The sun was still beating down on the lawn at Discovery Green as the chefs fired up their (non-propane!) grills on Saturday evening for CultureMap's first Backyard Burger Grill-Off.
As the sun set behind the downtown skyscrapers, a crowd of 300 headed in to taste a dozen burgers from Houston restaurants including Vic & Anthony's, The Grove, Roots Bistro, The Counter and Houston Texans Grille, in addition to sipping on beers from local breweries Karbach Brewing, Southern Star, Saint Arnold, Leprechaun Cider, Buffalo Bayou and No Label.
Add in some backyard games — hula hoops and Connect Four, anyone? — and some scrumptious bread pudding from Whole Foods Market for dessert and you've got a great evening.
When judges Greg Morago of the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press food critic Katharine Shilcutt, freelance food writer Amber Ambrose and yours truly tallied up their scorecards, three different restaurants prevailed. J. Black's won Best Classic Burger for its Washington burger with gorgonzola, sauteed mushrooms, bacon and Texas Wagyu beef, Straits' Thai pork burger was tops in the Most Creative category and The Tasting Room - Uptown Park earned Best Side Dish honors for its crawfish corn maque choux.
The crowd made their voices heard as well, voting via beads, and two restaurants tied for the most votes: The Grove and Brio. Check out the drool-inducing video above — but be warned: It will make you crave another burger for dinner.