Burger Brawl returns

Photo by Kory Aversa

Who has the best burger in Philadelphia? 

That title is once again up for grabs as Philly Burger Brawl makes its tasty return to Xfinity LIVE! on Oct. 23. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, more than 60 local restaurants will be vying for the top spot while raising money for the city’s Parks and Recreation’s Teen Engagement Initiative & eSports Center Development.

“Philly Burger Brawl is back again with a brand-new lineup of restaurants ready to fire up the grills for an amazing cause,” said Philly Burger Brawl organizer and Rouge owner Rob Wasserman. “This is a special year that will highlight the resilience and creativity our restaurateurs displayed as they navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic. We welcome back some familiar faces doing this for years and years back to the beginning, as well as fresh faces new to the scene that emerged during the last two years.”

The Burger Brawl will celebrate its 10th edition and will be held this year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 23. Tickets to the rain-or-shine event are $40 (through Sept. 15) for general admission and are on sale at phillyburgerbrawl.com. Tickets will be $50 after Sept. 15. VIP tickets are $100 and include perks such as early entry, a VIP lounge and unlimited drinks from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Burger lovers are invited to enjoy all-you-can-eat samples of the region’s best, most inventive and most unusual burger creations. Festival goers will then cast their vote for People’s Choice, while food critics, writers and celebrity judges pick the Judge’s Choice. There will be a cocktail competition, music, entertainment and other surprises.

“For our guests, be prepared to come hungry as chefs and restaurants wow us again at the grills,” Wasserman said. “While nothing beats walking away with Burger Brawl bragging rights, we are all actually winners as we raise tens of thousands of dollars together to support the youth of our amazing city. I have been counting down the day when we can get back out there.”

The event, which began as a neighborhood fundraiser in 2011 by restaurateurs Rob and Maggie Wasserman, is a cutthroat battle for the best burger and cocktail and more than 5,000 people usually attend. The Burger Brawl provides intimate moments for attendees to engage online and in-person with restaurants, merchants at the event and sponsors, to deliver an experience that is more meaningful to all.

Photo by Kory Aversa

“It is a competition, a fundraiser, a community-building event and a celebration of our city’s food scene,” Wasserman said.

This year’s event will have representation from every major neighborhood in Philadelphia, as well as restaurants from the surrounding counties in the Greater Philadelphia region.

For its 10th year, Philly Burger Brawl will benefit after-school programming for the city’s School District and Parks & Recs in an attempt to help teens find safe havens while helping the broader community.

The Wassermans have pledged the funds raised to improving public e-sport gaming spaces for “underserved” youth in the Philadelphia community.

“We often think of e-sport gaming as a luxury,” said Wasserman. “The reality is, however, that it can provide opportunities for socialization, community development and skill-building in a way few other activities can. It’s our hope that these spaces will create a place for at-risk kids to come, have fun, stay safe, and cultivate a sense of belonging.”