by Evan Berke
For most of us, burgers and beer define summer fun, which is why HoM chef Shay MacDonald and his girlfriend Carrie Leverknight decided to put together the first-ever Flag Day Burger and Beer Festival. “This is the first time we’re doing something like this,” says Leverknight, “but we’re hoping we can turn this into an annual event. This year will definitely be a learning experience for us.”
Hosted by Holy City Brewing, the Flag Day fest will feature six local burger joints and their best creations along with local beer from Holy City, COAST, Palmetto, and Westbrook. “Each brewery will be serving $3 pints and the burgers will be sliders ranging between $2 and $4,” says Holy City head brewer and part owner Chris Brown. “We will also have a tasting room open for growlers only, cornhole, and some bluegrass music courtesy of the Bluestone Ramblers and Skye Paige.” This cash-only event will happen on Thursday, rain or shine.
Since you probably won't be able to eat every single burger on sale tomorrow, we offer you a roundup of what the cooks will be slinging so you can plot your eating course.
Chef Shay MacDonald plans to present a mini version of the HoM Bistro Burger, which includes a fresh patty, HoM steak sauce, bacon butter, and truffle mustard-dressed bacon salad. Also on the menu will be their Green Gobble’n, which loads up a turkey burger with melted leeks and spinach, brie, green goddess aioli, and green apple. The side is Tabbouleh Verde, a cold salad of couscous, herbs, tomato, preserved citrus, olive oil, and ranchero.
North Chuck's Big Billy’s Burger Joint, part of the Noisy Oyster family, will be serving what they call classic Southern sliders along with mini turkey burgers, both of which come topped with American cheese and dill pickle chips. Kick ’em up a notch with homemade condiments like Chinese five-spice ketchup, Kalik beer mustard, and garlic mayo. They'll also have mini mahi-mahi tacos just to give non-burger fans something to do with their hands and mouths.
Rita’s Seaside Grille
For some of the most diverse and interesting creations, you may want to visit Rita’s table at the festival. At the Folly restaurant, The Southbound burger normally comes topped with bacon and pimento cheese, but for the Flag Day Festival they will be stacking the burger even higher with pork belly. They'll also have a mini meat-festival with a burger that's made up of one-third ground chuck, one-third brisket, and one-third ground filet. It will be smothered in blue cheese, crispy onions, and a housemade steak sauce for good measure. Then there's The Fluffinator. “It may sound a little weird,” says chef Anthony DiBernadro, “but you just wait.” The Fluffinator slathers marshmallow fluff and Nutella spread on top of the savory meat, creating what will surely be a sweet and salty greasy mess of deliciousness.
Sesame Burgers and Beer
Sesame is bringing some favorites too. The legendary Memphis Burger layers homemade peanut butter with bananas and bacon; it's an overdose of awesome. Just ask Elvis. For more refined palates, there's the Napa Valley Burger which mingles the flavors of blue cheese, bacon jam, and red wine reduction into a rich blend of yumminess. Sesame will be also have a crisp cucumber salad and homemade condiments.
It wouldn't be a burger festival without Moe’s BLT Burger, which is a little different than your average BLT. A fried green tomato, fresh mozzarella, bacon, pesto mayonnaise, and mixed greens come layered on top of a perfectly greasy patty of well-seasoned beef. (Drool.) They'll also be busting out the Black’ n’ Bleu Burger, a blackened burger topped with some perfectly stinky blue cheese.
Triangle Char and Bar
Love ’em or hate ’em, Triangle will be cooking up their grassfed burgers in two variations: pimento cheese or smoked gouda and bacon aioli. On the side, they'll keep it real with gooey mac and cheese.