Late last year, Broadsheet published a series of articles identifying a burger revolution happening in Sydney. It turns out it was only the beginning.
Two weeks ago we announced Hashtag Burgers was putting on Sydney's first major burger festival, Burgerpalooza. Although some of Sydney’s most cultishly popular burger makers would be in attendance Bar Luca, Chef’s Kitchen, Pub Life Kitchen, Barrio Cellar, it was supposed to be a casual affair at Enmore’s Vic on the Park. No tickets, just six stalls and $9 burgers.
A lot has changed since then.
Sydney now has another massive, unrelated burger event, Burger Wars. It's a burger cook-off between the chefs and owners of Mary’s, Ume, Burger Project, Icebergs, Anason and Belle’s Hot Chicken. There’s also a smaller pop-up this weekend, in the south west, also put on by Hashtag Burgers.
Burgerpalooza is not going ahead as originally planned. A day after news of the festival broke, Burgerpalooza had already received 10,000 expressions of interest on Facebook. “We really wanted to pack out the venue but not like this,” says Hashtag Burgers’ Ben Kagen, who’s running the festival with business partner Archie Saliba.
Kagen and Saliba have told Broadsheet exclusively that Burgerpalooza will now be held at a much bigger venue, Manning House at the University of Sydney, and run over two days. The format is the same but instead of being a free event it’s now ticketed, with one ticket giving you five hours in the festival. The burgers themselves have gone up $1 but there’s more to choose from. One Tea Lounge, doing desserts, is joining the six original stalls (with one more to be announced). “The main reason is to pay for security and fences and all that crap and also to keep it so the lines aren't that long,” says Kagen. “We do feel bad changing so much but it's to make the festival better for everyone. We want to keep it small so it still has that vibe we were aiming for, just at a bigger venue.”
The two main burger events represent different schools of burger fandom. Burgerpalooza features the chefs favoured by the members of the Fatties Burger Appreciation Society. Burger Wars features the more established, well-known favourites, that (until recently) were favoured by the media.
With Burgerpalooza, Burger Wars the south-west Sydney event within a few weeks of each other, as well as countless smaller burger events popping up, it seems Sydney’s burger scene has more than revolutionised, it’s exploded. Kagen says the reason its burgers and not ramen or anything else is the community that’s evolved. “I really think the community and the culture is a big part of it,” he says, mentioning Facebook’s monstrously influential page, Fatties Burger Appreciation Society. “It's not just about the food … It's about finding new things and talking to your friend to find the best burger.”
Burgerpalooza is on April 16–17 from 11am–10pm at Manning House in the University of Sydney, Camperdown. Tickets are $6.99 + booking fee. Buy tickets here.
Burger Wars is on March 20 from 11am–4pm at the Wulugul Walk pop-up in Barangaroo.