A good burger is one of those foods that I just crave sometimes. I have a couple of favorites in my little corner of Cincinnati. I think they are the best:
- Zip's Cafe, Mt. Lookout Square. They have won Best Burger awards from all the local publications several times and for good reason. Their burgers are simple and delicious. Not too big, not too small. The toppings are pretty standard: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, catsup, mustard, mayo. I get mine with everything except the mayo. There isn't a lot of variety: Zip Burger, Zip Burger with Cheese, Double Zip Burger. They also have a girth burger that includes a split mettwurst with the burger, I haven't gotten that one... yet. (I think they have some sort of veggie or turkey "burger", but I don't count those as burgers, they are more like gross sandwiches). Anyway, with such a high quality of burger you don't need much else. It is my favorite burger in Cincinnati, hands down and thats mainly because of its taste and simplicity. Also, they have great chili and you can wash it all down with good selection of beers on tap. Usually a Great Lakes variety and a 7 or 8 English or Irish beers. Or cheap megapitchers of Bud Light. Zip's has a great atmosphere. Its a dark tavern, casual place. There is a toy train that goes around the restaurant along the top of the walls. There is a small bar in the back, "The Code Room", that you might not even know was there unless you are from around here. In the bar there is a huge plasma tv with HD service- seems out of place in this comfortable place- but I love it. When I first moved out to Cincinnati, before I had cable, I would hang out with the bartenders and watch baseball all day and night there. Zip's is one of the places I will miss the most when I leave Cincinnati.
- Arthur's Cafe, Hyde Park Square. Arthur's is a great place to go with a group of friends for food and drinks. They always have cheap pitchers of beer. The outside patio is perfect for a summer evening, but be prepared to wait for a table outside. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays are Burger Madness nights. You can get a burger with any and all toppings. The options include jalepenos, grilled onions, mushrooms, a bunch of different cheeses, chili, and anything else you would normally put on a burger. Its a good deal. The atmosphere, inside or outside is very casual. I don't know what a "neighborhood bar" really means, but this is it.
- Terry's Turf Club, Linwood. I've only been to Terry's once, but it is in the running for Best Burger on the East Side. The atmosphere is like a weird 50's diner with all kinds of neon signs and decor. It tries hard to be overly casual with overly exotic, yet small, menu. I like the concept, and I think eventually it will get better. I got a burger with burgundy wine with wild mushrooms and truffles. It was tasty, very home-made tasting. Very greasy. I liked it fine. I would like to try the foie gras on my burger and maybe the goat cheese. The beer selection was great. It included a small variety of Bavarian-style brews. I forgot the name brand, but I had a light wheat heffeweizen style. There was a lot of texture and flavor. The burgers were served on a paper plate and the only knife was a large chef knife borrowed from the kitchen. This is why it seemed to be trying too hard to be casual. A real plate and silverwear would have been better. Overall, I will go back, and probably soon. After writing this post, I'm hungry for a burger.
- Hyde Park Tavern, Oakley Pub and Grill
Stay away from:
- Mt. Lookout Tavern, Mulligan's