Dining With Denise Neil

Which Wichita restaurants won at Saturday’s ICT Burger Battle?

The Wichita Police Department also entered a burger in the ICT Burger Battle.
The Wichita Police Department also entered a burger in the ICT Burger Battle. The Wichita Eagle

I’m not complaining because I do recognize that a job that requires burger eating is a job to be cherished.

But it’s not as easy as it sounds to sample two dozen burgers in one sitting. Still, I powered through on Saturday, along with my co-judges, and helped pick winners at the annual ICT Burger Battle, a fundraiser for KETCH that was staged in the Spaghetti Works parking lot at 619 E. William.

The judges chose some of the winners, and the burger eaters in attendance had their say, too.

The panel of judges, which also included Taste & See’s Jason Febres, Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau and KETCH President Ron Pasmore, blind tasted burgers in four categories – traditional, gourmet, inventive and Wichita Police vs. Wichita Fire.

The traditional burger award went to the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen & Bar, whose chef Travis Joy lead the grilling. Dempsey’s Burger Pub won both the gourmet and inventive burger award. The gourmet burger they entered was the bourbon apple brie special that it runs every couple of months, which features garlic aioli, bourbon candied apples, bacon, brie, and micro greens. Their inventive burger was their Hot Hawaiian, which is made with Sriracha aioli, pineapple jalapeño chutney, bibb lettuce and bacon.

And the team from Fizz Burgers & Bottles won the People's Choice Award, closely followed by the Wichita Fire Department. But the Wichita Police won over the Wichita Fire Department in that head-to-head battle. The police, lead by officer Chris Robinson, made a messy burger piled high with mushrooms, French fried onions and barbecue sauce.

Attendees were able to sample quarters of burgers from 11 different vendors, who were cooking the burgers live on site and creating an enticing aroma. People also could sample beer from Hopping Gnome, juice from Songbird Juice Company and ice cream from Little Lion.