Newport Burger Bender 2024 is over, and I am sick of burgers. Over the past week, I tried ten options from restaurants on the Island. While some were offered off the island, there was plenty closer by that kept me busy. After trying so many burgers, I am at a loss for how some of my friends have tried more. I’m sick of burgers and will be shocked if I have another in the upcoming weeks.

Here is my list in order of trying them:

  1. Yagi Noodles - Filet-O Ebi
  2. 5th Elements - Dr.’s Orders
  3. Boru - Umami Burger
  4. The Wharf Southern Kitchen - Buffalo BBQ Burger
  5. The Boat House - Hawaiian Tuna Burger
  6. The Mooring - Gina Marie
  7. 41 North - 41 North Burger
  8. Tremblay’s - The Patriot
  9. La Vencina - Smash Burger
  10. Stoneacre - Chef Bender Burger

The following is a longer post on my opinions and thoughts about each burger.

Yagi Noodles - Filet-O Ebi

Yagi Filet-O Ebi

Disclaimer: Many may note that I post a lot about Yagi. I am friends with the people who own/work here. I met many of them at CrossFit and maintained a friendship. I am biased.

This was my overall winner of the Bender. It’s funny that it was the first one I tried. Last year, I tried their option and thought it was good but nothing special or unique. This year, I felt different.

This was a shrimp patty. Dressed with lettuce and house mayo on a house-made sesame bun.

Official Description:

Panko breaded shrimp patty, yum yum sauce, napa slaw, served on a sesame milk bun with bang bang fries.

This doesn’t do it justice. It was very fresh on the patty’s inside and just popped in your mouth. The fries were cooked perfectly, and the mayo on top was incredible.

As it was my first, I couldn’t give it a 10, but I gave it an 8.8/10.

Fifth Element - Dr.’s Orders

Drs Orders by Fifth Element

Starting the week strong, I did this for dinner after Yagi for Lunch. These burgers couldn’t be further apart. Yagi’s was light and fresh, and this was HEAVY!

Official Description:

Double decker 8 oz. patties smothered in jalapeño pesto, sriracha bacon aioli, American cheese, topped with fried onion strings, and queso fuego, served on a brioche bun with crispy garlic fries.

As the description explains, a lot was going on here, too much, in my opinion. The flavors made it hard to appreciate the burger. The photo is fantastic, and it came with an injector for cheese. That was about it. I couldn’t finish it. It was too spicy, and the meat patties just weren’t that good.

My rating is 4/10.

Boru - Umami Burger

Boru Smash Burger


Beef burger topped with black garlic aioli, cured egg yolk, kimchi pickles, togarashi bacon, smoked cheddar, and shredded cabbage, served with sesame fries and sriracha ketchup.

Boru is a noodle joint. I would not have expected them to do a burger, and after the last burger of the Dr.’s Order, I was pretty ready to be let down. Surprise, this burger was rather great. My burger-tasting companion wished they had toasted the bun, but honestly, I was happy with it. I thought it was simple and direct. It was tasty. It wasn’t too big. The fries were done well and the sriracha ketchup was just good. I really really liked this burger.

Looking back, this may have been my favorite or close to my favorite beef burger.

My rating is 7/10.

The Wharf Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar’s - Buffalo BBQ Burger

The Wharf


Stacked double patty burger with BBQ beef and Buffalo chicken patties, topped with blue cheese, lettuce and crispy onions, served with a choice of crispy tater tots or fries.

This was my first time at The Wharf Southern Kitchen. I’ve walked by it a bunch but have yet to go in. They are currently under construction, but their inside was still available for dining.

It is tight but nice. The inside is pretty dark but still cute and has lots of wood. Feels pretty darn southern.

First thing first, this post is about the burger, but being as it was my first time in there, here are a couple of observations:

  • Prices for drinks are HIGH. I understand it is near Bowen’s Wharf, but when a pour of Bullet costs you 14 dollars, you have to question it. Go to Tavern on Broadway, and you can get Stagg Jr for 13.
  • The place was dark, very dark. I didn’t love it. It was hard to read the bottles.
  • They are committed to whiskey and have some exciting stuff if you are willing to spend the money. (meaning, they have Pappy)

On to the Burger:

I split the burger with a friend, so I only had half and wished I had a whole one. It was delicious. Blue cheese was used sparingly, and I didn’t get it until the second bite. My friend said he missed it. Despite being a double patty, it was small, and the chicken somehow complimented the burger.

The burger was tasty, and the fries did an excellent job complimenting it. It was even more interesting the Boru burger, so I’m going with 7.3/10

The Boat House: Hawaiian Tuna Burger

Boat House Hawaiian

Official Description:

Fresh ground tuna, papaya pineapple slaw, poke glaze, sriracha lime aioli, and avocado, served on a toasted King’s Hawaiian roll.

I was surprised at how much I liked the ground Tuna. The poke glaze had the citrus feeling I was looking for, and the slaw was not overwhelming. This is a strong contender for the top, but the choice of a Kings Hawaiian bun put it behind the homemade bun from the Yagi. The sweet potato fries that it came with were excellent!

Overall Rating: 8.3/10

The Mooring: Gina Marie

The Mooring Gina Marie

Official Description:

Short rib and brisket patty, hot Portuguese pepper relish, crispy chourico, fontina, and a sunny side egg, served on a toasted bolo roll.

There are a bunch of words in this description that I didn’t know.

  • Chourico - Portuguese sausage similar to Chorizo.
  • Fontina - semisoft cheese

The choice of Bolo for a burger concerned me from the beginning.

The burger was VERY MESSY. The Chourico tasted like pepperoni—an interesting choice for a breakfast-type burger. The choice of the Bolo felt wrong. It didn’t contain the egg, which seemed to cause the burger to be so messy. The peppers were quite tasty. The fries, on the other hand, were just wrong. They had a cardboard-like taste, and I had difficulty eating even with ketchup.

This was their attempt for three years, so I was disappointed. Still, it was better than Fifth Element.

Overall Rating: 6/10

41 North Burger

41 North Burger

Official description:

8 oz. Pat LaFrieda dry-aged blend, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, Bibb lettuce, and tomato, served on a brioche bun.

We went because it looked simple, and we were in for a simple burger. There was nothing special about the Burger Bender; it was just the standard burger they have on the menu all year. They didn’t even have a Burger Bender Flyer. The presentation of the burger was fundamental, just the burger with onions, lettuce, and tomato.

It was a delicious meat patty, but that was about it. The onions were alright, but they didn’t add anything special. The bun could have done with a toasting. While the fries were better than the Mooring, they could have been more inspiring.

Also, we ordered two medium burgers and one medium rare; I ordered the medium rare. My burger was medium rare, but one of our medium burgers was VERY pink. They either mixed up who got which burger or cooked it incorrectly. Either way, it could be a better showing.

My overall verdict: 5.5/10

Tremblay’s: The Patriot

Tremblays Patriot

Official Description:

Sirloin burger with American cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Thousand Island dressing, served on a toasted potato roll with French fries and a pickle spear.

This was another burger on the standard menu and not made special for the Burger Bender. When I looked through their menu, they had more outrageous options that they could have nominated. The Patriot seemed like the primary option. Still, to honor the competition, I ordered it.

It tasted juicy, but this was just a traditional burger. I couldn’t get the 1000 Island taste, but this is traditional on animal-style burgers at In-N-Out, so I’m curious if I was just used to it. The burger itself was stacked high and seemed too big for my mouth. This is a standard practice in Portsmouth, where the Localz sandwiches are too big. The fries were good.

Because this was a pretty traditional burger, but done well, overall rating: 6/10.

La Vecina Smash Burger

La Vecina Official Description:

Two 3 oz. patties, bacon jalapeño jam, chorizo aioli, spicy cabbage, crispy cheese, and queso fresco, served on a potato roll.

This was a delicious burger. Its taste reminded me a bit of the Mooring (both restaurants are NRG), but it held together much better because of the potato bun. The crispy cheese was also a good choice. In addition to the great taste, it was the most reasonable thing on the menu, priced at $14. It was served with chips and queso, but the burger was so good I didn’t miss them.

Simple and excellent, overall rating: 8/10.

Stoneacre: Chef Bender Burger


Official Description:

8 oz. Wagyu beef patty, pimento cheese, butter lettuce, tomato, and malt vinegar aioli, served on a Bavarian pretzel roll.

To be fair to Stoneacre, this was the last of 10 burgers. I was sick of burgers about six burgers in.

I was splitting this with a friend, and Stoneacre was nice enough to split it for us, which was super friendly. It was served with a small garden salad, which I appreciated after all the fries I’d had over the past week. The Wagyu was pretty interesting, and this might be the first time I tried it on a burger. It was very juicy and fatty, and I regret that we ordered it medium; we probably should have ordered it well. I shouldn’t feel this way, but the Bib lettuce was my favorite part of this burger. It was needed for the softness of the meat.

Aside: I might have a problem; I often dream of lettuce and salad.

While this was tasty, it wasn’t anything special or high on my list. This may be because I was packed off my half burger at La Vecina.

Overall Rating: 6.5/10.

My ratings

Based on scores, my rating was:

  1. Yagi Noodle 8.8/10
  2. The Boat House 8.3/10
  3. La Vecina 8/10
  4. The Wharf 7.3/10
  5. Boru 7/10
  6. Stoneacre 6.5/10
  7. The Mooring 6/10
  8. Tremblay’s 6/10
  9. 41 North 5.5/10
  10. Fifth Element 4/10

I stand behind these ratings. The only two I wouldn’t do again are 41 North and Fifth Element. They just weren’t that good. Everything else was tasty enough to try if offered again.

Official Ratings

According to Discover Newport, here are the official ratings (including burgers I didn’t try)

Beef Category Winner: 22 Bowen’s - French Onion Burger
Best Non-Beef: The Boat House - The Hawaiian Tuna Burger
Best Plant-Based: Sprout and Lentil - Yo’Spicy Bulgogi Burger

They also offered the following superlatives:

  • Best Drip: Birria Patty Melt - Chomp Kitchen and Drinks
  • Most Likely To Go To Med School: Dr.’s Order - Fifth Element
  • Rookie Of The Year: Boru Umami Burger - Boru Noodle Bar
  • Most Likely To Study Abroad: Burger alla Gricia - Guisto
  • Best Dupe: Bacon Beer Cheese Hopper - Basil & Bunny
  • Most Likely To Tempt A Vegetarian: Pastrami Smash Burger Slider - Gas Lamp Grille

My Feelings on the Ratings

I’m afraid I have to disagree with the choice of the Boathouse over Yagi for the non-beef option. I reached out to Discover Newport and received the following voting statistics:

The Boat House: 134 votes with 339 Burgers Sold
Yagi Noodle: 66 votes with 120 Burgers Sold

Interestingly, 55% of the people who ordered the Yagi Burger voted for it, and about 39% of those who ordered The Boat House burger voted for it. As someone who had both, I can tell you the staff at The Boat House were very aggressive in convincing people to vote for it. I was asked to vote for it as I ordered it, when it showed up, when it was taken away, and when I was given the check. People arguing that the clients at The Boat House are older and, therefore, less likely to vote for it might have a point. The amount of pressure from the staff should be considered an offset. Also, the wait time for a burger at The Boat House was 40ish minutes, so people had plenty of time to vote while waiting for food.

This makes me call to question some of the rules of the contest, the number of tables in a place and location, and all other factors that make it so that larger establishments are more likely to win just by the nature of their already successful business and does not allow some of the smaller places to be as successful.

Here are the rules I wish Discover Newport would use for future Burger Benders:

  • Votes should be counted on a percentage basis with a minimum number of burgers sold, like 50.
  • I wanted to know how to vote for multiple categories, which should be more apparent.
  • While it was interesting to include restaurants in Warren and elsewhere off the island, you should limit it to restaurants on the island. Or have a separate competition for on and off-island.
  • You should not be allowed to participate in the Burger Bender with a regular menu like Trembley’s and 41 North. I was disappointed.
  • If you are participating, you should be required to serve your Burger the entire week during the event. Bowen’s 22 only served their burger during lunch, and fitting them in was just too hard. I’m pretty disappointed that they won.


While this post contains a lot of complaints, this was an enjoyable week of trying new things. I enjoyed. I got to eat out with many friends and was also grateful for that.

While I wish Discover Newport would make the changes above, I’ll probably partake in it again in future years. I might pick my top 6 burgers instead of trying to do a whole 10.

Update from an anonymous source

A friend read my post and advised that I break down judging for future years into four categories:

  1. Buns - which are usually store-bought but need to compliment the burger and fit the style.
  2. Meat - should be juicy and seasoned well. Cooked to at least medium.
  3. Sauce and Top - this category includes cheese, bacon, sauces, and veggies.
  4. Side - pairing the burger with an appropriate side, usually fries.

My notes for this past year could have fit this better. I will make sure to break it down better next time through.