It's that time of year again, the sun is warm, and festivals abound across Tampa Bay.  One of and our favorites is coming up!  This year, the Burger Showdown Tampa 2016 takes place Saturday, May 21st at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park along Downtown Tampa's waterfront.  The event is FREE to attend, you buy tickets to taste the burgers and beverages at the event or pre-purchase them from The Burger Showdown. When you pre-purchase sampling tickets you get a free 16 ounce Budweiser beer! Yes, brews will once again be served up by the always adorable Budweiser crew at their 'pop-up' bar. Be sure to grab a beer for the unique 'cup' with a hole in the bottom. Yes, there is a huge hole in the bottom and a prize too. If you know the secret, don't tell! Here's the lowdown on the 2016 Tampa Burger Showdown.

Photo by Carlyn Bullock

The Lowdown on the 2016 Tampa Burger Showdown

Previous Burger Showdown winners include Eats American Grill with their to-die-for Black and Blue Burger, Green Iguana also with a Black and Blue and the James Joyce Irish Pub who consistently come up with something clever and tasty!  Always a good time and always good eats at the Showdown, we were excited to learn about a few newbies at the table this year! Confirmed to date are:

One of the things we love about events like the Burger Showdown and the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival 2016 is that attendees are able to vote for their favorites!  Yes, you get to vote, naming the always psyched recipient of the coveted People's Choice Award, because honestly, they do this for you!  

A panel of culinary and local celebrities judge and award:

  • 'Best Burger in the Bay', 
  • 'Best Use of Bacon', 
  • 'Bring the Heat'
  • 'Where's the Beef?' (the non-beef options)

All Photos by the author: Carlyn Bullock, from Burger Showdown 2015

Having been to the event for years trust us, these establishments want bragging rights!  And to win they bring it!  They bring inspired, savory, juicy creations to the showdown, but it's not only us reaping the bene's!  The Burger Showdown raises funds for the Culinary Operations Academy (COA) on North Boulevard here in Tampa. Founded in July 1, 1992 the academy teaches character, attitude and opportunity to students in Tampa Bay in search of a different path. Officially opening their doors in 2002, the program currently enrolls over 100 students in a rigorous curriculum focusing on Food Service and Hospitality. Since opening, COA has produced many national award winners. Relying on support from the community and business partners like Outback Steakhouse, parents and students work together to ensure this valuable program thrives. Led by national award winning instructor Chef Erik Youngs, the Culinary Operations Academy is a top culinary program in the state and something we are proud to support!  

This year's Burger Showdown MC is WFLA's Gayle Guyardo and the lowdown is one of our favorite bands will be entertaining this year! We seriously cannot keep our feet or hips still when they are playing, the A-Mazing 'Easy Posse' and 'Clemons Road'! Be ready, spontaneous dancing takes place at this event where you run into old friends and make new ones. 

Please look for vendor/sponsors Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, iHeartRadio, The Tampa Tribune,, Voodoo Chef, WFLA News Channel 8, and Yelp when you are exploring, experiencing and enjoying the 2016 Tampa Bay Burger Showdown at Curtis Hixon Park to say thanks, and do not worry about the weather!  This is a rain or shine event, we have been in both sun and rain and it is always dry, delicious, fun, lively and a great crowd!

Head to Tampa burger-brew heaven Saturday, you will be glad you did; it's a smokin' good time!  Now that you have the lowdown on the Burger Showdown follow this link to reserve your food tickets now so you get the free beer!  'Salud and happy days' as someone we all loved and dearly miss would say.....

All Photos by the author: Carlyn Bullock, from Burger Showdown 2015