Need a reason to smile this dreary February? We've got four. It's Li'l Woody's Burger Month (Feb 5–Mar 4), when four Seattle chefs grace the burger chain's menu each week with a one-time creation that resembles, to some extent or another, a burger.
The annual event is as much an ode to that classic American lunch (or dinner) as it is to our city's culinary talent, featuring up-and-coming or otherwise noteworthy Seattle chefs. Mitch Mayers, the former chef de cuisine at Lark, recently opened his first restaurant, Sawyer. Stuart Lane continues to steer the ship at Spinasse and sibling restaurant Artusi. Melissa Miranda heralds Filipino flavors in her Musang popup dinners all over town. And Mutsuko Soma's Kamonegi was Seattle Met's 2018 Restaurant of the Year; she'll soon open a sake bar, Hannyatou, too.
Suffice to say Burger Month is not just four weeks of one-time-only umami treats—it's also a chance to experience some of Seattle's chefs-to-watch at their least inhibited. "We've never really laid too many restrictions on [the guest chefs], at all," says Li'l Woody's owner Marcus Lalario. "Let's just let these chefs do what they do. Either it's their favorite burger from growing up, or something to do with their restaurant, or just something they think would be cool, you know?"
Over the five year history of Burger Month, more and more chefs have forgone a conventional beef patty in favor of unexpected proteins. And this year, the trend continues. Three chefs have passed on griddled ground beef in favor of duck and chicken, pork, or sauce-saturated meatballs. Catch a new creation each week of February at all four Li'l Woody's locations.
Bonus round: As a kind of pregame to Burger Month, Shota Nakajima's “Osaka Burger” (a favorite from last year) will be available at Li'l Woody's starting today through February 4. The Japanese street food-inspired beef patty is topped with a sunny side-up egg, two kinds of aioli (miso and karashi), caramelized onions, shredded cabbage, Calbee chips, and aonori seaweed.
And now behold, this year's burgers...
Stuart Lane: The Italian Job
Treat yourself to Artusi's housemade meatballs coated with tangy red sauce, draped with melted provolone, and topped with peppery arugula, all on a garlic aioli-slathered ciabatta bun.
Mutsuko Soma: The Kamonegi Burger
A seared duck and chicken patty is topped with a sunny-side up duck egg, zesty yuzu kewpie mayo (a spicy-citrusy Japanese pantry item), and arugula, all between an oh-so-Instagramable charcoal bun.
Mitch Mayers: The Deli Burger
The only (gasp) beef patty burger on this year's roster, the Deli Burger is a deliberate nod to the revival of Jewish delis in Seattle: A quarter pound of grass-fed beef is topped with pastrami, sliced red onions, iceberg lettuce, spicy kosher pickle, Russian dressing, and cream cheese Mornay, all on an everything (like the bagel) spiced bun.
Melissa Miranda: The Sarap Sandwich
February 26–March 4
If you thought a pulled pork adobo sandwich couldn't get any better, leave it to Melissa Miranda to add on savory chicharrónes, a couple punches of flavor in the form of fried garlic and patis salsa verde, and then round it all out with a kick of refreshing sliced radishes.