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6th Annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl

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(The following is a special series on Bluejeanfood.com written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

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The 6th Annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl was held on Sunday, June 26th in the outdoor portion of Xfinity Live! in the shadows of the Sports Complex. It was an eagerly anticipated event by both myself and many burger loving natives, as the massive crowd that turned out would prove.

One of the top culinary competitions in town, local restaurants and pubs who specialize in burger crafting present their product in hopes of earning top prize as judged by both an official panel, as well as a people’s choice tally. This year also marks the first ever “taco takedown”; in total, over 40 burger spots and 10 taco offerings were there for consumption.

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Among the Philly area contenders for best burger were Amanda’s Bar None, Butcher and Singer, Fireside Smoke House, Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House, Pineville Tavern, Prime Stache, Village Whiskey, Rouge, Spot Burger and the Twisted Tail. I sampled many of these fine sandwiches, all with their own unique twist. My personal favorites of the lot however, were the offering from the A.Bar (located in Rittenhouse Square), and the wildly popular peanut butter and bacon burger, with jelly, from Lucky’s Last Chance of Manayunk. The crowd seems to have agreed with me on one, as Lucky’s took the people’s choice crown for the second time in recent years.

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Taco participants included Cafe Ynez, Heffe Tacos, Loco Pez, Revolution Taco (who we previously visited around town), Taqueria Feliz, and Wahoo’s Tacos, which recently opened a stand in Citizens Bank Park, in addition to their regular University City location. My top vote here was for the pork taco from 1100 Social, the new restaurant recently opened in Xfinity Live! itself. The people’s choice vote went to El Vez, Stephen Starr’s durable Mexican themed spot in Center City.

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Local celebrity judges included former Phillies star Garry Maddox, FOX29 tv hosts Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley, WMMR’s Steve Morrison and Matt Cord, and WIP host and noted burger lover Glen Macnow, among others. Their selection for best burger this year was Bucks County’s Pineville Tavern’s Million $ Bacon Burger. Top taco went to Lolita’s (in the Midtown Village section of the city).

A fun summer event that has become an annual tradition is also a worthwhile cause, that initially started as a fundraiser by founders Rob and Maggie Wasserman to fund their children’s school in South Philadelphia. The ensuing growth from the initial competition has allowed the school, William M. Meredith Elementary, to build a new computer lab and create additional technology initiatives that are in the works. This year’s event and all futures ones will continue to benefit the school and other charitable endeavors…

The Burger Brawl is a knockdown winner, and I look forward to be back covering next year’s battle. The summer fun will continue “around town”…

Revolution Taco

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(The following is a special series on Bluejeanfoodcritic.com written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

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Last week marked the official grand opening of Revolution Taco, a new eatery at 2015 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, in the shadow of Rittenhouse Square.  Our friends at Aversa PR & Events invited us along for a sampling of the unique offerings that the eatery will have in store.

Specializing in tacos, empanadas and burritos, the restaurant is the result of a partnership between three food truck entrepreneurs uniting their product and brands.  Mike Sultan, operator of Street Food Philly;  Alan Krawitz, who runs Say Cheese; and Carolyn Nguyen, proprietor of Taco Mondo, all share in the creation of Revolution Taco.  The offerings were impressive, and there is much to choose from the menu.  The beef, brisket and chicken tacos were delicious.  For vegetarians, there are mushroom and tofu tacos; as well as roast duck.  The empanada we sampled was out of this world…the chips and guac fresh with flavor.

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The food truck industry has seen a surge in recent years, particularly in our area.  The success that led to the formation of Revolution Taco comes on the heels of this boom, and it’s interesting to see those with different visions unite their talents.  It’s also refreshing to see more and more smaller eateries opening, and thriving, in the city.  Competition with chain restaurants and their popularity can be a difficult thing to encounter, but most will find the quality at a local neighborhood joint to be above those of said chains.  If you presently frequent a well known taco or Mexican theme restaurant, you may find this new option to be superior to them, in many ways…

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Revolution Taco celebrated its grand opening this week, and you should visit soon to enjoy a nice atmosphere and great food. Happy New Year, and see you around town…