Perhaps no other food in history has spawned as much loyalty, opinion, and disagreement as the burger. Everyone—no matter how enthusiastic they are about food—has a favorite burger (except, maybe, vegetarians). Stand in a circle of passionate food lovers and forcefully declare some joint’s burger as “the best in the city,” and be prepared to receive everything from agreement and praise to scorn, distrust, or disgust. It’s no surprise that the burger attracts such a variety of viewpoints as the noble hamburger comes in such a wide assortment of preparations: thick, thin, cooked-through, medium-rare, high-end, or cheap and greasy. Of course, there’s really no objective means to unequivocally declare a particular burger or burger joint to be the best, but that hasn’t stopped many burger enthusiasts from trying.
Throughout March, one group of burger-adoring ruffians has attempted, by the most methodical and objective mean possible, to once-and-for-all determine the best burger in Little Rock. The Little Rock Burger Caucus was founded by Little Rock native, Joel DiPippa, in attempts to join people together through delightful food, merrymaking, and a bit of political repartee. I think DiPippa describes the Burger Caucus best when he offered this description:
The Burger Caucus is a loosely organized collection of ne’er-do-wells primarily with some political bend who meet every month at different locations to have burgers and engage in what can only be called jibber-jabber. A collection of politicians, reporters, wonks, and pundits gather in our quixotic quest to discover the best burger in the Little Rock and central Arkansas areas. If you like a dose of politics, but not political theatre, with your burgers, look us up.
The Caucus developed a bracket in which a smattering of Little Rock’s most beloved burgers and burger joints would be able to go toe-to-toe with each other through numerous rounds of voting. Winners would move on to the next round, facing new, tougher competitors, until finally a championship bout, between the two most cherished burgers in Little Rock, would determine “the best” burger in Little Rock. All initial nominations, and subsequent votes were kept within the confines of the esteemed circle of Burger Caucus members. Who ended up on top? Here’s how it went down: