PhotoBurgerGrilling2.jpg
If forced to name a downside to South Lake Union's phenomenal growth, the Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar team might point to increased competition in

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SLU Restaurants Bring Their Best Burgers to Block Party Contest

PhotoBurgerGrilling2.jpg
If forced to name a downside to South Lake Union's phenomenal growth, the Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar team might point to increased competition in the South Lake Union Block Party burger grilling contest.

Seastar this afternoon will defend the "best burger in the neighborhood" title it's won two years in a row. Other contenders include newcomer Brave Horse Tavern, Lunchbox Laboratory, FareStart, and Whole Foods Market.

"When we first started this, South Lake Union had hardly any restaurants," says Naomi Kakiuchi, the culinary educator emceeing the event. "This is a really neat development."

The annual block party started in 2006, with the burger competition added in 2008.

Burgers will be judged on taste, creativity, and appearance. Chefs aren't required to serve burgers from their regular menus, Kakiuchi says. "They can just get into their creative places," Kakiuchi says.

I'm judging the 5 p.m. contest, along with four other local eaters. But for folks who aren't at the party in an official capacity, restaurants are already circulating samples and food trucks rolled into the Discovery Center parking lot today at noon. Food service ends at 8 p.m., but the beer garden stays open until 10 p.m.

"It really is super family-friendly," Kakiuchi says.

See you there.

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