If it’s fall in Philadelphia, it's Burger Brawl time. Maggie and Rob Wasserman, the owners of Rouge in Rittenhouse Square came up with the idea in 2011. They created the culinary competition literally on the grounds of The William M. Meredith Elementary School, it was the school that their children attended, to raise money to rebuild the computer lab. The event was so successful that it inspired them to create an annual Burger Brawl to raise money for other Philadelphia Schools and programs that needed assistance to help Philadelphia Youth.
This year's Brawl will have about 60 of the city's leading restaurants and chefs competing for the title of best burger. The event will take place at Xfinity LIVE! on Nov. 6.
All proceeds will go to help fund the School District of Philadelphia.
This year's Burger Brawl features a competitor who was recently featured on the Hulu original series "Best in Dough," where he earned the nickname "Rocky of Pizza." David Lee's love for the Philadelphia Eagles is second only to his love of pizza.
Since he was a child, Lee has been attracted to the skill of preparing dough. He has spent numerous hours reading and testing recipes, as well as studying and picking the brains of some of the country's top pizza makers (including Tony Gemignani, Giulio Adriani, Joe Beddia, and Daniel (Pizza Hut) Gutter, to name a few). His family and friends have been the fortunate recipients of these tests over the years, until they persuaded him to start sharing his incredible dough with the rest of the globe. With the assistance of his wife Ana, they endeavored to serve the greatest quality pizza to local private parties and venues lacking kitchens. Pizza Jawn, a mobile pizza business for approximately two years, had finally erected a storefront on Main Street in Manayunk.
He described how he began his culinary journey.
“I am one of the few competitors that doesn't do burgers at the shop. We are a pizza company. We were a mobile company that we started as a passion project about seven years ago. I taught myself how to make pizza because it’s my favorite food. Long story short, I owned a crossfit gym, my wife is a full time real estate agent and we started doing pizza as a side gig on the weekends. When the pandemic hit, we were booked out at that point for about six months between weddings, breweries etc. “
The pandemic caused them to shut down their full time gigs however soon they began receiving requests from customers about their pizza.
“People started asking if they could swing by the house, if we would make a pizza for them in our front yard. We were doing approximately 300 pizzas a week out of the house. We incorporated time slots so there was no contact. However a place became available and we were still out of work but we pulled the trigger and opened Pizza Jawn in August of 2020,” Lee enthusiastically explained their journey owning a brick and mortar place.
The restaurant has been open for over two years and is doing quite well. One may ask how they are able to participate in a Burger Brawl if they make pizzas.
“The Burgers is something we did on the road,” he clarifies. “We don’t do the burgers here at the shop but we do them for private events and catering. The feedback has always been how good they are. So, we decided to throw our hat in the contest this year.”
He and his team submitted the Jalapeno Jawn as their burger, and he described the inspiration behind it.
“I love spicy food. For me, having a little spice on something always kicks up food. My inspiration for the Jalapeno Jawn were Smash Burgers. One of the things people do in the Smash Burger World is they take the thin onions and smash them into the burger. I had a thought one day to try that with jalapenos.”
The fact that Lee owns a pizza shop does not diminish the excitement that he will bring to the competition.
Burger Brawl is a fantastic way to bring people together for a good cause.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit phillyburgerbrawl.com.
And to learn more about Pizza Jawn go to pizzajawn.com.