August 12, 2020

Cincinnati's 22 Best Burgers and Veggie Burgers As Voted By You

From backyard grill outs and roadside drive-thrus to gourmet interpretations, these beefy bunned babies are like a slab of comfort food you can (generally) hold between two hands. Adhering to a tried-and-true culinary equation, the nucleus of a burger is some type of patty (or two) — beef, turkey, veggie — topped with assorted accoutrements like lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, pickles, bacon, over- easy eggs, etc. But within those parameters, an almost overwhelming amount of variations on the same general concept can be achieved. And whether you want a damn good basic cheeseburger or to push the limits of a meat sandwich to the extreme is up to you — and whomever you’re ordering from. To help you on the quest for burger nirvana, this slideshow features the top 10 best overall burger joints in the city, as voted by CityBeat readers in the 2020 Best Of Cincinnati Issue. As a bonus: Burgers were basically made for carry- out and therefore an ideal food to devour during a pan- demic, when more than just the thought of melty cheese and a side of fries conjures up a feeling of nostalgia for days gone by (or even just for early March).
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Overall Burger: 10. Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beer
4767 Creek Road, Blue Ash
Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beer has been around since 2009, offering fresh food and a casual dining experience. Nothing at Sammy’s is ever frozen, and the restaurant also sources everything from its bread to its produce and patties locally. The biggest and most popular attraction for guests is the Sammy’s burger of the month. The most recent burger to flip into this role is the Waston Burger, created by FC Cincinnati player Kendall Waston. A handcrafted burger blend is topped with bacon, fried egg, gouda cheese, housemade guacamole, fried carrots, caramelized onion, arugula and Waston dressing and is served with sweet potato fries. Sammy’s donates a percentage of its burger of the month sales to help feed those experiencing homelessness.
Photo via Facebook.com/sammysCBB

Overall Burger: 10. Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beer

4767 Creek Road, Blue Ash
Sammy’s Craft Burgers & Beer has been around since 2009, offering fresh food and a casual dining experience. Nothing at Sammy’s is ever frozen, and the restaurant also sources everything from its bread to its produce and patties locally. The biggest and most popular attraction for guests is the Sammy’s burger of the month. The most recent burger to flip into this role is the Waston Burger, created by FC Cincinnati player Kendall Waston. A handcrafted burger blend is topped with bacon, fried egg, gouda cheese, housemade guacamole, fried carrots, caramelized onion, arugula and Waston dressing and is served with sweet potato fries. Sammy’s donates a percentage of its burger of the month sales to help feed those experiencing homelessness.
Photo via Facebook.com/sammysCBB
Overall Burger: 9. (TIE) Krueger’s Tavern
1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
One of Thunderdome Restaurant Group’s handful of restaurants in Over- the-Rhine, Krueger’s Tavern has been a Vine Street staple for just over five years. The eatery boasts a cozy and laid-back atmosphere, complete with ’90s tunes on the radio and comfort food on the menu: a millennial’s dream. The most popular burger is the signature Krueger Burger: two patties topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, onion, house pickles, Dijonnaise and “Special Sauce,” all piled on a challah bun.  
Photo via Facebook.com/KruegersTavern

Overall Burger: 9. (TIE) Krueger’s Tavern

1211 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine
One of Thunderdome Restaurant Group’s handful of restaurants in Over- the-Rhine, Krueger’s Tavern has been a Vine Street staple for just over five years. The eatery boasts a cozy and laid-back atmosphere, complete with ’90s tunes on the radio and comfort food on the menu: a millennial’s dream. The most popular burger is the signature Krueger Burger: two patties topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, onion, house pickles, Dijonnaise and “Special Sauce,” all piled on a challah bun.
Photo via Facebook.com/KruegersTavern
Overall Burger: 9. (TIE) Arthur’s
3516 Edwards Road, Hyde Park; 8221 Beechmont Ave., Anderson
From several name changes to the fall of the Soviet Union and a fire in 2013, Arthur’s has been through it all. The cafe’s history began in 1947 when it opened as the Allen E. Bradford Restaurant before becoming Apke’s Grill, then Art’s and finally Arthur’s in the 1970s.
A popular choice here is the Boursin Burger, which features boursin cheese blended with herbs and garlic, topped with lettuce and tomato. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, it’s “Burger Madness”: For less than $10, you can top an original Arthur’s burger (a half-pound of seasoned lean meat), a Sally burger (five ounces of lean ground beef ), a black bean burger or a turkey burger with whatever the hell you want for no extra charge — well, with two caveats: you must limit yourself to six cheeses and gourmet toppings (fried egg, avocado, boursin, et al) are excluded from the deal. If you’re smart, you’ll ask for a side of pink salsa (salsa, sour cream and a splash of mayo) to dip your fries.  
Photo via Facebook.com/ArthursCafe

Overall Burger: 9. (TIE) Arthur’s

3516 Edwards Road, Hyde Park; 8221 Beechmont Ave., Anderson
From several name changes to the fall of the Soviet Union and a fire in 2013, Arthur’s has been through it all. The cafe’s history began in 1947 when it opened as the Allen E. Bradford Restaurant before becoming Apke’s Grill, then Art’s and finally Arthur’s in the 1970s. A popular choice here is the Boursin Burger, which features boursin cheese blended with herbs and garlic, topped with lettuce and tomato. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, it’s “Burger Madness”: For less than $10, you can top an original Arthur’s burger (a half-pound of seasoned lean meat), a Sally burger (five ounces of lean ground beef ), a black bean burger or a turkey burger with whatever the hell you want for no extra charge — well, with two caveats: you must limit yourself to six cheeses and gourmet toppings (fried egg, avocado, boursin, et al) are excluded from the deal. If you’re smart, you’ll ask for a side of pink salsa (salsa, sour cream and a splash of mayo) to dip your fries.
Photo via Facebook.com/ArthursCafe
Overall Burger: 8. Street Chef Brigade
4003 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum
Open since 2015, Street Chef Brigade
is a favorite Cincy burger destination because of its “edgy comfort food,” says owner Shaun Hart. This burger joint on wheels — parked outside of the Streetside Brewery taproom for lunch, dinner and late-night — is renowned for its Street Chef burger. Made with beef and topped with American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard and Wham Sauce (which Hart describes as a “smokey thousand island flavor”), it is a customer must-have. 
Photo: Facebook.com/streetchef513

Overall Burger: 8. Street Chef Brigade

4003 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum
Open since 2015, Street Chef Brigade is a favorite Cincy burger destination because of its “edgy comfort food,” says owner Shaun Hart. This burger joint on wheels — parked outside of the Streetside Brewery taproom for lunch, dinner and late-night — is renowned for its Street Chef burger. Made with beef and topped with American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard and Wham Sauce (which Hart describes as a “smokey thousand island flavor”), it is a customer must-have.
Photo: Facebook.com/streetchef513
Overall Burger: 7. The Turf Club
4618 Eastern Ave., Linwood
The Turf Club (no longer associated with former owner Terry) is a quirky, neon-lit burger joint in Linwood that whips up big build-your-own burgers. With 8.5 ounces of meat on a Sixteen Bricks bun, there’s plenty of room to personalize your burger with any combination of 13 cheeses, 13 specialty sauces and 14 toppings, ranging from sharp cheddar and bacon to a lump crab and lobster cake and mango curry. Of course, no burger is complete without a solid side, and at The Turf Club, burgers come with your choice of chips, onion rings, asparagus, duck-fat fries, mac and cheese or fried corn. 
Photo: Facebook.com/TurfClubCincy

Overall Burger: 7. The Turf Club

4618 Eastern Ave., Linwood
The Turf Club (no longer associated with former owner Terry) is a quirky, neon-lit burger joint in Linwood that whips up big build-your-own burgers. With 8.5 ounces of meat on a Sixteen Bricks bun, there’s plenty of room to personalize your burger with any combination of 13 cheeses, 13 specialty sauces and 14 toppings, ranging from sharp cheddar and bacon to a lump crab and lobster cake and mango curry. Of course, no burger is complete without a solid side, and at The Turf Club, burgers come with your choice of chips, onion rings, asparagus, duck-fat fries, mac and cheese or fried corn.
Photo: Facebook.com/TurfClubCincy
Overall Burger: 6. Tickle Pickle
4176 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Earth-conscious, locally sourced Rock & Roll burgers are exactly the kind
of thing one would expect to find in Northside. And Tickle Pickle happens to serve just that. Their burgers are named for famous musicians, like the Nom Petty (a beef patty with mushrooms, Swiss cheese and mayo) and Meatallica (a beef burger with mayo, American cheese, bacon and egg with the option to add goetta). They also have a hearty menu of veggie burgers for the non-meat eaters as well as decadent vegan milkshakes.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Overall Burger: 6. Tickle Pickle

4176 Hamilton Ave., Northside
Earth-conscious, locally sourced Rock & Roll burgers are exactly the kind of thing one would expect to find in Northside. And Tickle Pickle happens to serve just that. Their burgers are named for famous musicians, like the Nom Petty (a beef patty with mushrooms, Swiss cheese and mayo) and Meatallica (a beef burger with mayo, American cheese, bacon and egg with the option to add goetta). They also have a hearty menu of veggie burgers for the non-meat eaters as well as decadent vegan milkshakes.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Overall Burger: 5. Quatman Cafe
2434 Quatman Ave., Norwood; 224 W. Main St., Mason
This no-frills grill has been serving Norwood patrons since 1966, when it was founded by high school buddies Albert “Albo” Imm and Ken Talmage. Their half-pound burgers are the epitome of simple: no special spice mix, standard 80:20 meat to fat ratio, served with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on a plain old paper plate. Current owner Matt Imm says what makes them stand out is the fresh, local ingredients (everything but the tomatoes and lettuce are purchased from Cincinnati companies). Fans of the burger especially love dining on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, when $8 will get you a cheeseburger, fries or onion rings and a soda or draft beer. It’s hard to go wrong with that, but if you want to change it up, Quatman also sells some grub you don’t find very often — fancy a bowl of mock turtle soup? Quatman also has a second location in Mason.  
Photo: Savana Willhoite

Overall Burger: 5. Quatman Cafe

2434 Quatman Ave., Norwood; 224 W. Main St., Mason
This no-frills grill has been serving Norwood patrons since 1966, when it was founded by high school buddies Albert “Albo” Imm and Ken Talmage. Their half-pound burgers are the epitome of simple: no special spice mix, standard 80:20 meat to fat ratio, served with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on a plain old paper plate. Current owner Matt Imm says what makes them stand out is the fresh, local ingredients (everything but the tomatoes and lettuce are purchased from Cincinnati companies). Fans of the burger especially love dining on Monday, Thursday and Saturday, when $8 will get you a cheeseburger, fries or onion rings and a soda or draft beer. It’s hard to go wrong with that, but if you want to change it up, Quatman also sells some grub you don’t find very often — fancy a bowl of mock turtle soup? Quatman also has a second location in Mason.
Photo: Savana Willhoite
Overall Burger: 4. Flipdaddy’s
165 Pavilion Parkway, Newport; 12071 Mason Montgomery Road, Symmes Township; 7453 Wooster Pike, Mariemont
UPDATE: As of Aug. 14, a sign fastened to the door of Newport's Flipdaddy's Brilliant Burgers & Craft Beer Bar says the restaurant has closed. We have reached out to both the Mariemont and Symmes Township locations to confirm whether or not they are open, and received a message the "call cannot be completed as dialed or the number has been disconnected." CityBeat contacted general manager Chris Anschutz for comment and have not yet received a response. We will update with new information as it is available.
Celebrating a decade in business, local chain Flipdaddy’s is a self-proclaimed “brilliant burger and craft beer bar.” Their custom patties are a blend of fresh short rib, brisket and beef chuck, with bread and buns from local Klosterman Baking Co. Menu names are punny with signature options including the Chuck Norris, topped with Roundhouse Kick sauce, fire-roasted green chili and jalapen?o compote; the Mac Daddy, with grilled macaroni and cheese and bacon on a pretzel bun; and the Chilly Willy, smothered with amber-beer-infused homemade chili, cheddar cheese, onion straws and yellow mustard. Speaking of beer, Braxton makes both the Flipdaddy’s amber and lager and the rest of the taps are dedicated to mostly local crafts. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Overall Burger: 4. Flipdaddy’s

165 Pavilion Parkway, Newport; 12071 Mason Montgomery Road, Symmes Township; 7453 Wooster Pike, Mariemont
UPDATE: As of Aug. 14, a sign fastened to the door of Newport's Flipdaddy's Brilliant Burgers & Craft Beer Bar says the restaurant has closed. We have reached out to both the Mariemont and Symmes Township locations to confirm whether or not they are open, and received a message the "call cannot be completed as dialed or the number has been disconnected." CityBeat contacted general manager Chris Anschutz for comment and have not yet received a response. We will update with new information as it is available.
Celebrating a decade in business, local chain Flipdaddy’s is a self-proclaimed “brilliant burger and craft beer bar.” Their custom patties are a blend of fresh short rib, brisket and beef chuck, with bread and buns from local Klosterman Baking Co. Menu names are punny with signature options including the Chuck Norris, topped with Roundhouse Kick sauce, fire-roasted green chili and jalapen?o compote; the Mac Daddy, with grilled macaroni and cheese and bacon on a pretzel bun; and the Chilly Willy, smothered with amber-beer-infused homemade chili, cheddar cheese, onion straws and yellow mustard. Speaking of beer, Braxton makes both the Flipdaddy’s amber and lager and the rest of the taps are dedicated to mostly local crafts.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Overall Burger: 3. Zip’s Cafe
1036 Delta Ave., Mt. Lookout
Open since 1926, Zip’s is an East Side institution and a must-try Cincy burger destination because of its “classic American favorites, like cheeseburgers and French fries, and friendly service,” says owner Mike Burke. With a dark wood-paneled interior reminiscent of its earliest days in business — and a toy train that travels along the ceiling — they are renowned for their Zipburger. Made with fresh ground beef from Avril-Bleh Meat Market, this one-third pound patty is flame-broiled to a juicy medium well and topped with the condiments of your liking. If that doesn’t sate your appetite, try the Girth burger — named by former Bengals punter Pat McInally. It takes your classic Zipburger up a notch by topping it with a split, grilled Avril-Bleh mettwurst.  
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Overall Burger: 3. Zip’s Cafe

1036 Delta Ave., Mt. Lookout
Open since 1926, Zip’s is an East Side institution and a must-try Cincy burger destination because of its “classic American favorites, like cheeseburgers and French fries, and friendly service,” says owner Mike Burke. With a dark wood-paneled interior reminiscent of its earliest days in business — and a toy train that travels along the ceiling — they are renowned for their Zipburger. Made with fresh ground beef from Avril-Bleh Meat Market, this one-third pound patty is flame-broiled to a juicy medium well and topped with the condiments of your liking. If that doesn’t sate your appetite, try the Girth burger — named by former Bengals punter Pat McInally. It takes your classic Zipburger up a notch by topping it with a split, grilled Avril-Bleh mettwurst.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Overall Burger: 1. Nation Kitchen & Bar
1200 Broadway St., Pendleton 				
Nation has been an anchor in the Over-the-Rhine/Pendleton burger scene since 2015 with its inviting atmosphere and simple and delicious menu. Operated by Hickory Wald Hospital-
ity, their second location is set to open in Westwood later this year. Nation is one of the top-voted burgers destinations the city for two main reasons: 1) the toppings are straightforward, with only one or two extra ingredients in addition to the standard LTOP (aka lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle), keeping the burgers approachable. 2) Nation’s signature double-stacked thin patty allows for double the cheese (aka double the goodness). The most popular burger on the menu is a tie between The Nation Burger (smoked cheddar, whiskey barbecue sauce, onion straws and horseradish aioli) and the Whiskey Bacon (cheddar, bacon, barbecue and apple slaw). 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Overall Burger: 1. Nation Kitchen & Bar

1200 Broadway St., Pendleton
Nation has been an anchor in the Over-the-Rhine/Pendleton burger scene since 2015 with its inviting atmosphere and simple and delicious menu. Operated by Hickory Wald Hospital- ity, their second location is set to open in Westwood later this year. Nation is one of the top-voted burgers destinations the city for two main reasons: 1) the toppings are straightforward, with only one or two extra ingredients in addition to the standard LTOP (aka lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle), keeping the burgers approachable. 2) Nation’s signature double-stacked thin patty allows for double the cheese (aka double the goodness). The most popular burger on the menu is a tie between The Nation Burger (smoked cheddar, whiskey barbecue sauce, onion straws and horseradish aioli) and the Whiskey Bacon (cheddar, bacon, barbecue and apple slaw).
Photo: Hailey Bollinger