Best Burger 2009 Honorable Mention

This year's Best Of Broward-Palm Beach edition is up online today, folks. And I have to say: this issue is packed full of great food. Want a great place to walk up and get a slice of New York pie, complete with the scowl? How about the very best restaurant in which to spend someone else's money? We got it all covered. And while there are dozens of great choices actually in our Best Of edition, there are some great places, too, that didn't make the cut.

Take the category of Best Burger, for example. This year's winner is Big Bear Brewing Co., a way-out-west brewpub that serves up some creative burgers to go with its award-winning beer. Big Bear's bistro burger - a messy, oderific combination of Brie, applewood-smoked bacon, caramelized red onions, and garlic mayo - is a sandwich that rubbed us in all the right places. But that's not to say there weren't other burgers that deserved some love. Joints like Le Tub, Char Hut (given Best Chain Restaurant this year), and Jack's Old Fashion (Best Fast Food) could all compete on any given day. But the runner-up, our consolation winner this year, would go to another less-lauded burger stand.    

Big City Dogs is a place that's generally known for its heart-stopping hot dogs like the Jersey-style ripper, a frank that's wrapped in bacon before it's deep-fried and topped with a wad o' cheese sauce. But Big City also makes a mean burger - so good, our readers gave it a two-way tie with Five Guys in our Best Of 2009 Readers Poll. Maybe if some of those readers who lauded the abysmal Five Guys (OK, it's not abysmal, but I'm not a fan) would take a trip to Big City Dogs and order their burger, the voting wouldn't have even been close.

Big City's burger is big - Le Tub big. It's over an inch thick of all-beef chuck fresh ground in-house daily. It's grilled perfectly to temperature - order it medium, and you get a hot, pink center - and set on a kaiser roll large and sturdy enough to handle its largess. For the top: cheese, if you like it, plus lettuce, tomato, and quality, hand-cut pickles sliced the long way in order to achieve maximum coverage. Sound great? Well, yes, it is. You could do no wrong ordering this juicy, delicious burger, which comes with fries and a drink for under $10, and is a relatively close lunch trip from downtown Fort Lauderdale. There's really nothing "wrong" with it, per se, so as to set Big City's burger behind Big Bear's - it's just that Big Bear's is so good.

Solution, dear burger hounds: try them both. Decide for yourself. And we'll see you again next year.     

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John Linn