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Meteorologist Dave Downey tries 'Iowa's Best Burger' of 2023

The half-pound burger is piled high with cheddar cheese, two strips of bacon, caramelized onions, a mustard aioli and a slice of lettuce and tomato.

HUXLEY, Iowa — The "Iowa's Best Burger" title is the most prestigious award given by the Iowa Beef Industry Council every year. 

In 2023, that designation was awarded to Flight Bar & Grille on May 1. 

The Iowa Beef Industry Council received 6,000 entries, but Flight's Foundation burger was the last one standing. 

Owner and operator Matt Pacha and his wife Marianne grew up in eastern Iowa, but decided to move to Huxley in 2017.

"We were looking for a place to go every night and we couldn't quite find what we were looking for," Matt said. "We always joked about, 'what can we bring to Huxley as far as a place to gather?' We landed on a restaurant."

Those jokes didn't last for very long. In March of 2022, the Pachas opened Flight's doors to the public. 

Matt doesn't take credit for the burger and the rest of the menu: that praise goes to the rest of his incredible staff. 

"Our head chef Katie Buffy is phenomenal and her assistant, Brady Flattery, they came up with the Foundation burger when we opened," Matt said.

There's a reason why it's called the Foundation burger.

"We donate $1 out of every Foundation burger we sell back to the local school [Ballard] behind us here," Matt said. "So it's a feel-good burger. It's a taste-good burger. It kind of checks all the boxes."

Flight is projecting they will donate around $6,000 this month, meaning they expect to sell 1.5 tons of beef.

And as for Dave Downey's review? 

"The combination of the bacon, caramelized onions, really the mustard aioli on the top of the smash burger is what really puts this thing over the top," he said. "That is Iowa's Best Burger of 2023."

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