SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A Sioux Falls favorite is nearly here, Downtown Burger Battle begins January 1st and today DTSF announced a record 27 restaurants are joining the competition.  

“We started planning this year’s burger during Burger Battle last year,” Papa Woody’s owner Lisa Esser said. 

The 2021 Burger Battle champion, Papa Woody’s, is gearing up for another great year of competition.

“We had a phenomenal crowd last year,” Esser said. “We sold 1,806 burgers through the month of January. For a place that had never sold a burger before, that was a lot of burgers. Planning to do more this year.”

“Last year was a record year with over 31,000 burgers sold and over $400,000 spent on just burgers and nearly $1 million in economic impact,” DTSF Community Outreach manager Sadie Swier said. 

The Burger Battle has exploded since it began in 2014 with just 7 restaurants participating; now more businesses are looking to get in on the burger buzz.

“We’ve now added a couple new places, Remedy Brewing company even Boki’s street food, they’re also getting involved,” Swier said. “That just speaks to this promotion and how exciting it is for businesses to get involved and for the people that want to participate by just trying something completely new.”

It’s not just your typical burger joints joining in, but places many people wouldn’t think of getting a burger are now hoping to be crowned the DTSF burger champion. 

“A lot of people didn’t even know we existed last year and knew us only as a pizza place,” Esser said. 

The competition has such a big impact, Papa Woody’s is planning a move to a new location around the Burger Battle.

“Our construction was a little bit delayed, so we are staying put at the Jones building for the burger battle, they’re bringing us a larger grill, so we have space to cook more than 1,800 burgers,” Esser said. 

Papa Woody’s will be open in the Jones building until the end of the month. Esser says she hopes to open the new space in the Cascade building by Valentine’s Day. 

Coordinating the move has meant months worth of planning to make sure they’re able to serve even more Burger Battle customers this year, even in the midst of ongoing supply chain challenges.

“One of the things we had to make sure is getting in contact with our vendors and make sure that everything we needed to successfully complete our burger, was going to be available all month,” Esser said. “Some of the things that we have on the burger or are serving with the burger, became a choice because we knew they were going to be available.”

The Burger Battle begins New Year’s Day and continues through the end of January. DTSF has released the full list of 27 downtown restaurants participating this year and how you can vote for your favorite burgers.