Battle for Wichita’s best burger to be fought at Cowtown

09/12/2013 10:57 AM

09/12/2013 10:58 AM

When KETCH special events coordinator Ashley Ruckman started dreaming up a summer fundraiser for her organization, her brain turned to burgers.

Surely, she thought, someone in Wichita already had thought up a burger-centered event.

“I started to do a little research and saw that there had been a few Battle of the Burgers across the country, but mostly in bigger cities,” said Ruckman, who also is KETCH’s public relations coordinator. “I thought, ‘How is it possible Wichita hasn’t done this yet?’ ”

On Saturday, KETCH – an organization that helps adults with developmental disabilities – will introduce its new fundraiser, called Battle of the Burger. Scheduled for 6 p.m. at Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 W. Museum Blvd, it will allow attendees to sample burgers from six local restaurants and decide which they think is best.

Fizz Burgers & Bottles, Mooyah, The Anchor, Public at the Brickyard, the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar and Heroes Sports Bar & Grill all will be there, cooking their signature burgers fresh on site, vying for bragging rights and a nifty burger-shaped trophy.

Putting the event together wasn’t simple, Ruckman said.

She and her fellow organizers wanted participating restaurants to prepare their burgers fresh on site, but they wanted the burgers to taste just like they would if they were made in the restaurants.

They signed Creekstone Farms up as a beef sponsor and acquired high quality outdoor grills. (Restaurants also could choose to bring their own beef and grills, and some have.) The restaurants will send their own cooks and bring their own buns and toppings.

“They’re supposed to come and act as though their tent is the cooking area at the restaurant,” Ruckman said. “Everything is prepared and cooked right there, so the burgers will be served nice and hot.”

For $35, attendees will get samples of each restaurant’s burgers and also will get chips, dessert, soft drinks and one beer. Activities on site include a car show, wagon rides and live music by the band Turnback Creek. If one beer’s not enough, a cash bar also will be available.

Four trophies will be awarded at the end of the event: A People’s Choice and three categories determined by a panel of judges – best traditional burger, best gourmet burger and best contemporary burger. I’ll be on the judges’ panel along with Tony Brueski from KFDI, chef Marshall Roth from The Ambassador Hotel’s Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, and Ryan Meyer of Creekstone Farms.

Tickets are available at the door, by visiting or by calling 316-383-8889.

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