The recent spate of new burger joints in the D.C. market has inspired the Washingtonian to debut a March Madness-like contest, Burger Brackets, which pits ground-beef sandwich vs. ground beef sandwich until an ultimate winner is crowned. Wanna bet that Ray’s Hell Burger takes top honors?

Regardless of its predictability, Burger Brackets is a great idea. I wish I would have thought of it. Few things rile readers up like a debate over hamburgers. Politics? War? Abortion? Opening presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morn? They all take a backseat to hamburgers. Eaters seem to cling to their favorites like a child to his mom’s apron strings. I have my faves, too, of course, but I mostly subscribe to the motto of Urban Burger‘s David Calkins: “Burgers are like pizza and sex: Even bad experiences are pretty damn good.”

The first 16 contestants can be found here in Bracket One. The second bracket will be introduced later, after the first one has run its course. Obviously there are some good burgers yet to make an appearance, like those made at Quarry House, Big Buns, EatBar, Urban, and even The Cheesecake Factory. The first matchup pairs Central vs. Westend Bistro, which will knock out a celebrity chef right from the get-go. Another first-round matchup will have Ray’s Hell Burger facing off against Frank Ruta‘s famous cheeseburger at the Palena Cafe.

I don’t know, but it seems like these battles should have been fought later in the contest. I’d hate to see any one of these burgers knocked out in the first round.

Image by Flickr user chichacha