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Burb's Eye View: Help us rate the best burger in town

February 26, 2013|By Bryan Mahoney

In the battle of man vs. food, man must always win. Otherwise, it's just sad to say it was bologna that did you in.

Almost a year ago, I tested my gastronomic threshold for sandwiches. What started as an innocent tour of Burbank's sandwich shops became an adventure of Homeric proportions — a fight to the death wherein one of us ham-stuffed Spartans would be left shattered and/or digested.

I tackled the Italian offerings at Tony's, then again at another Tony's. A third Tony offered the zenith of the pastrami arts, while Giamela's steak-stuffed heart-buster made my taste buds dance and my arteries beg for mercy. Otto's, Moore's, and even the Handy Market created signature dishes that would satisfy the fussiest bon vivant.

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My companion on this culinary saga was Jack Swiker, founder of the Danger Sandwich blog (thedangersandwich.
blogspot.com), who tours the world in search of the perfect presentation of meat, cheese and bread. Though our tour of nearly a dozen joints might best lesser men, we are either braver or dumber than most.

Next month, we're going at it again. This time, we could use your help.

Though our sandwich journey was as sprawling and epic as a Tolkien tale, Burbank's really a burger town. It's got everything for the burger connoisseur — your share of chain restaurants, local greasy spoons providing the greasiest, spooniest sandwiches this side of Hamburg — even a peanut-butter-and-jelly burger if you're feeling brave.

Jay Sadofsky almost took it off the menu once at Mo's on Riverside, but there were just too many customers who still wanted to try the PB&J creation — even though it's called the Foggy Bottom Burger.

“And it really tasted pretty good,” he said.

If there is a ground-chuck food pyramid within Burbank's borders, Mo's sits pretty close to the top. Its roots as a Hampton's restaurant are carried through today — burgers are still hand-shaped by chefs who have manned the same double-broilers for 25 years.

There's a difference between hand-shaped patties and the frozen pucks that try to pass for burgers elsewhere. In our journey, we're going to try them all — or at least as many as we can in the course of several sittings. Taking larger restaurant chains out of the mix, and leaving off diners where the specialty is more concentrated on the breakfast menu, we've counted at least two dozen spots to satisfy our quest for the best.

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