Local eatery will compete in World Food Championships
George Patti and Tom Smith are cocky.
And for good reason.
Their burgers — an 80/20 blend of brisket and ground chuck — have won the awards.
“To be honest, it’s been dozens and we stopped counting,” says Smith in a matter of fact tone from his office at MM 88 in Islamorada.
Since the restaurant M.E.A.T. opened less than five years ago, Trip Advisor named their burger the No. 5 burger in the country in 2014 and for the last two years they captured the Judges’ Choice award at the Boca Burger Battle.
Founded in Islamorada, the duo opened a second eatery and taproom in Boca Raton in 2014 and enjoys a growing following on the food circuit.
At the most recent Boca Burger Battle Smith, Patti and a crew of four served 700 burgers in about four hours.
“We knew it was going to be insane, so we had an air conditioner blowing on our people, so no one would fall-out,” Smith boasted.
The Islamorada resident and father of one attributes their rising success to several factors.
They smoke their own bacon, create their sauces in house (the wing sauce is another award winner), and blend their own burger mixture which Smith says gives it a “steaky flavor.”
He also credits the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce for their robust summer business and says the restaurant witnessed a notable uptick in business after M.E.A.T was featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
For their next performance, Smith and Patti take their talents on the road to compete for the title of the “Best Burger” in the World Food Championships.
The first round takes place on Friday which the championship round going down on Sunday where they will slather a sesame seed bun with a blueberry-chioplote jam, cover the burger with smoked gouda and top it off with applewood-smoked bacon and tempura battered banana for the set atop a bun buttered with a spicy peanut sauce burger known as “Mr. Sticky Fingers.”
Fans can follow their accomplishments via their Facebook page and Twitter account.
Those less interested in the awards, can sample the fare at MM 88 oceanside, seven days a week. We recommend a Nutella MilkShake and Truffle Fried with any burger.Captions
Team M.E.A.T. have earned a spot in the World Food Championships this weekend. Chef George Patti is second from left and flanked to the right by partner Tom Smith and one of their line cooks Joseph Carroll. The event’s host and judges are on the outside.