched a second bus in its burger fleet. You can catch the original Bernie's Burger Bus and its winning entry today at Sugarbaby's, or take your pick of the two buses tomorrow -- one will be at Inversion in Montrose for lunch while the other will be at the newly renamed Boomtown Coffee in the Heights.

I was unfortunately unable to attend, due to an extremely unfortuitous bout of bronchitis. So while I was looped out on Cheratussin last night, Burger Bracket judge Jim Rassinier (better known around these parts as commenter Fatty FatBastard) helpfully took copious notes on the competition:

When I was asked to help judge this bracket, I was honored. It is always fun to get to decide who "you" consider to be the best, and I was happy to oblige. But when I found out where the finals were being held, it did seem awfully coincidental. The thing is, the owner of the place and my team all went to high school together. In fact, we kept waxing nostalgic about old stories through the years... Interestingly enough, one of our judges was working for 12 straight hours and had to bow out, so we had the Distillery owner become our substitute.

On to the burgers.

The consensus was that The Burger Guys had a very good burger, but it was too greasy and salty. I found this odd because at last year's competition I found theirs to be on the sweet side. It was still, without question, one of the better burgers in this city, and I would still recommend the place to anyone.

Next was Beaver's. Although my three other teammates thought it was good, I found mine inedible. It was powdery, tasteless and dry. Perhaps I got one of the poorer made ones, but I was far less impressed than I was on the initial tasting. And as one judge who liked it stated, "It was pretty good, but there's no way in hell I'm saying a veggie burger wins." Bottom line, Beaver's is a great place to go; just make sure and get some mac & cheese.

As to Mockingbird Bistro: It ended up being the runner up. We pretty much agreed with the result, but only from the burger that was presented. This burger was much more well done than the one we received at the restaurant, and that tended to make the Stilton cheese overpower the actual burger. I'll have to stress again that everyone needs to try this at the actual restaurant to truly understand the greatness of this burger. That said, I think Mockingbird may have dodged a bullet, because this is apparently a profit loser at this fantastic restaurant.

As much as we loved the burgers, we were in agreement with the choice of Bernie's Burger Bus being the best this year. The mushrooms, bacon, bun... This is definitely another place you simply have to try. I talked to the owner for a few minutes about where they set up shop, and he rattled off at least five different places, including the Marquis II and Inversion coffee house. But his best piece of advice? Find them on Twitter or Facebook because he makes a "Study Hall" burger once a month that includes... Well, like them and find out.

All in all, this was a blast and hopefully we get the honor of judging again in the future.

Thanks to Jim for the recap, thanks to the four finalists for participating and thanks to everyone who came out. Until next March!

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Katharine Shilcutt