Scottsdale Culinary Festival Burger Battle: Here Are the 2015 Winners

On Thursday night, Valley food lovers headed to the stylish Hotel Valley Ho for the Scottsdale Culinary Festival's annual Burger Battle. Unlike some of the festival's more upscale events, the Burger Battle offers event-goers a relaxed atmosphere -- and as many burgers and sliders as you can eat in three hours.

With 14 restaurants competing for the title of Best Burger in the Valley this year, there was certainly no shortage of ground beef and buns. We helped judge this year's competition, along with fellow judges: chefs Robert DeSantis and Jaime Palenque, former Arizona Diamondback Luis "Gonzo" Gonzalez, and Ellie and Jake Leinenkugel. Here are the results.

See also: 10 Best Burgers in Metro Phoenix

First Place, Judge's Choice: Hopdoddy Burger Bar

For the second year in a row, Austin-based Hopdoddy Burger Bar took home the top prize in the burger competition. We appreciated the relative simplicity of the burger, which featured an Akaushi burger patty topped with Brie cheese, truffle aioli, arugula, caramelized onions, and steak sauce. Though it wasn't the most inventive burger of the night, Hopdoddy put out a solid, elevated burger that was neither over the top, nor boring.

Second Place, Judge's Choice: Zinburger

Zinburger's take on a classic reuben won our vote for flavor. With a high quality Snake River Farms Kobe beer patty serving as a base, this burger started strong. Toppings including pastrami, shredded cabbage, and a pickle boosted the mix, and a spicy stone ground mustard delivered just the right amount of kick.

Third Place, Judge's Choice: ZuZu

ZuZu at the Hotel Valley Ho offered a sweet and savory Gala Burger that featured freshly ground chuck, menage cheese, and bacon-Gala apple jam. With just these three elements, ZuZu created a nice balance of flavors that still showcased the quality of the burger patty.

People's Choice winners:

First Place -- Aioli Burger

Signature Italiano Slider: Slider with fresh mozzarella, tomato, balsamic reduction, crispy panchetta, and basil garlic aioli

Second Place -- ZuZu

Third Place -- Bootleggers

Bootastic Burger: Special house grind, smoked bacon and onion jam, artisanal American cheese, dill pickles, secret sauce, on Chompie's rye bread

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Lauren Saria
Contact: Lauren Saria