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61 Chop House Grille crowned Iowa’s Best Burger

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 10:17 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013 10:18 a.m. CST

AMES (MCT) — Well, Elms Club in Creston was not named Iowa’s Best Burger this year by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association like many locals had hoped. But, Elms co-owner Donna King said that doesn’t mean they lost either.

“I know we didn’t win the contest, but we still feel like we won because we got a lot of free publicity, free advertisement and the contest created a lot of talk and interest in our menu at the Elms Club,” King said. “We want to again thank everyone who has supported us now and in the past. This will only make us work harder for next year.”

Elms Club was one of 10 finalists in the contest.

When the announcement came late Thursday morning, the “crown” for Iowa’s Best Burger in 2013 went to the 61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis, where they serve the Angus Black Crown Burger, “a hit whether you are looking for juicy and flavorful beef or have a fun upscale burger in mind.”

The Angus Black Crown Burger was specifically created to enter this year’s Iowa Best Burger contest — said chef Terry Reis and his wife Lori Denney. Iowa’s Best Burger starts with a fresh 8-ounce certified angus beef patty charbroiled to medium.

This was not Reis’ first foray into developing a burger he hoped would catch the judges’ eyes and taste buds. In 2011, 61 Chop House Grille also reached the Top 10 designation with ‘The Barn Burger,’ which is layered with Swiss and American cheeses, a secret “barn sauce,” and topped with a haystack of home-made onion straws.

Denney, who manages the marketing for the restaurant said “being involved in Iowa’s Best Burger contest helps us generate activity here.” The 2011 contest increased their hamburger sales by 40 percent and helped identify them as a destination restaurant in a town with a population of 1,600. They regularly draw customers from the Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Mount Pleasant and Washington.

This is the fourth year of the Iowa Best Burger contest. During this year’s contest, more than 6,320 nominations were received. Those nominations named 349 Iowa restaurants in 170 Iowa communities.

The other Top 10 nominees were (alphabetically): Ankeny Diner, Ankeny; B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli, Des Moines; Elm’s Club, Creston; First Street Grille, Keosauqua; JB’s Bar & Grill, Marcus; Rosco’s, Norwalk; Sam’s Sodas and Sandwiches, Carroll; The Ritz, Arnold’s Park; and Zombie Burger, Des Moines.

Last year, the winner was the Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids. Other previous winners include Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City, 2010; and Rusty Duck in Dexter, 2011.

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