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Making a Difference: Burger Night Out tradition raises spirits and raises funds for non-profit

168 Stops since 2005, “rating the beef and drinking the beer”.
Not only are they having fun eating and rating the quality of local burgers, they're raising thousands for Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 8:00 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - “Once a month let’s make this clear, rate the beef & drink the beer”: That’s been the motto of a local group since 2005. The long-running boys’ night out known as Burger Night Out began in 2005 when Bob Phillips’ wife asked him to leave their house for the evening.

Phillips said, “Book Club kicked me out of the house. My wife said I can’t be there with all the other gals that were coming.” He added that he and a friend walked to a local bar, “had a pitcher of beer—maybe two--and hatched out this plan to try to go to as many places around Madison as we could and rate the burgers.”

Some of the participants at Burger Night Out stop #168 at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona
Some of the participants at Burger Night Out stop #168 at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona(Burger Night Out)

And that’s what Burger Night Out has been doing ever since: Gathering for food, conversation, and cold beer. Phillips keeps meticulous records of the group’s burger ratings at area taverns and restaurants. Phillips said, “I like keeping track of all of the statistics and things. That’s my little phobia.”

Burger Night Out participants enjoy conversation at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona
Burger Night Out participants enjoy conversation at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona(WMTV)

Phillips said Burger Night Out is his favorite night of the month: “It’s once a month. It’s great! It’s like book club for guys…and we rate burgers.”

Burger Night Out founder Bob Phillips and server Deb at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona.
Burger Night Out founder Bob Phillips and server Deb at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona.(Burger Night Out)

We dropped in as the group was making stop #168--this time at It’s Time Grill & Pub in Verona. From the “Drunken Blue Burger”, to the “Southwest Bacon Burger” and more, the group ate, drank, talked and laughed together, as they’ve done since 2005. There were even raffle prizes for each member.

Burger Night Out participants enjoy, burgers, beer, even raffle prizes.
Burger Night Out participants enjoy, burgers, beer, even raffle prizes.(WMTV)

Phillips said a friend suggested in 2015 they also use the monthly gathering as a way to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin. Since 2015 they’ve taken up a collection for Second Harvest at the end of each gathering. On the night of our visit they all pitched in for a total of $315. In 2021, they’ve raised $2,021. All told since 2015, Burger Night Out has contributed more than $12,000 to the non-profit.

More participants at Burger Night Out Stop #168 at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona
More participants at Burger Night Out Stop #168 at It's Time Grill & Pub in Verona(Burger Night Out)

Phillips said, “It’s just a marvelous thing to do, to be able to give back to the community. It’s a good thing. So, it’s been a good journey.”

A good journey, with good friends, spreading goodwill to others along the way.

The Burger Night Out group welcomes new members. Contact Bob Phillips here.

If you’d like to support Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin through our Share Your Holidays Campaign click here

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