It’s now a two-game tournament, folks. With 60 restaurants no longer with us, only four remain: The Final Fork. We have a 1-seed, two 3-seeds and an 8-seed that have made it through. And while it’s been an unpredictable path to this point, I am happy with the variety shown in our final contestants. Not sure if I’d do the regions the same way again, but for this year, it has worked out. We have some fine representatives. Thanks again to everyone for voting, sharing and commenting. We still have a week to go, but it has already been a great tournament. Thanks.
Let’s take a closer look at the remaining teams:
The deli on Phillips Ave that serves up a mean Corned Beef on Rye and Muffaletta, morphs into something much more grand on the weekends, when their Prix Fixe meals are some of the more ambitious in the city, and the breakfast specials rule the morning. Here’s an example of last week’s dinner special: First course: caramelized onion, fig and blue cheese puff pastry. Second: buttermilk roasted chicken with polenta, mushrooms and snap peas. Third: lemon tart. Crazy-good stuff here. Their path to the Final Fork went through T.C.’s Referee, Bros. Brasserie, Parker’s and Grille 26. Basically a gauntlet. They’re certainly well-tested.
This is many people’s favorite Mexican food in town (mine included). Which is only a little weird since the namesake is actually from Guatemala, and many of the dishes have a Central American flare not normally seen in your typical Mexican fare. The point on Jacky’s, though, is no matter what you’re ordering, it’s going to be made fresh, served hot, and be packed full with flavor. From the fish tacos (some of the best I’ve ever had) to the Wet Burrito, Churrasco, Flautas, or my favorite the Pollo en Crema, this place rocks. Throw in some great salsa and one of the best guacamoles in town, and it’s no surprise we see Jacky’s in the Final Fork. Their path: Golden Bowl, Lalibela, Mama’s Ladas and Sanaa’s.
One of these two is moving on to the Championship to face the winner of Queen City Bakery v. JL Beers. Vote below
Queen City Bakery
They seem unstoppable. Going back to last year’s inaugural tourney, QCB is undefeated and currently 10-0 in this competition. They are the defending champs (obviously, if you understand what undefeated means), and despite a couple close battles with Bob’s and B&G, have shown no signs of slowing down. Their mix of wonderful, hand-crafted cakes, quiches, muffins, and brioche has won them fans since they first opened. Add in some good, strong coffee and a heavy dose of the characters you run into there, and it’s easy to see why the bakery has worked its way into so many people’s regular rotation. Their path: Leonardo’s, Josiah’s, Bob’s and B&G Milky Way.
The youngest team (they are just now approaching their second anniversary downtown) to make it this far in the tournament, JL Beers is still a force to be reackoned with. If you’ve ever been, I’ll bet it was packed. And if you’ve ever waited for a table, or grabbed the last seat at the bar, then you know how good the burgers are. Fresh, seasoned meat, a basic bun, and a handful of options for toppings is really all this place is serving up. Which is not a slight! If you’re going to do one thing, do it well. And JL definitely does that. The Humpty Dumpty Burger (egg) is great, and the BLT Blue is my second favorite. Fresh cut fries or chips with some beer cheese sauce and you’re rolling. Their path to the Final Fork: Dareo’s, Puerto Vallarta, McNally’s and Red Rossa.
One of these two is moving on to the Championship to face the winner of M.B. Haskett and Jacky’s. Vote below.
Final Fork: April 1 - 3 (Tuesday - Friday)
Championship: April 4 - 7 (Friday - Monday)
Winner announced Tuesday, April 8