Two of Houston's most acclaimed burger purveyors faced off in an epic battle on national television this morning. Good Morning America featured Trill Burgers and Burger-Chan on a Houston-centered edition of its “United States of Burgers” segment.
Filmed near downtown at Saint Arnold Brewing Company, a panel of three judges — Top Chef finalist and Olympian Dawn Burrell, ABC13 anchor Chauncy Glover, and former Houston Texans star Jonathan Joseph — evaluated both competitors for a chance to compete in New York City on Friday for a $10,000 prize. After sampling both burgers, the judges unanimously selected Trill Burgers to advance.
Trill Burgers served its OG Trill Burger, a double-patty cheeseburger with onions on a Martin’s potato roll. Rather than serve its own smash burger, Burger-Chan offered its Alison Cook burger, named after the Houston Chronicle restaurant critic’s order that she described in her popular Burger Friday column: a five-ounce patty topped with cheddar cheese, kimchi relish, sauteed onions, and sambal mayo.
Winning the judges’ acclaim is only the latest accolade for Trill Burgers, a smash burger concept developed by Houston hip hop legend Bun B in partnership with California-based restaurateur Andy Nguyen and Houston publicist Nick Scurfield. First introduced at the 2021 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, the concept has gone national by serving at events such as the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and the Coachella Festival.
Bun and chef Mike Pham will represent the restaurant in New York on the morning of Friday July 29.
“I couldn't be more proud to represent Houston in the biggest burger battle in America,” Bun B said in a statement. “I put this city on my back ever since we started UGK, and I am going to continue to carry it culturally, not just in music, but now in food. Let's go, baby.”
Burger-Chan is owned by chef Willet Feng and his wife Diane. First opened in Greenway Plaza (now closed), the couple opened a new location near the Galleria earlier this year. Chef Feng’s signature umami glaze helps set Burger-Chan’s burgers apart. Housemade sauces such as sambal mayo and scallion aioli allow diners to customize each burger to their tastes.
“It was probably a once in a lifetime experience to show our restaurant on a national level,” Diane Feng tells CultureMap. Later, she adds, “Even though we didn’t win, we’re really proud of what we put out there . . . It’s got the American part with the cheddar and the onions, and the Asian part that we’re really proud to showcase.”
Burger-Chan may have lost the competition, but the TV appearance has already boosted the restaurant’s profile. Feng says she received a phone call from a diner in Dallas who saw the segment and promised to stop by on his next trip to H-Town. Hopefully the appearance lures a few Houstonians, too.
Meanwhile, those who missed the segment may watch it below.