Shakopee burger contest

Shakopee students who came up with the New York patty melt visited Shakopee Bowl, where their burger is being sold this month.

Shakopee High School culinary students had the chance this quarter to put their chef’s hats on in a real-world scenario when co-owner of Shakopee Bowl, Dave Johnson, asked culinary teacher Heather Baumbach if she’d like to enter into a partnership.

They landed on an idea that would engage the class and be a hot selling item: a burger contest. The four best burgers, they decided, would be sold at the bowling alley.

Baumbach said after her conversation with Johnson, she took to the whiteboard, erased what she had planned for her class that week, and wrote “Burgers.”

For the next several class periods, students broke out into groups and brainstormed ways to create creative, delicious burgers that would sell in a bowling alley. Baumbach tasted 24 burgers, and narrowed them down to eight, before Johnson and his kitchen manager, Matthew Meyer, chose the final four.

Those burgers, which will be sold at separate times from now until May, are the New York patty melt, a root beer burger, a glazed doughnut burger and a habanero mango burger.

“It just fell into our laps and it’s been so good, for both ends,” Baumbach said. “There’s that additional level of making things good, because (students) are making these for the general public.”

As of March 9, the New York patty melt burgers had been on the menu for a week, and Shakopee Bowl had already sold 106.

“It’s been a hit,” Johnson said.

The New York patty melt burgers will be the March burger special, with the root beer burger and habanero mango burger taking over for April and May, respectively. The glazed donut burger will be sold on a select day each month, since Johnson said it’s a little more work to order fresh donuts.

And the featured food won’t stop at burgers. Next quarter, Baumbach and Johnson said, they want to sell some winning nachos.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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