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Boston Burger Bests Shake Shack

But was there vote fraud?

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The Shake Shack’s hamburger has been beaten. Last year, the first “Burger Bash” taste test at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival named Danny Meyer’s In-N-Out-like creation the nation’s best burger, over Daniel Boulud’s famous foie gras–infused version, a BLT Burger entry, and other competitors from across the country. At this year’s face-off, held February 21, the Shackburger lost— by a tantalizingly slim five-vote margin, out of more than 1,000 votes cast—to the “Schlow Burger” from Radius, a Boston restaurant. (The lo-fi cheeseburger from Le Parker Meridien’s Burger Joint went home empty-plated, too.) But this being Florida, there were voting irregularities: Dozens of attendees—and perhaps more—had the chance to vote twice. “It’s not fair. Maybe there shouldn’t be a winner,” said Marisa Zafran, spokesperson for the Burger Joint. Shake Shack G.M. Jon Vandegrift was more magnanimous. “Everybody had the same opportunity to capitalize on those extra votes.” Burger Bash rules require a returning champion to compete against new challengers, but festival director Lee Brian Schrager said the Shake Shack will be invited again in 2009. “There were a lot of people who were shocked that Shake Shack lost,” he said. “If there was an error, I’m even happier we’re having them back.”

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