Who serves up the best burger in town? We need your help deciding that!

By GARY SHERWIN

I think I can speak for the entire team at Visit Newport Beach and say that perhaps one of the more challenging parts of our job is answering the question: “Who has the best (fill in the blank)?

I get it; many people see us as the destination experts and believe we have it all dialed in. But the truth is that when it comes to food, it is a debatable subject. What I think is the “best” may not be your choice. And since Newport Beach has more than 400 restaurants, there are plenty of good opinions to go around.

So, along with our friends at Stu News, we are going to try to fix that.

And we are going to let all of you, our readers, decide who has the best food in the city.

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Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Gary Sherwin

Today we are announcing “Best of NB,” which will celebrate various cuisines that are featured in our city’s restaurants and here’s how it is going to work:

Along with Stu News Publisher Tom Johnson, we are going to select a specific food to recognize as our city’s best and we are starting it off with the all-American favorite, the humble hamburger.

Tom and I are going to self-nominate three restaurants that we believe, in this case, offer the best burger. Then, we are going to have all our readers submit their nominations by using this site – bestofnb.com. You will have until April 5.

All we ask is that you include the restaurant with a few words on why you believe the place has the best burger. Only Newport Beach restaurants are eligible, and while Big Macs are certainly tasty, we ask that you avoid national fast-food places. We’re trying to recognize our wonderful local restaurants.

Once all the nominations are in place, we will post the list, and you, the readers, will vote on the top five most deserving. You’ll be able to vote until April 29 when we announce the five finalists.

Then, we will bring the experts in and do the final judging. These are locals who have well-regarded experience in food and wine. They are Celebrity Chef Jamie Gwen, Newport Harbor Yacht Club Director Ray Jacobi, who famously ran the iconic Ritz Restaurant and the Four Seasons Hotel for many years, and John Wortmann, chairman of the Balboa Bay Club and a frequent diner at many restaurants.

We’ll have the five finalist restaurants secretly bring in their burgers and the three judges will blind taste them. They will vote via a secret ballot, and the winner will be chosen on the week of May 13.

We’ll even video the entire judging and post it here in Stu News.

Then, the fun part: Tom and I will go to the restaurant and present the award on a no doubt very impressive (but yet still to be produced) plaque that they can hang in their establishment. Best of all, they will get bragging rights for “Newport Beach’s Best Burger.”

What makes the “best burger?” That’s for you to decide. It can be the choice of meat/protein, the preparation, the bun, the cheese, or anything you think makes a burger world-class. It might be served at a white tablecloth restaurant, or it could be at a casual outdoor stand. It just has to taste incredible.

So, what are three nominees that Tom and I are going to suggest? Here are our three choices in no particular order: Gulfstream, A Restaurant and Mayor’s Table. We think all three are noteworthy, but left to our own devices, we could add many others. But maybe those will spark some debate.

So, get out there and visit your favorite burger place and see if you really love it or try a new place. This is all about celebrating the magic of our favorite restaurants.

The winner will be announced on May 17 after all the votes are counted. Given the number of exceptional burgers in this town, I suspect that this competition will be fierce.

Over the next year, we will also find out who has the best taco, Lobster Roll and Best Steak, categories that already inspire much debate.

Who has the Best Burger in Newport Beach? It’s up to you. Bon appetite!

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

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