NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 4, 2013

A meaty competition

Burger Battle winner featured on Port restaurant's menu

Todd’s Famous Burger is about to become more famous.

As the winner of Michael’s Harborside’s first Ultimate Burger Battle, the creation by Byfield resident Todd Giedraitis is now on the specials menu for the month of December at the Newburyport restaurant.

“We’ve sold a few already,” general manager Matt Kirk said yesterday.

The “famous” label is something that Giedraitis said he affixes to a number of the meals he cooks for his two children, 14-year-old Alden and 10-year-old Sophie.

“Pretty much everything was famous,” said Giedraitis, adding that it started with a pasta dish. “It kind of stuck after that.”

The burger recipe is one that Giedraitis has honed over the years, starting when he was a child helping his mother.

“She would chop up onions and put it inside the burger,” he said. “When I tried it on the kids, they enjoyed it, too.”

Later tweaks included adding a mixture of Heinz 57 Sauce and mayonnaise and topping the burger with cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and more onions. One day, Giedraitis experimented with Indian spices, something he uses a lot while cooking. He didn’t tell his children, but they loved the flavors so much, they told him to make the recipe that way every time.

“They absolutely love it,” he said. “They’re my biggest food critics.”

His children were also there to share in his victory when his burger was proclaimed No. 1 during a celebration late last month.

“I was shocked,” said Giedraitis, who also received a $150 gift certificate to Michael’s. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is cool.’”

Kirk said he and executive chef Beau Marchitelli came up with the idea for a local contest after attending the Battle of the Burger in Boston this past summer. They decided to gauge interest in the Newburyport area by starting on a small scale, soliciting entries through the restaurant’s email list and advertisements in The Daily News.

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