The tastiest event between two buns is back, just in time for summer. Coastal Virginia Magazine’s CoVa Battle of the Burgers will be returning to the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach on Saturday, June 11, 2022, from noon-5 p.m. Some of the area’s finest restaurants will be offering up their most creative and delicious takes on that All-American favorite. Attendees get to vote for their faves, and restaurants compete for top prizes in both “People’s Choice” and “Judge’s Choice” categories. Be there or be like a Wendy’s burger!
Burgers and Beer: Along with the burgers, there will be a variety of local and Virginia craft beers to pair them with.
Get your tickets here: CoVaBurgerBattle.com
CoVa Burger Battle Participating Restaurants
Promising a “reintroduction to BBQ,” Bar-Q—inside Bold Mariner Brewing in Ocean View—offers Southern, multi-regional barbecue from custom smokers and pitmaster James Campbell. But how about these burgers we spotted on recent menus? The Carolina Burger with house slaw, brisket patty, pulled pork and house mustard sauce. Or the PB&J Burger with peanut butter, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, bacon and hot pepper jelly. Pack that in your lunch box, baby.
If their 39 rotating craft beers flowing from pour-per-ounce taps don’t have you ascending to your happy place, their extensive burger menu might. This Newport News spot invites you to choose from nine different stuffed burgers, “filled with awesome,” specialty choices like the All Day Breakfast Burger and the Flat Guru, and even one called Tha Bomb!!—infused with draft stout, topped with onion tangles, a bourbon glaze and house lager beer cheese. Mercy!
The Bunker Brew Pub
From the guys, AKA veterans, who brought you Young Veterans Brewing Company, The Bunker Brewpub in Virginia Beach marries craft brews with craft bites, southern coastal cuisine in a family-friendly environment. Their Bunker Burger packs the flavor and fun with bourbon bacon jam, provel cheese and beer mustard while the Hail to the Peach sweetens the deal with peach jalapeno chutney. We can’t wait to see what’s on tap for Burger Battle.
Burger Theory in Newport News takes burgers seriously, specializing in patties that can be customized with 28 toppings for more than 4,000 different combinations. And they do it all with a proprietary blend of 77/23 beef designed to give you the “ultimate burger experience” plus a nice selection of local brews to wash it down. Might this year’s burger be dressed with gouda, red onion jam, smoked maple aioli and microgreens? It’s just a theory.
Cactus Jack’s Southwest Grill
This popular Oceanfront hangout is also a great place to get your grub on after a day at the beach—from tacos, burritos and bowls, to elevated entrees, to a hefty assortment of handhelds…including burgers. Their signature Jack’s Burger pairs 80/20 Hereford beef with jalapeño bacon, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and Jack’s queso. Will they bring the “caliente” or keep it cool with a Plain ’Ol, a Mushroom Swiss Burger or perhaps a secret Southwest surprise?
Capt’n Crabby does crab the Maryland way, and we are sooooo here for it in Coastal Virginia. Might we see some of that beautiful Old Bay-seasoned jumbo lump atop a grass-fed patty with tomato jam and fresh arugula? Who can say? But we’re pretty sure you’ll be getting something crabtastic from this popular food truck and Norfolk café known for its scratch-made crabcake sandwiches and authentic Greek fare using local ingredients.
Craft Burger Bar
It’s called Craft Burger Bar for a reason. If you’re serious about burgers, you know the wonders of wagyu—the premium beef popularized in Japan and known for its distinctive marbling and complex, mouthwatering flavor. You’ll find only pure Australian grade wagyu on the bodacious burgers being served at Crafthouse Burger Bar in Virginia Beach—like their Crafthouse Build, Aristocrat, The Cartel, the Pepper Jelly Belly, the Willy Nelson, Mac Daddy and Big Boss Burger.
Foodies – The Local Market
This gourmet market and tasting room located in the Lynnhaven area of Virginia Beach also boasts a menu of chef-inspired, take-out sammies named after famed foodies: Think “the Bourdain, “The Ina,” “The James” and “The Julia.” What gastronomical greatness might they impart upon that most all-American of sandwiches, the burger? Whatever it is, you’ll just have to pay a visit with your burger punch card and see if it lives up to its name.
Fox Tail Wine Bar
This intimate spot tucked into the Phoebus area of Hampton has quickly carved out a tasty niche for lovers of worldly wines, international flavors and more. They’re on a mission to bring you the “best ingredients on the planet” and “the finest classical techniques with new-age flare.” But they’re not too fancy for a bangin’ burger—like their recent Wagyu smash on a Hawaiian bun with house-made pickles and ketchup. Yes, please.
You know the name. But what about their claim to fame? “We were born to create the World’s Greatest Hamburgers,” as they say. Devotees of their Norfolk and Virginia Beach locations keep coming back for more, so the quest for greatness must be going…going…good. Always grilled to order and completely customizable on location, will they bring The Works, the Bourbon Burger, the Bacon Cheddar, the Tex Mex or something extra juicy just for the occasion?
My Mama’s Kitchen
“If comfort food were an art form,” wrote Arielle Patterson in a recent issue of Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Motier Stevenson could be hailed as Coastal Virginia’s Leonardo da Vinci.” If you haven’t visited his “mama’s kitchen” off Shore Drive in Norfolk, you are missing out. That sumptuously sauced Drip Sandwich! Those legendary wings packing a flavor punch. Whatever Chef Moe does with a burger, we’re certain it’ll make his mama proud.
J&K Style Grill
“Home of the Original Waffle Burger,” family-owned J&K Style Grill in Virginia Beach is a Burger Battle regular, and they always take it to new heights with their burger creations. Whether it’s a Double-stuffed Donut Burger—a towering slider with jalapeños and onions, bacon and American cheese—or Keona’s Ultimate Turkey Burger—a lean, mean turkey machine with layers of flavor and homemade seasoning. What will our friends at J&K cook up for 2022?
Since first opening their doors on Colley Avenue in 1983, Kelly’s has grown to become a locals’ favorite with eight locations across the region, known for their “humongous burgers,” outdoor dining, casual fare and laid-back vibe. They’ve also taken home quite a few burger awards over the years. The Ghent Original pays homage to their roots while choices like the Flamethrower Burger spice things up with jalapeños, sautéed onions, minced garlic and pepper jack cheese.
This Virginia Beach spot has become a destination for their unique Japanese take on an American classic. Think a deep-fried burger sounds heavy? Think again. These 100% grass-fed patties are breaded in panko and deep-fried to a deceptively light crisp that earns the name “oishii,” meaning “delicious” in Japanese. You might find them topped with shredded cabbage, red onion, pickles and katsu sauce.
When they’re not busy racking up awards in our annual Best Of competition, this Texas-inspired barbecue joint is piling on the hand-crafted beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs and pork belly burnt ends for loyal meat loving fans at their Virginia Beach and Norfolk locations and a food truck. Their Feast Mode burger just might be dressed to kill with house-cured bacon, brisket, pimento cheese, pickled onions, jalapeno and “cowboy candy” citrus marmalade.
Roger Browns Restaurant & Sports Bar
A legendary gathering spot in Olde Towne Portsmouth for nearly 20 years, Roger Browns is known as a place to get your game on while digging into high-quality seafood, steaks and other freshly prepared eats. Perhaps it’s no surprise they also go big on their burger game. From a classic cheeseburger to the Chesapeake Burger with crab to the Hangover Burger with egg, gouda, bacon and Cove sauce, you can bet on a touchdown from these guys.
Three Notch’d Brewing & Craft Kitchen
You may know their Minute Man IPA or Blackberry Gose, but Three Notch’d Brewing’s recently opened Craft Kitchen and Brewery in VB Town Center has you covered in the elevated comfort food department, too. The All American Burger on their menu comes with Applewood smoked bacon and Minute Man marinated pickles. While their Bourbon Brisket Burger features a beef patty with smoked brisket, cheddar, onion straws and bourbon barbecue on brioche.
Wharf Hill Brewing Company
A visit to Smithfield’s charming historic Main Street area isn’t complete without a pint and a bite, or maybe three or four, at Wharf Hill Brewing Company. With its authentic, dark-wood ambience, this classic brewpub specializes in comfort food bar faves from Bangers & Mash to Mom’s Meatloaf. And, oh yeah, burgers are front and center: the Original, The Bacon & Cheese, the Cowboy, the Volcano, the Brat Burger and more.
Culinary Institute of Virginia
In addition to our restaurant competitors, the Culinary Institute of Virginia will be on hand serving up burgers of their own. Education never tasted this good, we promise.
CoVa Burger Battle Ticket Information
June 11, 2022—Noon-5 p.m.
Military Aviation Museum
Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the gate (admittance 21 and over only). All tickets include general admission, souvenir glass, a burger tastings passport, museum admission and a one-year Coastal Virginia Magazine subscription. Beer sold separately. Enjoy live music, specialty vendors and the museum’s unique collection of historic aircraft.
Learn more at CoVaBurgerBattle.com.