Novemburger, the burger festival that has its roots in Hamilton has expanded eastward. Two restaurants in Burlington were featured on this year’s roster of participating restaurants: Downtown Bistro & Grill on Elizabeth Street, and Naroma Pizza on Brant Street.
Urbanicity played a role in the growth of annual festival, which is also a fundraiser for the United Way. Urbanicity’s Martinus Gelenyse, the burger festival’s organizer, says expansion of the festival was a conscious decision.
“We really want to keep expanding so for us it’s the amount of restaurants we have but also the cities we are in,” he said. “And so we wanted to expand into Burlington, and hopefully next year do more in Burlington; we’re expanding our magazine into Burlington as well, so it was part of that expansion.”
Another connection that made the two-city expansion decision easy is the fact that The United Way, which serves agencies in both Hamilton and Burlington, is the sole beneficiary of the funds raised during the festival.
Bobbie Oates is with the United Way, and says all the the money raised within each community stays within the community.
“So [the money raised] goes right back into the community,” said Oates. “And what that means is we are The United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton. So if you live in Burlington and donate to the Burlington [restaurants], all of your dollars go back into the Burlington community, and the same goes for Hamilton as well.”
What’s billed as “The Ulitimate Burger Festival” is now in the history books for this year, but Gelenyse says it will be interesting to see how many new restaurants in both Hamilton and Burlington get involved next year.