The New York Beef Industry Council is deciding between ten regional champions for the best burger in New York State. Some of the selections incorporate high culinary tastes with names like, "the Parisian Burger," or "Asian Twist Mandarin Beef." But the one representing Herkimer is as simple as it gets, a plain old cheeseburger. Our Andrew Sorensen tells us how it stacks up as one of the best.
HERKIMER, N.Y.-- The cheeseburger at Crazy Otto's Empire Diner in Herkimer has developed a sort of cult following.
Nobody argued when the New York Beef Industry Council chose their burgers as best in the Utica region, but it certainly wasn't expected.
Crazy Otto's Empire Diner owner Scott Tranter explained, "They were actually surprised that we won with just burger because the other ones are like pickle barrel burgers, and Reuben burgers, and Asian mandarin burgers with rice paper."
Unlike other burgers in the competition, it seems that the winning quality to Crazy Otto's burger is the simplicity.
It does have some secret ingredients, but for the most part, it's just a burger.
"It's the old fashioned way. If you want a classic burger in a classic diner, this is where people come from all over the area," said.
While this award was a surprise, Crazy Otto's is used to being recognized for unexpected things.
"We have three world record omelettes," Tranter said. "The last one we did was here was two years ago. That was 42,000 eggs."
The Americana-themed diner's owner said the awards really just come along with the personality of the the place.
"I just take my love and pride and I put it in my food and it shows," he said.
Three world records, and a regional championship burger is a lot to accomplish from a converted tin trailer, but that's Crazy Otto's lesson: that simple can sometimes just be better.
The winner of the contest will be announced May 15th.