South Philadelphia: Restaurants Support Schools with Burger Brawl

The third-annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl was held in the parking lot of Fleisher Art Memorial.

Makers of 24 of the professed “best” burgers Philadelphia has to offer competed Sunday in the third annual charity Philadelphia Burger Brawl at the Fleisher Art Memorial at 719 Catherine St.

Burgers from restaurants around the city, including The Capital Grille, Silk City and South Philadelphia Tap Room, were judged by guests and a selection committee in hopes of taking home the honor of Peoples’ and Judges’s Choice Burger of Philadelphia.

The third-annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl was held in the parking lot of Fleisher Art Memorial.
The third annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl was held in the parking lot of Fleisher Art Memorial.

A $75 entry fee for the Brawl permitted guests to sample each of the 24 burgers in an all-you-can-eat setup and enjoy drinks from Dogfish Head and Jim Beam. Guests were also treated to  dessert from Rita’s Water Ice and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

All proceeds from this culinary event go toward funding a computer lab in one of 36 School District of Philadelphia elementary schools.

Inspiration for the burger event came from the School District of Philadelphia, event co-founder Ron Wasserman said, who is the owner of three Philadelphia restaurants and burger joints, 500 Degrees, Rouge and Saint James.

“My wife, Maggie. and I wanted to help out the school our kids attended,” Wasserman said. “And since we’re both a part of the restaurant community of Philadelphia, we used what we knew.”

The first and second Philadelphia Burger Brawls funded a $54,000 computer lab at the William M. Meredith Elementary School, where Wasserman’s three children attended.

This year and in coming years, Burger Brawl will fund computer labs or laptop computers for a Philadelphia elementary school that completes and submits a proposal for a technology lab at their school. A selection committee made up of Wasserman’s restaurateur friends, local businesses and, this year, Meredith principal Cindy Folini will make the final decision on the school to receive the technology lab.

“Every school needs some sort of technology lab,” Folini said. “When Meredith received it, we knew that we would be able to provide students with the appropriate resources and skills to live and grow in the 21st century.”

The boost in the quality of instruction and access to other resources from the technology upgrade was tremendous, Folini said of the Applecomputer lab that replaced the 12-year-old computers at the school.

“Once we set up the lab at Meredith, it was like, ‘why would we ever want to stop doing an event like this,’ Wasserman said. “Not only is it a fun opportunity to help the community and see the community, but you also get to try as many burgers as you want.”

Tony Luke Jr., of Tony Luke's, was one of several judges at Sunday's brawl.
Tony Luke Jr., of Tony Luke’s, was one of several judges at Sunday’s brawl.

Wasserman decided on burgers as the item for the brawl because of the symbolism behind a good burger.

“Having a good burger means you’re having a good drink and a good time and good friends are most likely involved,” Wasserman said. “And the addition of a good cause for education makes it even better.”


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