"The Foundation" hamburger at Flight Bar and Grille in Huxley was named Iowa’s Best Burger for 2023 by the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Beef Industry Council.

“Our Foundation is a double-smash burger with cheddar cheese. It includes mustard aioli, lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions and is topped with thick-cut bacon served between a beautiful and buttery brioche bun,” explains Katie Boughey, executive chef and kitchen manager. “We use simple seasonings — salt and pepper — to let the beef’s flavor be the star of the burger.”

Boughey noted the ingredients are kept simple to allow the beef's flavor to shine through, enhanced by a crisp crust that seals in the juices. Each burger is served with housemade pickles and Flight Fries.

Launched by Marianne and Matt Pacha in 2022, the restaurant's airplane theme was inspired by the local school district’s mascot — the Ballard Bombers.

Their award-winning burger isn’t just about taste. Each sale of "The Foundation" burger contributes $1 to the Ballard Education Foundation, a fund for the Ballard Community School District. In the Pachas’ first year of business, they donated more than $3,000 to the foundation, and they shattered their one-month record with $700 after being named an Iowa’s Best Burger Top 10 finalist.

“It was the inspiration for the burger’s name, and it’s been in place since we opened Flight,” Matt Pacha said. “It’s important to us to give back to the community, and this is one way we can contribute.”

The Pachas have plans for continued enhancements to the business, intending to integrate more locally-sourced food into their menu. They're also gearing up to use their smokers more often, adding new flavors to their beef and other proteins. Seasonal ingredients feature prominently in their recipes, with past dishes including a burger with apple chutney made from locally harvested apples.

The designation as Iowa’s Best Burger comes after a two-phase competition. The first phase is based on votes from the public. 

Earlier this spring, burger lovers voted submitted nearly 6,500 votes representing more than 500 restaurants. 

From there, several anonymous judges visited each of the restaurants, scoring the burger patties based on taste, doneness and presentation.

Flight Bar and Grille is located at 931 N. U.S. Highway 69 in Huxley. More information can be found online at www.iabeef.org/events/best-burger-contest.