You don’t expect three coup d’etats in the first round of bracket match ups.
Of the four burger powerhouses that started the Burger Madness bracket as No. 1 seeds, only Monkey Burger, 5350 E. Broadway, got past the first round. It beat Sam-Witches and Such, 6502 E. Tanque Verde Road, with 468 votes to 425. Seeds were based on the restaurants’ number of nominations.
The other frontrunners — Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar, Lindy’s on 4th and The Parish — got benched early.
“We were planning on winning,” said Alex White, the general manager of Zinburger, 1865 E. River Road. “We don’t lose these battles.”
Zinburger, with another location at 6390 E. Grant Road, has a history of winning burger battles in this town — but that pride might have caused the fall. White admitted that while he and his staff encouraged diners to vote and they posted signs about the battle in the upscale burger restaurant, he did not push very hard online.
Cody’s Beef ‘n Beans, 2708 E. Fort Lowell Road, swooped in to beat Zinburger 643-622 in the first round.
“Cody’s Beef n’ Beans was probably more active,” White said. “I was a little arrogant, thinking we’ve won this so many times, we don’t have to push this for the first round.”
Lindy Reilly, the owner of Lindy’s on 4th, 431 N. Fourth Ave., didn’t waste a second before rallying his fans to start voting. Smart money would have him as a sure winner; after all, he’s appeared on the Food Network and Travel Channel in recent years and just emerged from another burger skirmish on top.
But it was a false-start as little Grumpy’s Grill at 2960 W. Ina Road — known for its peanut butter-slicked burger — swept in with a 675-582 first-round knockout. Reilly said apparently even his staunch fans skipped the registration process necessary to vote.
Reilly isn’t bitter.
“I love the concept, and there were so many other burgers,” he said. “I love going to try burgers everywhere.”
The third top contender to fall, The Parish, 6453 N. Oracle Road, is a southern gastropub that only serves two hamburgers — a basic backyard burger with lettuce, tomato and red onion, and the house special Parish burger with bleu cheese, bacon, red onion marmalade and Dijon mustard.
Defeat alongside Lindy’s and Zinburger — “the big dogs” — means almost as much as a win, said Travis Peters, The Parish chef and co-owner. Up against those guys, The Parish “always feels like the underdog.”
Trident Grill, 2033 E. Speedway, squeezed past The Parish by a mere four votes — 465-461.
“We only have two burgers, because we’re not a burger joint,” Peters said. “To have someone call us a top contender for something that isn’t our specialty is a big compliment. I’m not heartbroken.”