2,776 burgers sold during Sharpe’s Burger Blitz

Celebrating Canada’s Agriculture Day

February 26, 2024, 10:17 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


In what has fast become a Moosomin and area tradition, the annual Sharpe’s Burger Blitz was another overwhelming success this year. Filling an activity gap between Christmas and the first signs of spring, that one special week in February has fashioned into a cure for symptoms of the mid-winter blahs. Plus, as most businesses I spoke with described, a nice economic boom during what is traditionally a slower time of year; the vertex between traffic peaks, if you will.

“They all seem to always jump on board from year to year,” said Lori Yeske at Sharpe’s Crop Services, the organizers and namesake of the campaign. “It’s always interesting to see what they come up with each year.”

Sharpe’s Soil Services first launched the unique week four years ago, marking Agriculture Day (Feb. 13) and as a direct way to promote Canadian agricultural products. The natural fit was to partner with restaurants in a promotion as the final product the food-service industry utilizes on a daily basis is derived from what local producers raise. The idea has also extended to Sharpe’s branches in Stockholm and Langenburg, dubbed the Burger Brawl with restaurants in those communities replicating the success of the Moosomin event.

“I do believe that the Burger Blitz draws people to town —given that this is not the first time that they’ve done it, I think it gets more and more popular each year,” said Casey McCormac, Economic Development Officer with the Town of Moosomin. “I noticed lots of activity downtown at the restaurants for sure.”

This year a total of 2,776 burgers were sold as part of the Burger Blitz week. Dairy Queen was the restaurant that sold the most burgers this year, with a total of 493 of their Backyard Chicken Bacon Ranch burger sold that week. A close second was the Red Barn with 469 of their Triple B burgers sold. Blueberry Kitchen came in third with 360 burgers sold. People could vote on their favorite burger, and the winning burger was Blueberry Kitchen’s Junior Burger. The burger included local farm-raised beef in a mozzarella-crusted potato bun, a house-made burger sauce, garlic and herb spread, sautéed mushrooms, pickles, crispy onion strings, cheddar and mozza cheese and bacon, and a strip of breaded bacon on top of the bun. The Fleming Windsor Bar & Grill came in second for favorite burger, and the Red Barn came in third.

“These types of promotions are awesome for the local restaurants to get new people in their door and to hopefully have them coming back in the future,” McCormac said. “Moosomin does a great job at holding promotions to help small businesses and a great job at marketing them as well as amazing support and participation from the community and surrounding areas!”

“It brings people from a lot of different areas, it’s good all around from that standpoint, especially in February, when it can be quiet,” said Doug Creighton of the CrateHouse, adding that diner numbers were consistent with previous years.

The CrateHouse offered a Smoked Cajun Cheeseburger—a homemade smoked patty with Cajun aioli, Monterey Jack cheese, pickles and coleslaw, all assembled within a special bun.

“We had a pretzel hamburger bun, which was real popular,” Creighton said. “It disappeared for the middle two years and then I was able to find another one for this year. That was really popular, too.”

Over in Fleming, the candied bacon cheesebuger attracted folks from near and far for a taste.

“It was really busy, actually. We sold quite a few burgers,” said Laura Barry of the Fleming Windsor Bar & Grill. “A lot of people said they liked our burgers, so that’s really good.”

She said people from Elkhorn, Virden, Welwyn and Wawota were among patrons ordering the delicious burger.

The Nutrien Sportsplex tantalized tastebuds with their offering, comprised of a “mountain of carmalized onions” and three-cheese perogies punctuated with a dollop of their famous (and top-secret) boom-boom sauce.

“It’s always been a pretty popular event for us,” said Mike Schwean, Director of Parks and Recreation with the Town of Moosomin. He said around 400 burgers being sold during the week, “so they were pretty close to where they were last year.”

Sportsplex staff come up with a unique offering each year, with Schwean quick to credit them for creativity.

“They always do a good job of coming up with something different,” he said.

The Burger Blitz is also a time for delving into more bold flavours, and the Triple B Burger at the Red Barn certainly did not disappoint.

“It was a bacon blue cheese burger,” explained Melinda Griffin, General Manager at the Red Barn, adding that numbers seemed consistent at the Red Barn. “It was fairly similar to previous years, lots of amazing feedback as always.”

This year’s offering featured their signature patty (a 35-year-old family recipe), bacon jam, Monterey Jack cheese, thick-cut bacon, blue cheese spread, lettuce and tomato.

Deciding on what burger is featured each year takes everyone’s input into account.

“We’ll just design a bunch of burgers up and take our staff feedback, what they think and then that’s the burger we choose to roll with,” Griffin said.

Then it’s time to create a huge batch of patties as they usually hit the 600 mark each year.

Griffin also tries to sample every featured burger during the blitz, just to taste what everyone else has created and generate a buzz around the entire campaign.

“It gives people something exciting to look forward to and try something new,” she said of all the interesting entries.

While most places I spoke with tend to leave designing their Sharpe’s Burger Blitz item for later in the year, Griffin has begun planning the 2025 selection from Red Barn.

“I’ve already been thinking about that, I thought about that all weekend, actually,” she said.

The Cork & Bone Bistro also brought a foreign flare to town with their Little Italy burger—a wonderful beef and Italian sausage patty topped with provolone cheese, capicollo ham and tomato basil sauce fit into a brioche bun.

“I like to just try new things and if I see some products during my shopping for my bistro, I find things that I’d like to try and then we will bounce them off each other here at work and then put it together,” Owner Jarrod Slugoski said. “I wanted to try something with Italian flavours.”

He said he sold over 200 of the burgers during the week, and the hit sandwich may have just found its way onto the regular menu given it’s popularity.

“When you have your own kitchen, you have a lot of time to play, and try new flavours and see how things work,” said Slugoski. “That combination just worked really well for us, so we’re going to add it to the menu, because it was really popular. It was a different kind of burger and that’s what I liked about it.”

For the Cork & Bone Bistro, advance planning begins in January, and Slugoski is a fan of the annual event.

“It’s always a good promotion, I enjoy being part of it. It sparks a lot of creativity and people get to reap the benefits of everyone getting together making burgers,” he said. “It benefits the town and gets people talking, gets the community out and spending money at the restaurants in town.”

Another creation with a Mediterranean flavour came from Witch’s Brew Coffeehouse, one sandwich that veered from a beef-based patty.

“We did a Mediterranean chicken burger. It was a balsamic glazed chicken and then we put cucumbers, tomatoes, balsamic dressing and ended up with an aioli and Swiss cheese. It was all oven-baked, so all healthy,” said Owner Sandra Garrett.

Inspiration for the delicious morsel came to her in a more meditative setting.

“I thought it up when we were in Mexico,” explained Garrett. “This is here because we found out about the burger blitz right before I left town, so I thought it up while we were on holidays.”

For a business focussed on caffeinated beverages, the Mediterranean chicken burger proved to be a resounding success as Garrett said she sold over 300 sandwiches through the course of the week.

“We’re just a lunch place, so I think that’s pretty good,” she said. “Actually, some of our customers—I know at least two customers—had the burger three times that week, so they must have liked it!”

Noting about the same number of people through the doors as previous years, the week kept staffing hopping as on the second day of the promotion, Witch’s Brew sold 70 burgers in an hour!

“For us, it’s always about maintainability because we actually we don’t have a char broiler or anything like that,” said Garrett. “To maintain a beef burger is sometimes hard work for us, so we tend to lean towards chicken.”

Over at TJ’s Pizza, a ‘build your own burger’ was featured on the lunch buffet.

Over at Dairy Queen, the Backyard Chicken Bacon Ranch was a big seller—a combination of Applewood smoked bacon and crunchy onion rings.

“We are always highly supported through Burger Blitz week and appreciate everyone who did come and try our burger,” said Dairy Queen manager Morgan Kerr. “We also really appreciate Sharpe’s for putting this on every year and getting the community out and through restaurant doors. Canadian Ag is important and what a neat way to celebrate and learn where our food comes from.”

She noted that the DQ offering is from their “secret menu” and is a personal favorite. Kerr highlighted the surge of energy that Burger Blitz brings to the region.

“The town is always buzzin’ all week about whose burger they tried when and which are the favorites,” she said.

Blueberry Kitchen in Rocanville served up a Jr. Burger that included local farm-raised beef in a mozzarella-crusted potato bun. It also contained a house-made burger sauce, garlic and herb spread, sautéed mushrooms, pickles, crispy onion strings, cheddar and mozza cheese and bacon. Topping the already mighty burger was a strip of breaded bacon.

Aside from dining on wonderful meals, there was the added bonus of a prize with $500 in Moosomin Bucks up for grabs. At each participating restaurant, diners could get a special card stamped which once filled was entered into a draw.

This year’s big winner is Telisa McGonigal, whose lucky ballot was drawn last Thursday afternoon.

By all accounts, it sounds like the fifth edition of Sharpe’s Burger Blitz will be something to look forward to, and it’s only 11 months and two weeks away!