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Battle-tested, this burger ranked No. 1

The first annual River Falls Burger Battle, winner, Lazy River Bar and Grill was presented a trophy last week. Shown form left, Pete Keskey, Minuteman Press; Terry McKay, Re/Max Synergy; Pat Smith, Lazy River Bar and Grill; Kellie Burrows, American Cancer Society; and Craig and Mary Hofland, is it 2B Marketing. Jillian Dexheimer photo

River Falls residents have spoken and the best burger in town title goes to...Lazy River Bar and Grill, 115 W Walnut St.

The burger battle, which benefited the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Pierce County/River Falls, featured eight competing restaurants: Bo's 'N Mine, Coach's Bar and Grill, Copper Kettle of River Falls, Junior's Bar and Restaurant, Lazy River Bar and Grill, Mainstreeter Bar and Grill, South Fork Café and West Wind Supper Club.

Each competitor was asked to donate 250 burgers -- either regular menu items or newly designed burgers, for the competition.

Diners then bought punch cards for $25 each, that were good for one burger at each of the establishments.

According the competition press release, 100% of the proceeds went to the local Relay for Life.

Diners then visited the competing establishments from April 1 through May 31.

After tasting the burgers, voters went online to cast their ballot.

In early June, American Cancer Society Representative Kellie Burrows announced the winner.

Burrows said all 250 punch cards that were for sale were given out.

With the feedback from this year's event, Burrows says she would like to see it become an annual event.

The burger that took home the top prize consisted of two half-pound burgers with Wisconsin aged smoked cheddar cheese, slices of thick cut black pepper bacon, fried onion tanglers, chipotle mayo atop an onion bun grilled in garlic butter.

When asked if there was lettuce or tomato on the burger, Lazy River Bar and Grill owner Pat Smith replied, "You don't want to ruin it."

Smith said he and some Lazy River employees came up with the idea for the burger. Smith said they just "wanted to make a burger, nothing too crazy."

He said they used good quality bacon and good quality Wisconsin cheese.

Those who did not get a chance to taste the award-winning burger will be able to try it when it is a featured burger towards the end of June through July.

Lazy River Bar and Grill is open Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Other competing burgers included:

--Bo's 'N Mine, 110 S Main St.: Quesadilla Burger: Two six-inch tortillas, one half-pound burger, pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, pico-de-gallo, garlic pepper, Lawry's seasoning salt, fajita seasoning, and mexi-ranch sauce. Available on the regular menu.

--Coach's Bar and Grill, 127 S Main St.: Half-pound burger topped with a

grilled Johnsonville brat sautéed in Rush River Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, onions caramelized in Rush River Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, cheddar cheese, bacon, and honey Dijon mustard on a pretzel bun. Not on the regular menu currently, may be in the future.

--Copper Kettle of River Falls, 1005 S Main St.: Gouda Burger: Gouda cheese, two slices of zucchini and squash with a six ounce burger. Not on regular menu, but will be one of the $9.99 specials.

--Junior's Bar and Restaurant, 414 S Main St.: Morning After Burger: Aged white cheddar, bacon, over easy egg, sriracha, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a half-pound burger. Available on the regular menu.

--Mainstreeter Bar and Grill, 212 S Main St.: Mainstreeter Burger: Smoked cheddar cheese, bacon, BBQ sauce, fried onions rings, lettuce, tomato and a half-pound burger. Available on the regular menu.

--South Fork Café, 116 S Main St.: Texas Toast Belt Buster Burger: Texas toast, two third-pound patties, cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, two strips of applewood smoked bacon, a fried egg with Frank's red hot sauce, Thousand Island dressing, lettuce, tomato and fried onion tanglers. Available on the regular menu.

--West Wind Supper Club, 709 N Main St.: Eight ounce burger, with sweet roasted onions and fresh basil, on a focaccia roll with baby arugula leaves, fontina cheese frico and chili infused ketchup. Not available on the regular menu.

 See the entire Burger Battle article in the June 20 edition of the Journal.

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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