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Jose Luis Villegas /

Rodney Blackwell, organizer of the Sacramento Burger Battle, making the rounds at last year’s event at Raley Field in West Sacramento.

Second annual Burger Battle gearing up for Sept. 18

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 - 2:24 pm

As any foodie can tell you, Sacramento is a really good burger town. No one knows this better than Rodney Blackwell, who has become so enamored with buns and patties and condiments that he started a burger blog and created the Sacramento Burger Battle, a no-holds-barred competition featuring some of the best chefs around.

I caught up with the enterprising and affable Blackwell recently to talk about the second annual competition at Raley Field in West Sacramento. Among other things, he told me he learned plenty from the very successful inaugural event and has made tweaks to improve the experience, including adding more table seating and cutting down on wait times entering the venue.

He also sent me a list of the competitors:

The Chef's Table - Chef David Hill

Krush Burger - Chef Davin Vculek

de Vere's - Chef Wes Nilssen

The Eatery - Chef Jess Milbourn

Capitol Garage - Chef Raphael Kendall

Willie's Burgers - Chef Keith Swiryn

Formoli's Bistro - Chef Aimal Formoli

Bacon & Butter - Chef Billy Zoellin

Ten22 - Chef Jay C. Veregge

Roxy Restaurant and Bar - Chef Jeff DePalma

Papa Dale's Drive-In Diner - Chef Keith Breedlove and Chef Janine Bills

Broderick Restaurant & Bar - Chef Chris Jarosz

Hawk's Restaurant - Chef Michael Fagnoni

Ettore's - Chef Pedro Depina

Relish Burger Bar - Chef Pedro Nuñez

Last year’s event was well attended and this year’s should be even better. Kudos to Blackwell for aiming high and creating something fun and special for the region. It’s an exceptional amount of work pulling all of this together.

I have eaten the burgers at all but two of the eateries listed above and can tell you that the competition will be fierce — and the entries plenty delicious! David Hill is the defending champion. The judges — chefs Randall Selland and Patrick Mulvaney, our own Chris Macias, and food writers Erin Jackson and Russ Parsons (of the LA Times), along with Rick Minderman of Corti Brothers — are going to have their work cut out for them.

Tickets for the event are on sale now. At the Raley field box office, tickets are $55 for general admission and $75 for VIP. Online, they cost $61.80 and $81.30 respectively. Proceeds go to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America charity. Tickets include complimentary wine from Revolution, Andis and Berryessa Gap, and beer from Lagunitas and Ruhstaller. Of course, you also get sample sizes of all 15 burger entries, and you’re eligible to vote in the “people’s choice” category. For more details, visit

Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob

Read more articles by Blair Anthony Robertson

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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Note: The Appetizers blog switched blog platforms in August 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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