Monday, August 11, 2014

National Hamburger Festival

2014 National Hamburger Festival Review
by Joanna Wilson

The 9th annual National Hamburger Festival took place this past weekend in downtown Akron.  South Main was closed down to accommodate vendors that line both sides of the street to show off their burger creations in this one-of-a-kind summer festival.  I wasn't able to attend last year's event and so this year I made a point to come down and enjoy it in all its glory.

Menches Bros. booth--anyone else read David Giffels' humorous discussion of the invention of the hamburger in The Hard Way on Purpose?

Burger-makers come from far and near to showcase their specialty burgers.  Among the options, attendees were able to choose from regional burger chains such as White Castle, Max & Erma's, and Eat'n Park.  Those interested in tasting burgers from Ohio-only restaurants could choose from Youngstown's Martini Brothers, Smoke: The Burger Joint located in nearby N. Canton and Carrollton, and Menches Brothers found in both Green and Massillon, among others.  Menches Brothers is the local restaurant that boldly claims they invented the hamburger.

Did you grow up eating at Bob's Hamburg?
I was interested in sampling another Akron favorite, so I ordered from Bob's Hamburg--a local favorite diner whose legend stands tall.  (Bob's Hamburg is located at 1351 East Avenue).  Though there were tempting deluxe burgers all around me, I ended up delighted with my choice--a classic quarter-pound Bob's cheeseburg-- and I'm looking forward to visiting the Akron restaurant again.  Other local burgers at the festival included Retro Dog and Stray Dog--two Akron Empire eateries that we've written about before.  My partner doesn't eat meat yet he had several healthier burger options to choose from.  He went with Retro Dog's Bean Burger--one he regularly enjoys at each visit.

There was a long line for last year's winner at Smoke: The Burger Joint.

The National Hamburger Festival isn't just a place to taste delicious beefy sandwiches--they also host competitions in several categories including Best Traditional Burger, Best Cheeseburger, Best Creative Burger, Best Creative Toppings, Best Healthy Burger, Festival Favorite, and Festival Spirit Award.  The list of winners of the 2014 festival and past year's winners are to be found at the festival's website:  The two-day, family-friendly festival also includes children's activities, live music and entertainment throughout the weekend.  What's your favorite summer festival in downtown Akron?

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