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SOBE '09: Spike Mendelsohn, Burger King

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A victorious Spike Mendelsohn, post Bash
A victorious Spike Mendelsohn, post Bash

So it is that experimentation edged out the classicists last night. Taking both the judges' prize and the popular vote, Spike Mendelsohn put his Good Stuff Eatery on the national grid at the Burger Bash in South Beach. His burger, as The Dash Feedbag noted, it wasn't the traditional stuff that burger purists usually go for. But the dude stacked the deck with as genius a marketing push as there is: hot girls everywhere handing out Vote for Spike buttons. While Bobby Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace burger—"Crunchified", with blue cheese sauce, crispy bacon and potato chips—was in our opinion the best new-style entry in the tents, Spike's was a success as well. He went with a beef burger and the accouterment line-up of Applewood bacon, Vermont cheddar, fried vidalia onions, and a chipoltle bbq sauce; and, crucially, a bevy of lady servers. Nothing against the business half of the Flay empire, Mr. Laurence Kretchmer, of course, who did Flay's serving.

As for the Shake Shack, it wasn't their night. The decision to go with a double stack, one mushroom, one beef, proved a critical fail. Honorable mention from these parts goes to The Counter from Los Angeles; Michael's, a local entry and the best classic burger in the competition; and Michael Schlow's Radius burger, which was every bit as good as it was last year. By the numbers, 1,800 people came through the tents to taste 22 burgers. Linkwrap time: Grub, AHT, Ozersk, Levine and The Feed, Lush Life.