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Bavarian Grill Trails in Contest for Best German Restaurant. Obviously, Voting is Rigged.

Defending champ Bavarian Grill has lost the first round of an online contest to find the Best German Restaurant in America.

The Old German Schnitzel Haus in the tiny town of Hickory, North Carolina, held on to its early lead in online voting, collecting 4,083 votes to Bavarian Grill's 3,993. Voting closed on August 1.

But the folks at Old German aren't hoisting their steins just yet. The publicity-driven contest, which seems to be conducted with all the integrity and transparency that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association used to bring to the Golden Globes, has two additional stages: According to the Best German Restaurant website, top vote-getters will have their health department scores vetted and be visited by "undercover judges," who will help select a winner.

"Don't forget the secret shoppers will come by in August and see how great and wonderful you are," a customer wrote on Old German's Facebook page. "Then they will declare OGSH as the winners. I have never had a bad meal, and I really don't think anyone else has, so we have nothing to worry about."

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