The readers’ bracket winner has been there before

This is the Star-Telegram’s fifth Burger Battle, which originated in 2009 as the DFW.com Battle of the Burgers. For the first time, there was a repeat winner in the judges’ bracket.

And for the first time, there was a repeat winner in the readers’ bracket.

The final round was tough, with Nicky D’s in Crowley tangling with Tom’s Burgers & Grill in Arlington. Both are throwbacks, but in different ways: Nicky D’s has “burger joint” written all over it, a roadside stop where part of the charm is the outdoor restrooms, and the foot-pump sinks you use to wash your hands. Tom’s, in a former Denny’s Diner, is all sleek-chrome and soda-fountain feel, especially when you walk in and see the counter area at the entrance.

And while Nicky D’s put up a hellacious fight in the readers’ finale, Tom’s is an experienced campaigner and wound up winning with 53 percent of the final-round vote.

Tom’s won in 2013 with a social-media blitz, a strategy that was echoed in 2017. Owner Tom Jones, the former engineer who launched his burger joint in 2006, told us in 2013: “I worked my butt off, to be honest with you. I did anything and everything I could think of to get the word out.”

Nicky D’s also made a strong social push, getting the word out on its Facebook page and encouraging voters to vote only once per round. But it wasn’t enough to take down the Tom’s machine.