Red Meat Lovers Rejoice at The Great Jersey Shore Burger Contest

Yesterday was the perfect day to be among over 100 beer and beef loving friends at Bar A in Lake Como for the Great Jersey Shore Burger Contest.  I, along with Peter Genovese from The Star Ledger and Munch Mobile fame, Randy Davis from Thunder 106 Rockin’ Country and Brian Durand of Shore Point Distributing shared the daunting task of picking a winner from eleven restaurants who truly brought their best. Every burger had something outstanding to offer.  There wasn’t a bad bite in the bunch.

The winning burger for the Judges, however, brought something unexpected to the competition. No ordinary bun for Point Pleasant Beach’s 709.  Chef Mike Jurusz, known for his inovation in the kitchen, paired kobe beef drizzled with sriracha and guacamole, with a shittake mushroom “bun.”  I particularly loved the spicy kick of the sriracha sauce.

In the “Peoples Choice” category two restaurants ended up tying for First Place. New comer, Longboard Grill, which recently opened in Point Pleasant Beach entered their “Classic Duke” burger. Many of the people I talked to really enjoyed the simplicity of this onion smothered griddle burger.   Longboard owner, Darryl Monticello, uses only American Black Angus with no antibiotics or hormones. One patron commented “It’s like an upscale White Castle.” I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not, but the crowd seemed to think so.  Longboard grill is open year round and offers an impressive selection of slider options. Check out their menu here.

It was a winning day for Point Pleasant Beach as the second restaurant tying for first place in the “Peoples Choice Award” category was long time local favorite, The Ark.  Their port wine cheddar cheeseburger with a blend of chuck, hanger and ribeye topped with caramelized onions and honey BBQ sauce was one of my favorites. Look how pretty they are glistening in the sunshine.

It seems that where the “people” were concerned, less is more when it comes to the best burger. While you can almost never go wrong with that motto, there was some serious creativity going on in the room which I personally love to see and taste. Firefly’s Kobe burger with Vidalia onions, foie gras mousse, and rocket greens, served on a gold-flaked truffle-topped egg brioche bun was amazing.

Firefly is also a new comer to the restaurant scene opening this past April in Manasquan. Bar A’s Smokehaus Blue Burger was a juicy, smokey stand-out. If you like smoked blue cheese, their burger will really make you smile. I’m also a sucker for lamb burgers, so I have to mention St. Stephen’s Green Publick House for their delicious Lamb sliders. I’ve had them at the restaurant, so I knew I was in for a treat.  Another one of our favorite places for a good burger is Harpoon Willy’s in Manasquan. Their Southern Cal entry definitely delivered.

At the end of the day, everyone was a winner. The participating restaurants were able to put their best burgers in the hands and mouths of over 100 new customers and everyone there had big smiles on their faces. Maybe it was the selection of Brooklyn Brews on tap. It sure didn’t hurt.  I overheard one couple remark as they walked out “That was really Great” and so it was. Nice job Jersey Shore Restaurant Week. I hope you put this event on your regular schedule and please invite me back to judge (pretty please). For more great photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.

Deborah Smith, Founder and Executive Editor of  Launched in 2007 as a home for her growing collection of recipes, Jersey Bites soon grew into a hub for all things edible in the Garden State. Deborah is also the founder of, a Deals program that gives back to The Community FoodBank of New Jersey and other local hunger relief programs in your neighborhood.  Register Today.