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City hosts its own annual burger battle

Leigh and Diane Halvorsen, owners of the Village Inn Sports Bar & Grill in North Hudson pose for a photo with their Blue Ribbon Burger.

The voters picked Halvorsen's Blue Ribbon Burger as the best of those offered by seven Hudson-area restaurants that participated in the second-annual fundraiser. 

"There's so much flavor in there, it's ridiculous," said Halvorsen, owner of the Village Inn Sports Bar & Grill in North Hudson. 

The Blue Ribbon Burger is two one-third pound patties of ground beef, topped with melted pepper jack and Swiss cheese, a creamy white cheese dip, tomato, onion and fried bacon slices, and drizzled with a homemade tzatziki guacamole sauce -- on a bun held together with a skewer and topped with onion rings and a dill pickle spear. 

Halvorsen said a common reaction from patrons when the burger arrives is: "Oh, my god. How am I going to eat it?" 

The answer, he said, is with a knife and fork. "Although some people squish it down and go at it." 

While Halvorsen created the Blue Ribbon Burger especially for the Burger Battle, he'll bring it back for a week once a month throughout the year. He plans to feature four different burgers for one week each month, and the Blue Ribbon Burger will be part of the rotation. 

BRIDGE for Youth and Adults with Disabilities was the other winner of the 2012 Burger Battle. 

The Hudson-based nonprofit received $5,925 from the sale of $25 punch cards that people could use to get a free burger from each of the participating restaurants. The patrons then voted for the best burger on BRIDGE's website.

The other participating restaurants were Agave Kitchen, Dick's Bar and Grill, J.W. Kaladi's, Season's Tavern, Uncle Mike's M Pour E Yum and Willow River Inn. 

Executive Director Peg Gagnon said the money would go into direct programming for the approximately 100 youth and adults served by BRIDGE. 

The organization provides life skills training for about 35 people at its location on Brakke Drive in the town of Hudson. Another 35 people are aided in holding typical jobs in the community. And about 30 youth attend the nonprofit's social and recreational programs.

"We're looking at expanding some employment service," Gagnon said. "We need to get more people with disabilities into regular jobs."