Burger Clash going into third year

Mara Wheaton, Lifestyles Editor

The Brookings Burger Clash is happening now in Brookings and surrounding areas from Jan. 1 to Feb. 28. This year, there are 21 restaurants participating in the competition, an increase from 15 last year. 

Shane Andersen, team lead for Century 21 Brookings Home Team, is the man behind the creation of the Burger Clash. He said this all started with the creation of the “In and Around Brookings, SD Food & Drinks” Facebook page when the pandemic hit. This page was a place where people could go and check what restaurants were open, due to operation limitations during COVID.

“Somebody reached out to me and said, ‘have you thought about doing a burger challenge?’” Andersen said. “It just kind of took off from there.” 

2021 was the first year of the Burger Clash, where there were 10 participating restaurants, and it has kept growing since then. 

One participant is Tables Steakhouse in Castlewood, South Dakota. Andersen said that he has received positive comments from the owners, and how they are thankful for this competition because they have been seeing a lot of new faces.

For the Burger Clash, each restaurant creates a signature burger to enter into the competition. Anyone interested in participating is recommended to try the burger from each restaurant. From there, participants can go online and fill out the Google form, where they rank each burger in three key categories: taste, creativity and customer service. 

“At the end of the contest, my wife and I will spend about two hours going through the results and averaging everything up and get whoever has the highest average,” Andersen said. 

Aside from the bragging rights, the winning business also receives a plaque.

Last year’s winner was Downtown Brookings’ Pints & Quarts. The restaurant is coming into its third year in The Burger Clash competition with another win in sight. 

This year’s contestant brought to the burger ring by Pints & Quarts is the Jack’s burger, which has a sweet and savory Tennessee bacon glaze on top of two smash patties.

“People have been saying they really like it,” Kevin Raab, owner of Pints & Quarts, said. 

One major benefit of this competition is the encouragement to get people to go out and try new restaurants around Brookings and the surrounding areas. 

This competition has been a great way to get more people into the restaurant, said Raab. 

Andersen said that last year there were about 550 entries that had to be sorted through, and there have been about 300 entries so far this year. 

“Brookings is pretty cool with having good support for the restaurants,” Andersen said. “The community has been awesome with participation.”