And the burger voted BEST in Newport Beach is…


They tasted. They chewed. They considered. They deliberated. And now the long-awaited votes are in for the Best Burger in Newport Beach.

As many of you know, Visit Newport Beach and Stu News partnered together to celebrate some of the finest culinary creations our city has to offer. Newport Beach has some truly excellent restaurants, and we thought it would be fun to call attention to places in town that prepare some absolutely delicious food. What better way to do that than to have a contest?

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Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Gary Sherwin

Several weeks ago, we asked you, our loyal readers, to nominate and then vote on who you thought had the best burger. And you responded with gusto with more than 1,300 of you weighing in.

Then we took the Top Five nominees and brought in a superb panel of judges to blind taste the finalists and decide the winner.

Chef Jamie Gwen, John Wortmann and Ray Jacobi met on Wednesday and did the tasting of the five finalists. Each burger was presented on its own merits and no restaurant was identified. The judges rated each burger on a variety of characteristics, including meat quality, presentation, taste and texture of the bun.

If you want to see how it all went down, here’s a video of the process and some of the judges’ comments:

The votes were tallied and after some healthy debates, the judges made their call on a secret ballot. And again, it’s important to note the judges had no idea of who they were voting for in this process.

So, drumroll, please…the winner is The Mayor’s Table at Lido House.

The judges loved Chef Riley’s burger and the quality of the meat and its simple preparation. The Mayor’s Table has received many accolades for this burger over the years and it was also named Best Burger in Orange County by a local newspaper when the restaurant opened in 2018.

Stu News Publisher Tom Johnson and I, along with the judges, called Lido House General Manager Andre Brose to congratulate him right after the judging. Andre immediately pulled the Lido House associates together to celebrate the big win.

“We are humbled and so honored by this,” Andre said. “This is so exciting for our team and our hotel.”

Tom and I will be heading over to The Mayor’s Table in the next week or so to present the big plaque, which will hopefully be displayed in a prominent place in the restaurant.

The Mayor’s Table had formidable competition. The other finalists were Billy’s At The Beach, The Place, Cassidy’s Bar & Grill and Balboa Island Market & Grill. I can assure you they are all superb burgers, and the finalists were named after 25 other restaurants were nominated. All five burgers were remarkably different, but I would recommend all of them for various reasons.

Tom and I also want to thank the finalists for preparing their burgers and packaging them for pickup. For example, The Place normally doesn’t open for lunch, but brought a crew in just to participate in the contest. That’s dedication and a competitive spirit!

Believe me, these judges took the process seriously. All three of them are connoisseurs of good eating and Jamie is a veteran of many TV cooking shows and studied under famed chef Emeril Lagasse. Of course, Ray famously ran the iconic Ritz Restaurant for many years, and John is a member of the prestigious Les Amis d’Escoffier Eating Society.

I want to thank them for giving so much of their time this week and doing the hard job of eating delicious burgers while everyone else was still at their desks working. I guess you could say that this is considered really working as far as they are concerned.

So, we have our Best Burger, and while many Newport Beach folks will still argue for their favorite, please know that the democratic process played itself out here.

While we are still digesting our Best Burger, we are already preparing for our next contest – who has the best Lobster Roll. We are fully aware that having a Lobster Roll on the menu only pertains to a select group of restaurants in town, but we are calling on all restaurants to participate. If you don’t have a Lobster Roll on your menu now, it’s not too late to think about creating one and getting people enthusiastic about it.

We’ll announce the next contest dates shortly, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, stop by The Mayor’s Table and try out their award-winning burger creation and congratulate Chef Riley. It’s definitely a showstopper!

Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach & Company.


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