Last evening, the 22nd annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) started with not a bang, but a burger.
The festival’s marquee burger party started a weekend bacchanalia of eating and drinking, with thousands of people attending the sold-out event.
The Burger Bash saw a few changes this year. It moved from its usual Friday evening calendar slot to Thursday, serving as the major opening event for the 2023 SOBEWFF.
The “Bash” also returned to one session. For the past two years, the Burger Bash was held in two sessions, allowing ticketholders more space during COVID-19.
With one session, lines for burgers returned, but savvy eventgoers have now learned the art of getting a slider and a drink to enjoy while waiting in line for the next. The crowds were also entertained by Academy of Country Music winners Midland and host Emeril Lagasse, who chatted with chefs and fans alike.
The Burger Bash also saw some new upgrades, including guest voting via QR code and the placement of recycling and composting bins in various areas (with volunteers on hand to help partiers sort their trash properly).
Although restaurant owners from across the country traveled to Miami Beach to show their prowess with beef and cheese, South Florida proved to be the home of superior burgers.
The winner of the Schweid & Sons Very Best Burger award (the judges’ pick) was BurgerFi for its BBQ Rodeo burger with charred jalapenos, crispy haystack onions, and sweet Memphis BBQ sauce. The restaurant chain opened its first location in 2011 in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and its corporate headquarters are in Fort Lauderdale.
For the second time in a row, Motek Café received the People’s Choice award for its Arayes burger, a lamb/beef mixture on pita bread served with harissa aioli and tahini. Motek won the same award at last year’s second session of the Burger Bash.