4/2/2014 12:00:00 AM
Iowa's Best Burger? Find it at Brick City Grill in Ames
The Brick City Grill in Ames is the 2014 winner of Iowa’s Best Burger contest. The restaurant is a first time entrant in the state-wide contest.
And the response from owner Jason Mikkelson, reflected his understanding of what that means. “Pinch me! That’s the first thought I had,” said Mikkelsen when he learned that his restaurant, was this year’s winner. “I’m in shock that we accomplished this so soon.”
Mikkelsen opened Brick City Grill just a year ago, bringing to the restaurant 18 years of experience in the restaurant business and ideas that he had gleaned and catalogued over that time.
So, what’s the secret to making Iowa’s Best Burger? Mikkelsen says he lets the beef do the talking. He uses a proprietary chuck blend, ground on order and delivered fresh to the restaurant. There, it is hand-pattied and flat-top grilled on order with only salt and pepper added. “The flat top sears the burger and lets it cook in its own juices so you get a juicier burger that way,” he said. “You can put all the toppings on it, but you are still going to taste the beef.”
Although the menu at Brick City Grill is varied, beef takes center stage, with eight varieties of hamburgers, priced $7.99 to $12.99 with a side. You will find also find a beef selection included in everything from appetizers to salads to all-beef hotdogs to entrees. “I’m a beef guy,” Mikkelsen said, noting he’s more likely to put a steak on the grill at home than other protein options.
This is the fifth year that the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and the Iowa Beef Industry Council have teamed up to sponsor Iowa’s Best Burger contest. Iowans submitted more than 9,600 nomination votes for 456 restaurants in February and March that selected the Top Ten restaurants. The Top Ten were then independently visited and judged based on the hamburger’s taste, appearance, and proper serving temperature (160 degrees).
Other restaurants that made the Top Ten with Brick City Grill are (alphabetically): Ankeny Diner, Ankeny; Big City Burgers & Greens, Des Moines; Elm’s Club, Creston; Ferg’s My Tighe’s, Grand Junction; First Street Grille, Keosauqua; Rides Bar & Grill, Fort Dodge; Sam’s Sodas and Sandwiches, Carroll; The Ritz, Arnold’s Park; and Zombie Burger, Des Moines.
Previous winners in the contest are 2013—61 Chop House Grille in Mediapolis; 2012—Coon Bowl III in Coon Rapids; 2011—Rusty Duck in Dexter; and 2010—Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City.
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If you go:
Brick City Grill is located at 2704 Stange Rd., just north of the Iowa State University Campus. There is limited street parking, and a parking lot is located behind the building.
Its hours are 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday through Thursday; and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
They take reservations, but only for seatings before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The number is 515-268-4224.
The restaurant occupancy is 99. Mikkelsen suggested Monday through Wednesday evenings for those looking for a shorter wait time in the evenings.
Website is www.brick-city-grill.com. Find them on Facebook and Twitter @BrickCityGrill.