By: Kevin G. Troller
With my California relatives returning to Baytown for a pre-Christmas visit, it seemed fitting to renew our family’s "Best Burger in Baytown" competition. The challenge began in 2016 as my sister casually mentioned she was looking forward to another Ricky’s Thick & Juicy Burger. Naturally, we assumed she would want the best burger that Baytown had to offer, so an elaborate competition ensued and Roosters was crowned the 2016 Best Burger in Baytown Award. The passage of time and many new restaurants offering burgers in Baytown prompted the sequel: Best Burger in Baytown 2.
To kick off our competition, we researched all restaurants in Baytown that offered burgers. Then we asked people we know, people from church, and even random shoppers while doing our shopping to tell us their favorite burger establishment. Suggestions included: Someburger, Goings, Burger Barn, Ricky’s Thick & Juicy Burger, Roosters, Texas Roadhouse, El Toro, Max Bowl, Fat Fats, Burger IM, Pipeline Grill, Tajin Mexican Cafe, Chili’s, Johnny Carino’s, Freddy’s, and O’Neal’s on the Water. We also considered the reliable burger chains in Baytown such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen and Whataburger. As a disclaimer, this was our own family competition, not a City sponsored competition or solicitation.
With score sheets in hand, our team of judges made up of the Texas Troller’s and California Arnold’s headed out. In 2016, we informed each owner or manager of our competition and showed them the coveted trophy they were competing for. In the 2021 competition, we decided there would be no notice or fanfare. We would receive and judge the burger the same as anyone would receive when ordering. In keeping with normal tournament bracketology, pairings were made, and eliminations occurred until we were down to the Final Four: El Toro, Ricky’s Thick & Juicy Burgers, Texas Roadhouse, and Max Bowl.
The 2016 competition was extremely close, with one point separating the top two places, and nine points separating the top three. This year, like the College Football Playoff, there was no drama. The winner was a previous contestant from 2016, which shows not only do they have a great burger, but they’ve continued to perfect it, if not improve it, over the years. The 2021 winner was a unanimous decision, as it was awarded the top score on all judges’ scorecards.
We are proud to announce the winner of the 2021 Troller/Arnold Best Burger in Baytown Award goes to Texas Roadhouse.
We encourage you to visit Todd and his staff at the Texas Roadhouse for one of their award-winning burgers. But, don’t just take our opinion. We encourage you to form your own judging team and make your own assessment. And why stop at burgers? Form your own competition to judge all the wonderful food Baytown has to offer.
About the author: Kevin Troller is the Assistant City Manager for the City of Baytown, an avid Texas A&M fan, and loves his beautiful wife and mother (pictured below) more than the Aggies.