The following is an article about us published in the June/July issue of Valley Magazine. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Susan Melish and Valley Magazine for writing and printing this article. The interview, the photo shoot – it was great fun!
Local Hamburger Review Board is on
its way to finding the best of the Valley
By Susan Melish
Jerry Tranovich carefully lifts the top bun of his John Wayne, a burger topped with bacon, caramelized onions and onion rings, smoked cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce. He surveys the toppings, replaces the bun and takes a big bite. An analytical expression crosses his face. “The seasoning of the beef is outstanding,” remarks Anthony Fuda, who’s undergone the same routine. “Perfect,” adds fellow diner Mike Flarey. The remaining two cohorts, Scott Long and Tony Krusely, agree, scribbling notes on score sheets in between chews.
Last summer, Tranovich, co-chair of the Mahoning Valley Burger Review Board read about a group of friends ferreting out the best burger in New York City by eating their way through every restaurant in the Big Apple. That got him thinking. “We’ve got great burgers right here,” says Tranovich, recalling that he and Long, his co-chair, decided to conduct a burger challenge in the Valley. “[We] told everyone at the Niles Post Office where we work about our burger plans and invited anyone to join us. These are the guys who showed up. And we have had a blast ever since.”
Once a month for the last year, the Board has picked a local restaurant to review unannounced. They come, eat and rate each burger using an agreed upon scoring system. And they’re not afraid to “call ‘em like they eat ‘em,” Tranovich says, explaining they have given a burger a single star
But even still, the guys of the Board do not take themselves too seriously. “This is just our opinions, but it is amazing how people like and support what we are doing. My wife doesn’t even laugh at me anymore,” Tranovich says.
Beef counts for 40 points. Buns and toppings can each earn 20. Side dishes and overall presentation each earn 10. Outside factors count, too, including service, cost of the burger, atmosphere and cleanliness. Each can add to, or subtract from, the total score 1, 2 or 3 points.