Sweet 16: The 2012 Burger Bracket Begins

The Final Four venue has been secured.

The judges have been chosen.

The Sweet 16 have been selected.

The 2012 Burger Bracket commences today.

The 16 competitors listed below will compete in one of four brackets: Fancy-Pants, Fast Food-Style, Extreme and Veggie, categories as defined by our Burger Bracket rulebook at A Hamburger Today.

The one category you won't see in AHT's style guide, however, is the veggie burger. The good folks at Serious Eats and AHT do not consider veggie burgers to be "burgers" because the patty isn't made of beef, and rightly so.

But we here at EOW wanted to see how four of the city's best veggie burgers -- which are delicious in and of themselves, and not as meat-mimicking substitutes for real hamburgers -- would fare in an overall burger competition nevertheless. I'm a devout carnivore myself, and even I would have a hard time choosing between a fried egg-topped burger from The Burger Guys and a Dirty Burque from Green Seed Vegan. And I'm not even trying to be contrary.

As with our last Burger Bracket, one burger from each category will eventually advance into the Final Four. This means the showdown on Monday, April 2, will feature a fast food-style burger, an extreme burger, a fancy-pants burger and, yes, a veggie burger. And you'll be the final judges.

We're inviting our readers out to Distillery 2520 (at the corner of Houston Avenue and White Oak) on April 2 to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball championship game and taste all four final burgers. The event is free, and your judgment is vital to determining the 2012 Burger Bracket champion.

Until then, wish our reader judges luck as they begin narrowing down each bracket. The Elite 8 will be announced on March 12.

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Katharine Shilcutt