Restaurant Owners Unable to Vote for Favorite Burger
If you’re a loyal reader of Eat Jackson, you probably know that the Burger Championship is going on now – the final bracket in our wildly popular Eat Madness – Burger Edition. The Burger Championship has created quite the head to head battle between Babalu Tacos & Tapas’ Baba Burger and Table 100′s Table 100 Burger.
In the semi-final round, the Table 100 Burger edged out the already award-winning and very popular Flamethrower Burger from The Blue Rooster (locations in Flora and Clinton). And the Baba Burger managed to topple Beatty Street’s Beatty Burger late yesterday in a come from behind victory. Both Championship restaurants were down in several rounds, and they each gained steam as more and more folks went out to try the burgers – and apparently voted.
Each of the Championship burgers cleared some of the rounds by only a handful of votes. At around 2:00 p.m. yesterday with a 5 p.m. voting deadline looming, the Beatty Street Burger was ahead by some 200 votes, with a commanding lead in what looked to be a done deal. Even American Idol contestant Skylar Laine urged her 150,000 followers to vote for her grandparent’s Beatty Street Grocery to win the best burger! In the final hours, a heartfelt final push from each restaurant has led us ultimately to what is sure to be quite the battle for the title of Best Burger in Jackson.
But that’s not the entire story.
What you may NOT know is that the two restaurants represented in this final match-up are owned by the same locally owned and operated restaurant group, Eat Here Brands, a group founded by local restaurant icons Bill Latham and Al Roberts. And so, in an odd stroke of fate, the final round of this year’s Eat Madness battle pits the teams of sister restaurants Table 100 and Babalu against one another in a friendly food fight over who’s burger is better. The Latham/Roberts team seem to have a knack for tasty burgers since they also own the popular Five Guys Burgers & Fries franchise for Mississippi.
Earlier today, Eat Jackson caught up with this dynamic duo to find out which burger they’d be voting for in this final round.
Eat Jackson: So… which burger gets your vote?
Bill Latham: Oh gosh, it’d be hard. It’d be hard to pick one over the other. I love both of them. Table 100 is almost like a steak burger, very juicy. The one at Babalu is similar to how Five Guys does it. If you get the regular, it’s a 4 oz patty, but if you get the big burger it’s two of them. It’s got that avocado and Roma tomatoes on there, and the bun is a little sweet. They are both really good. [Laughs] But I probably won’t vote in this next round.
Al Roberts: Between [Chef] Mike [Römhild of Table 100] and [Chef] David Ferris [of Babalu], if I pick one, I’ll never live it down! You’re not going to get a pick out of me! [Laughs]
Eat Jackson: Well, it seems like you are willing to agree that they’re two very different burgers. What are the differences in them?
Roberts: Well, you’ve got an avocado and aioli on one [Baba Burger] and Chef Mike uses a smoked tomato and a sharp white cheddar cheese with that local Two Run farms beef [at Table 100]. You’ve got two very different burgers… We don’t share recipes from restaurants, so these are two completely different burgers. We are pretty fortunate to be in this still. There are some great restaurants in here.
Eat Jackson: What’s the story on the Baba Burger?
Roberts: Bill was the one that had the idea. We had some male customers that wanted a little more entree sized offerings, something they could fill up on there. So Bill said “let’s put burger on there.” I was skeptical. With all the publicity you’ve given us it’s been good. I was there last night. At one time, there were 8 burgers in the window going out.
Latham: We needed more stuff for guys. Women were outnumbering guys as our customers, and we needed something that was going to be a little more filling for guys. This was the ticket. It’s been a huge hit for us.