Cuyahoga Falls -- A new restaurant in town was honored for its entry in a national hamburger contest in Akron.

Uptown Grille, located at 3883 State Road, competed in the 11th annual National Hamburger Festival, Aug. 13-14. The eatery, only four days in business, won third place in the Best Traditional Hamburger category.

"They had a lot of burgers down there that were different," said Janet Cazin of Uptown Grille. "Like there was one burger that had potato chips and chip dip on it, [another one had] eggs and jelly, things like that. Ours was just a normal hamburger that people would normally want to eat."

Cazin said there were 30 competitors there in the Traditional category. "We felt pretty excited about [placing third] because we had only been open for 96 hours at the time. There were people who had been there year after year and their restaurants had been established for many years."

What sets the Uptown Grille hamburger apart from the others, Cazin said, is the meat. The restaurant uses Angus reserve prime cut beef that is fresh and never frozen, she said. "The meat is from Midwestern, grass-fed cows, no antibiotics, and the meat is aged 30 days," said Cazin, who co-owns Uptown Grille with David Dragus.

The Uptown Grille burger is served on a buttered and toasted brioche bun with lettuce, tomato and onion and, on the side, a dill pickle spear. Cazin noted the pickles are Don Herman pickles "which are excellent."

Legends Sports Pub and Grill in Green and Sammy's Bar and Grill in Tallmadge finished first and second, respectively, in the Best Traditional Hamburger category.

The National Hamburger Festival was founded by Drew Cerza, president/CEO of Just Wing It Productions in New York, according to It is believed two brothers from Akron created the hamburger back in 1885. On the final day of the New York State Fair in Hamburg, N.Y., Akron natives Frank and Charles Menches ran out of pork for the sandwiches they were vending from their concession booth. Thankfully, the pair found some ground beef and other ingredients to create one of America's most iconic foods: the hamburger.

Each year, 20,000-plus people converge onto the Northeast Ohio community for a summer weekend of family fun featuring more than 20 area eateries serving-up 50 different styles of hamburgers. The festival raises money for Akron Children's Hospital.


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