UPDATE: Rankin Vault triumphs in WNC Battle of the Burger

Photo by Cindy Kunst

Event organizer Kelly Denson informs Xpress that additional Battle of the Burger awards have been determined. Second place was awarded to Farm to Fender, and 3rd place went to King James Public House.  Here is the story that we ran on Aug. 11, highlighting the first place winner, Rankin Vault.

The battle was fierce, especially for having taken place in a hotel parking lot. As the smoke wafted across the grounds of the inaugural WNC Battle of the Burger on Sunday, Aug. 10, all nine competitors dug into their trenches to grill up the best they had to offer.

Among the competitors on the grounds of the Renaissance Asheville Hotel were Creekside Taphouse, Ambrozia, Farm to Fender food truck, Ben’s Tune Up, Buffalo Nickel, Farm Burger, King James Public House, Mojo Kitchen and Lounge and The Social from East Asheville (not to be confused with the similarly named Social Lounge & Tapas downtown).

Hosted by Asheville Food Fights, who brought us last years Wing Wars, the winner was promised a trip to Las Vegas for November’s World Food Championships. With bayonets drawn, the competitors brought their best, or worst, as the case may have been. The Social slung a double-decker burger. King James dealt out a seared rare burger with fried onion, smoked gouda, lardo and house-made pickles. Meanwhile, Buffalo Nickel was serving their burger topped with a foamy, house-made cheddar cheese whip with onion jam and bacon. “It’s like redneck molecular gastronomy,” said Chef Ryan Kline.

The rain held off as clouds pressed in on the crowds lined up in front of the Rankin Vault’s tent. For years locals have touted the late-night burger from the popular bar, but this year the Vault finally got its trophy, winning the war with their Hickory Nut Gap burger topped with Heritage Farms bacon, white cheddar cheese, arugula and red onion in a homemade vinaigrette and spicy Duke’s mayonnaise. And even as event organizer Kelly Denson presented the amazing trophy in the shape of a giant burger to Vault owner Joel Hartzler, the line persisted as everyone tried to grab a last bite of the now award-winning burger.

Pisgah Brewing and Sierra Nevada provided beer to the thirsty crowds, and Pierce Edens and Josh Blake’s Juke Box were among the musical acts.

A tip of the hat should be directed toward organizer Kelly Denson, whose events — which include the Asheville Wing Wars and this year’s remarkable Music Video Asheville Awards — continue to increase in popularity as well as quality and leave us waiting to see what Asheville Food Fights will bring us next.


Photos by Cindy Kunst


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About Jonathan Ammons
Native Asheville writer, eater, drinker, bartender and musician. Proprietor of www.dirty-spoon.com Follow me @jonathanammons

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