Until voting ended on Jan. 9, South Florida food truck owners and chefs were waging a kind of Twitter war — each vying to collect the most votes for the fourth annual Burgies.
"BC Tacos is trying to win the Best Food Truck in Broward," says Sef Gonzalez, "and every time [the owner] would tweet to his fans, the Rolling Stove would tweet to vote for him."
Gonzalez — a.k.a The Burger Beast — is the man behind BurgerBeast.com and the founder of the Burgies, which are given each year to restaurants and food trucks deemed best in their category. This year's award will be announced Saturday at the end of a day-long feast at Esplanade Park.
This is the first time Gonzalez is hosting his Burgies in Broward County. Although he organizes a popular food-truck roundup in downtown Hollywood every Monday, the awards have been Miami-centric in the past because of Gonzalez's fear his reach didn't extend this far north.
"A lot of times I've wanted to do the event in Broward, and I know the folks at Riverwalk," he says. "But I was a little uneasy because my readership is probably 65 percent Dade and 35 percent Broward. What if I did the event and no one showed up?"
Starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, more than 20 trucks and five restaurants will churn out fritas, pinchos, burgers and gelato bars.
The event setup is similar to a food-truck roundup: It's free to attend and the food is pay-as-you-go. But craft beers will be available via Brown Distributing, and a blues band made up of teenagers will perform at 7 p.m.
"The oldest member in the band is 16. He sings like a well-traveled blues guy. I play guitar and I can tell you he's a beast," Gonzalez says of Cameron Osceola, the Osceola Brothers' frontman. The trio's music does not betray their age.
Winners will be announced an hour after the band's set. They'll receive the coveted Burgie: a framed event poster with a plaque bearing their title.
Gonzalez chose five nominees for each of 13 categories, but allowed his readers to vote for a sixth. The nominees for Best Burger in Broward/Palm Beach County include BurgerFi, Gilbert's 17th St. Grill, Rok:Brgr, Charm City Burger Company and Georgie's Alibi. The latter two have won first-place awards at the Riverwalk Burger Battle in previous years.
"At the end of the day," Gonzalez says, "it's representative of my blog. I wanted them to be someone that I could be proud to say they won."
WHEN: 5-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2
WHERE: Esplanade Park, 400 SW 2nd St., Fort Lauderdale
mmurriel@SouthFlorida.com or 954-356-4710