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Village Inn wins Burger Battle

Village Inn owners Leigh and Diane Halvorsen display the Blue Ribbon Burger.1 / 2
Diane and Leigh Halvorsen, center, owners of the Village Inn Sports Bar & Grill in North Hudson, receive the 2012 Burger Battle trophy. At the presentation were, front from left, Pete Keskey of Minuteman Press, Bridge office manager Ginny Ballantine, Diane Halvorsen, Bridge client Shea Miller and Bridge Executive Director Peg Gagnon; back row, Jeremy Lilyquist of Anchor Insurance, Leigh Halvorsen, and Mary and Craig Hofland of Is It To Be Marketing.2 / 2

Leigh Halvorsen was in it to win, and he achieved his goal in the Burger Battle held during the last two months of 2012.

The voters picked Halvorsen's Blue Ribbon Burger as the best of those offered by seven Hudson-area restaurants that participated in the second-annual fundraiser.

"There's so much flavor in there, it's ridiculous," said Halvorsen, owner of the Village Inn Sports Bar & Grill in North Hudson.

The Blue Ribbon Burger is two one-third pound patties of ground beef, topped with melted pepper jack and Swiss cheese, a creamy white cheese dip, tomato, onion and fried bacon slices, and drizzled with a homemade tzatziki guacamole sauce -- on a bun held together with a skewer and topped with onion rings and a dill pickle spear.

Halvorsen said a common reaction from patrons when the burger arrives is: "Oh, my god. How am I going to eat it?"

The answer, he said, is with a knife and fork. "Although some people squish it down and go at it."

While Halvorsen created the Blue Ribbon Burger especially for the Burger Battle, he'll bring it back for a week once a month throughout the year. He plans to feature four different burgers for one week each month, and the Blue Ribbon Burger will be part of the rotation.

Bridge for Youth and Adults with Disabilities was the other winner of the 2012 Burger Battle.

The Hudson-based non-profit received $5,925 from the sale of $25 punch cards that people could use to get a free burger from each of the participating restaurants. The patrons then voted for the best burger on Bridge's website,

The other participating restaurants were Agave Kitchen, Dick's Bar and Grill, J.W. Kaladi's, Season's Tavern, Uncle Mike's M Pour E Yum and Willow River Inn.

Executive Director Peg Gagnon said the money would go into direct programming for the approximately 100 youth and adults served by BRIDGE.

The organization provides life skills training for about 35 people at its location on Brakke Drive in the town of Hudson. Another 35 people are aided in holding typical jobs in the community. And about 30 youth attend the non-profit's social and recreational programs in the summer.

BRIDGE provides an employment office for people with disabilities in the Hudson Professional Building, 901 Fourth St.

"We're looking at expanding some employment service," Gagnon said. "We need to get more people with disabilities into regular jobs."

Craig and Mary Hofland of Is It To Be Marketing designed the Burger Battle logo and helped organize the fundraiser for a second year.

Pete Keskey of Minuteman Press donated the punch cards and table-top contest advertising.

Anchor Insurance paid for the Burger Battle trophy.

The organizers came just 13 short of selling out the 250 punch cards that were offered.