The author of this blog is Kevin Troller, Assistant City Manager with the City of Baytown.
Summertime is a great time for vacations and fun with family and friends. Food and frivolity are mainstays when our family gets together. My sister and her two daughters recently made a trip to Baytown from Half Moon Bay, California. They are a fun group, and we’re always looking for something unique to make each visit special. They’ve been to Baytown before, and in the early days of planning their trip, Eileen stated how much they were looking forward to another Ricky’s Burger.
It was a simple comment, but it opened the door to an adventure. Why a Ricky’s Burger? With all the retail and restaurant growth in Baytown, we have many options for a delicious grilled hamburger. With that as the beginning, the wheels were in motion. The Arnold and Troller families would embark on our own culinary journey to explore the hamburger possibilities in our city, and ultimately crown one of our local establishments with the distinction of creating the Best Burger in Texas !
Using the Visitor’s Map provided by Anna Enderli in Baytown’s Tourism office, we identified every place in Baytown that had a burger. With the development in our city, new places have opened since the map was created, and they were added to our list as well. With more than 30 possibilities, we went through a series of preliminary competitions that whittled the list down to 7 establishments to compete in our live taste test: Texas Roadhouse, Ricky’s Burger, Someburger, Donnelly’s, Goings, Roosters, and Burger Barn.
The eight judges were a diverse group with 3 Californians, 3 Baytonians, and 2 San Antonians, ranging in age from 17 to 82. Each judge scored 7 individual categories to make sure every aspect of the burger was considered: Presentation, Bun, Flavor, Thickness, Freshness, Juiciness, and Condiments. A maximum of 20 points could be given for each category, for a total of 140 points per judge and a maximum available of 1120 points per establishment.
With score sheets and trophy in hand, the team of judges headed out. In each restaurant we found the owner or manager, explained our competition, showed them the coveted trophy they were competing for, and asked for the best 2 burgers they could make. After viewing the burger’s presentation, each burger was cut into quarters so each judge had a quarter of a burger to judge. When the score sheets were filled out, the judges moved to the next restaurant, until all 7 restaurants had been judged.
In the end, every scorecard had Texas Roadhouse, Ricky's, and Roosters in their top 3; with only 10 points separating the three scores. The winner was Roosters, who beat Texas Roadhouse by the slimmest of margins: 967 points to 966 points. Ricky's Burgers was third with 957 points.
On this day, for this group of judges, the winner was Roosters. We hope you’ll pay them a visit, admire their trophy, and try 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!
More than the yummy burgers, we learned what wonderful people manage and work in our Baytown restaurants. We thank all of you that served us a heaping helping of hospitality as well as your best culinary expertise. You all gave us many wonderful memories. We’re already planning our next food judging contest. Look out Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri !!!