Calvin Ma set out to bring flavors from around the world to a burger joint.
His effort paid off.
Blacow Burger, located at 1646 Hwy 160 Suite 106 in Fort Mill, was voted as having the best burger in Charlotte during the Moo and Brew craft beer and burger festival on Saturday, which drew more than 5,000 people. Visitors voted for their favorite burgers out of about 15 vendors, putting Blacow's entry well above the second place winner and allowing them to beat out a previous festival winner, Ma said.
"We definitely have the best burger in Charlotte," Ma, of Fort MIll, said. "It means the world to me. It proved to me where I stand as far as our quality and where we compare with other burger joints in this town and in Charlotte."
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Ma opened the restaurant a little over a year ago to bring a new option to York County and Charlotte region eaters.
"All I saw was chain restaurants," he said. "They're almost like an assembly line. There's no love in the burger. There's no creativity in the food."
Ma puts his love into every patty, designing flavors with Asian, Korean and Canadian influences. The restaurant’s name, Blacow, comes from the word for a Japanese black cow, Wagyu.
"We have different flavors from all over the country and world," he said. "Hopefully the customer can taste the hard work and thought we put into each burger."
Blacow won the festival, and a trophy topped with a cheeseburger, with the "Nutty Goat" burger. The burger uses garlic and herb goat cheese, candied bacon, special aioli, pecans, pickle, arugula and grilled balsamic onion all topped on a homemade bun.
Blacow has a staff of about 20 full-time employees and is hiring, Ma said. He said there are plans to expand the restaurant in the near future.
"We have a really good crew and a creative crew,” Ma said.
The restaurant also offers non-burger items such as chicken wings, shrimp and steak tacos and salads. Turkey and veggie burgers are also on the menu.
Burgers include the restaurant's namesake, the Blacow burger, which uses Wagyu meat, teriyaki glaze, seaweed seasoning, mayo and tempura avocado.
"The Hangover" is a burger that is topped with an over easy fried egg, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese truffle oil and apple wood smoked bacon. Others include the Flaming Cow, The Swiss Fun-Ghi, the Caballero and the Gangnam.
"Deep down I know I'm the best burger in Fort Mill; now I proved I'm the best burger place in Charlotte," Ma said. "Burgers are what we do best."