Block 16’s Burger Fight III is about more than who won the contest

How many talented chefs can Block 16 get in one room? Last Sunday, it was three (not counting the restaurant’s owners and many guests) in Le Bouillon’s Paul Kulik; Dario Schicke, of Dario’s Brasserie and Avoli Osteria; and Nick Strawhecker of Dante and Forno, who competed against one another at the restaurant’s third Burger Fight, which is just what it seems like from the name.

Each chef comes up with a slider, the burgers get served to the diners lucky enough to score a ticket, and each diner votes. This time around, burger number one, Strawhecker’s burger, took the prize. (I voted for his burger; it was fantastic.)

But Burger Fight is about a lot more than just a fun competition and a gravy fountain – yes, you read that right.

Events like this one get chefs off their own turf and into a (very tiny) kitchen together, to work cooperatively and create something super fun for diners. Nick Strawhecker told me after the event that it was the first time he and sous chef David Wees had ever collaborated on a burger. How cool is that?

I’ve written a lot about how in the past decade, Omaha’s food scene has gone from one that felt competitive between chefs and their restaurants to one that now feels collaborative, loaded with camaraderie.

I think Nick put it best while accepting his burger-shaped trophy: in short, he said, Omaha needs more nights like this.

I couldn’t agree more.

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