For a couple of hours on Sept. 9, $10 would buy two of the best hamburgers in town: Evanston’s Finest Burger and the 5-Alarm Burger. Bacon and cheese topped the Finest Burger, while the 5-Alarm burger’s topping combined bok choy and other vegetables with vinaigrette.

Again this year, the Evanston Police and Fire Foundation held its annual grill-off in the parking lot of Valli Produce in Evanston Plaza. Valli also donated the meat, buns, chips, condiments, plates and bottles of water. Radio station WCGO covered the event live from the parking lot, where hundreds of Evanstonians came for lunch to support the foundation. The foundation gives funds for outreach programs and equipment for the two departments, said Greg Klaiber, current president of the foundation, former Evanston Fire Chief and current Director of Emergency Management at Northwestern University.

In addition to the tasty lunch of burgers, chips and bottled water, the donation to the foundation allowed diners to vote for their favorite burger.

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...