Winnipeg burger contest wraps up for another year
By: Rainah Uhl
This story was originally published on Sept. 26, 2022. Due to a technical malfunction on Sept. 27, 2022, this story was erased from The Projector website. Edits on this version may differ from original edits made.
With another Le Burger Week in the bag, restaurants around Winnipeg can return to their regularly scheduled programming. The city’s most popular food contest, which started in 2012 across Canada, boasted 221 burgers this year and included an additional week to give burger lovers a chance to vote for their favourites…. and stuff their faces.
Nyk Bielak, one half of the duo running the Hoagie Boyz sandwich shop, said he has a love-hate relationship with the highly anticipated week.
“I can tell you preparing for burger week is a pain in the ass but also always a blast to see what they come up with,” Bielak said. “Our Nothing Matters Party Til You Die burger was fairly simple but executed really well. We always strive for things to be tasty and dumb.”
Kyra Fanning who runs the Instagram page Burgers On the Brain, also knows a lot about tasty. Fanning’s Instagram and TikTok accounts document her journey of reviewing Winnipeg’s burgs. During last year’s Le Burger Week, Fanning tried 57 burgers in one week, which has amassed a growing following on social media.
“I used to do video burger reviews for my close friends before I started my account because I loved burger week, and my friends were always asking me where to go,” Fanning said. “I love supporting different businesses and introducing folks to new places they may not have heard of before.”
Fanning said although Le Burger Week’s extension allowed her more time to try entries, she’s not a fan of the new schedule.
“It is incredibly hard on restaurant staff and management when there is already a major labour shortage in hospitality,” she said. “I also think it promotes overconsumption.”
Another factor of Le Burger Week is price. Some of this year’s entries were upwards of $100 due to expensive ingredients. Hoagie Boyz’s sub-burger sat at $17, a standard price for most restaurants during the contest.
“We like to use quality products and try to create the best damn sandwich possible, and that’s all reflected in the price,” Bielak said.
For those wanting to try a more expensive burger without budgeting for it, Fanning recommends having more hands on deck.
“I always make sure to have a bigger group of friends, and we split them more ways,” Fanning said. “I suggest others do the same.”
With the Hoagie Boyz back to making sandwiches instead of burgers, Bielak has reminisced about this year’s contest and started plotting for Le Burger Week 2023.
“Winnipeg is so weird, and I love that about it,” he said. “Everyone in hospitality has a love-hate relationship with burger week just like they have a love-hate relationship with the city.”