A.C. Weekly’s Burger Bash 4 is finally here. Eighteen burger places in total, putting forth their best efforts to create their ultimate combo of meat and bun. From 1-4 p.m. (noon for VIPs) Saturday, May 18, at Golden Nugget Atlantic City’s Grand Ballroom, guests will be able to sample an unlimited amount of slider-sized burgers from each restaurant and vote for their favorite. There will also be a trio of esteemed judges — Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D at Drexel University; Brian Lofink, executive chef at Tria in Philadelphia and Ron Leider, owner and chef at Mako’s Restaurant in Sea Isle City — handing out their awards for the Top 3 burgers. And to make sure the party rocks, there will be live music from LeCompt along with drink specials, T-shirts and more. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $45 for VIP which come with one hour early entry and a free T-shirt. Grab yours today at ACWeekly.com/burgerbash. Tickets will also be available to purchase at the door.

Here is the official list of competitors:

Essl’s Dugout The Messl Burger: Ever see the classic breakfast egg sandwich the “Messl” at Essl’s? Now add a burger to it. ’Nuff said.

AC Burger Co. The Bacon Pretzel Burger: Last year AC Burger Co. took home second place in the judges category. This year, they may just want it bad enough to unseat the champ.

Gordon Ramsay Steak The Ramsay Burger Slider: Gordon Ramsay is a legend so any burger coming out of his steakhouse is going to be delicious. But what really gives this burger a shot at the gold is the high-end ingredients — Raclette cheese topping a patty made from a short-rib blend is going to be tough to beat, no matter who you are.

Margate Dairy Bar The MDB Burger: A simple all-American classic, Margate Dairy Bar’s MDB Burger wowed both crowds and judges last year, taking home 1st place in both categories thanks to its straightforward, no-nonsense approach as well as its size and amazing backyard cookout style flavor. A Pat LaFrieda blend of ground short rib and brisket topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and a “secret sauce” on one of their branded potato roll buns, this is the burger every restaurant at Burger Bash will be looking to take down this year.

Topgolf Swing Suite The Topgolf Burger: The name doesn’t give away any details, but lets just say that when you literally throw sausage into the mix you raise your chances of victory considerably. And when you use a garlic knot as the bun? Fuggettaboutit ...

Villain & Saint The Southern Waygu Patty Melt: Villain & Saint shocked the competition when their wing took third place from the judges at Wing Wars . Could their burger repeat or even outdo that success at Burger Bash? It’s possible. High-end beef on a rye bun with caraway seeds that will taste like nothing else at the competition.

Council Oak Fish The Bar Burger: A place named Council Oak Fish coming out with a trophy at a burger competition? But bite into the custom blend patty and everything you thought you knew about burgers that come from fish restaurants goes right out the window.

Johnny Rockets The Honey BBQ Crunch Burger: Johnny Rockets entire concept is based around classic American fare. A little sweet from the honey barbecue, a bit of applewood-smoked bacon and just like that here comes the trophy.

Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall The Badass Black and Blue Burger: Short ribs resting on blue cheese with smashed avocado— and that’s before you even get to the burger patty. How could this not be a serious contender?

Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House The Little Mac Burger: Vagabond is no stranger to these events, often taking home a trophy. This year they chose to recreate a certain famous burger from a certain chain restaurant which may or may not have a clown mascot with a rhyming name. Tasting those familiar flavors kicked up by the Vagabond crew may be enough for a victory.

Tony Beef The Camel Burger: It’s a camel burger. Like as in they use actual camel meat. It goes without saying that this burger is going to be getting a lot of attention that day.

Michael Patrick’s Brasserie The Michael Patrick Burger: A classic bacon cheeseburger is one thing, but when you add in the Martin’s potato roll, you get people’s attention. And opting for sugar bacon over the traditional version is bound to wake up more than a few taste buds.

Vic & Anthony’s The Vic Burger: Vic & Anthony’s may be best known for steaks, but do you know what you get when you grind up that prime beef instead of serving it as a steak? Well, here it is. And the blend of both white cheddar and American cheeses with some smokey bacon just might win the judges over.

Chelsea Five Gastropub The Turkey Burger: Being that it’s the only non-beef based burger on the list, Chelsea Five’s Turkey Burger automatically stands out from the pack by default. Besides that, the use of some very unusual ingredients like basil and balsamic caramelized onions are sure to make many fall in love with it.

Hard Rock Café The Guinness Burger: Hard Rock’s decision to add a Jameson bacon jam and a Guinness cheese sauce will likely make this burger as intoxicating as it sounds.{/span}

Joseph’s Pub & Grill at Renault Winery The Renault Burger: The high-end folk will appreciate the brie while the rest of us commoners will go bonkers for the frizzled onions. Either way everybody wins. Maybe even the burger itself.

Bill’s Bar & Burger The Mini B: A lot of these burgers on our list were originally intended as full-size behemoths, which means they have to adapt to the slider size on the fly for Burger Bash. But the Mini B was always intended to be a slider, so they’re already right in their comfort zone, while most competitors are still figuring things out.

Ruby’s Dinette The Hickory Burger: What’s better than a burger? A burger involving both onion rings and “Ruby sauce.” Ruby’s hits it out of the park with this one.

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Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

Freelance reporter for At The Shore/Atlantic City Insiders from 2011-2015; Editor in Chief, MainStreetMarlboro.com,2014-2015; Writer for Zagat, 2013

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