Spike Nails the Burger Bash

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spike Mendelsohn is rarely without something to say. But his surprise sweep of the South Beach Food & Wine Festival's annual Burger Bash last week left the Washington chef and former "Top Chef" contestant speechless. "I was up there among the best, with chefs that I look up to," he said Monday, back in the District. "I couldn't believe I'd won."

Mendelsohn's sliders, topped with applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onions and chipotle barbecue sauce, beat entries from more than 20 chefs including grill master Bobby Flay, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and last year's winner, Boston chef Michael Schlow, for the People's Choice Award. His entry, the Colletti's Smokehouse, a regular feature at the chef's Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill, also won the Heinz Best Dressed Burger award and the Golden Grill prize, granted by a panel of chefs and food journalists.

The only category Mendelsohn didn't win was the potato contest. But then, he didn't enter it. Mendelsohn served his signature toasted marshmallow milkshake on the side instead.

The prize could be a boon to business. Crowds surged to Good Stuff on Saturday, Mendelsohn reports, adding that offers to help him expand the chain nationally have been pouring in. But growth begins at home. This year, Mendelsohn will open Good Stuff outlets in Dupont Circle and at Union Station.

-- Jane Black

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