For the first time ever, Ohio Burger Week will be coming to five different Buckeye State cities to offer $6 specialty and chef-prepared burgers at participating bars and restaurants during a seven-day celebration of beef.
From Aug. 17-23, the hungry citizens of Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and Dayton can grab an official “Burger Week Passport” to be stamped when they eat at participating locations during the event. Collect at least five stamps to enter into the grand prize drawing, which includes the ultimate grill out, Jack Daniels merchandise and $250 in gift cards.
Burger Week, started in Cincinnati by publication and event producer CityBeat, is sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council, which is part of a federation of beef councils across the nation that aim to support and develop the beef industry.
Elizabeth Harsh, Ohio Beef Council executive director, said the event is an opportunity to celebrate an American favorite: the burger.
“Consumers love burgers whether dressed up or dressed down, whether or not they’ve got all kinds of accompaniments or they like them just with the beef front and center and not a lot of dressings and toppings,” Harsh says.
One appeal of the event is that burgers are offered at a special $6 price point, she added.
And restaurants often go above and beyond trying to outdo each other with crazy toppings and combinations.
For example, Bearden’s in Rocky River, Ohio is offering their famous Bearden’s Burger topped with melted peanut butter and sweet pickles. Cincinnati’s Mecklenburg Gardens has three different options: a Rueben Burger, with a corned beef patty, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing; a classic Mecklenburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle and American cheese; and a Garden Burger with a Beyond Meat patty, Swiss, garlic aioli, fresh spinach and sautéed mushrooms and onion. And Cleveland’s Ninja City Kitchen and Bar has an Asian-inspired Pho Burger with provolone cheese, bean sprouts, shaved onion, scallions, Thai basil, cilantro, jalapeño and spicy hoisin aioli.
There are also creative takes like the deconstructed Cheeseburger in Paradise Mac + Cheese skillet from Keystone’s Mac Shack in Cincinnati, with seasoned ground beef, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar, French fries and pickles — served in a cast iron skillet. Or “dessert burgers,” like the Biscoffe Iceburger from Cincinnati’s Tres Belle Cakes, featuring a glazed donut topped with housemade Biscoffee ice cream, drizzled with chocolate fudge.
And look for special vegetarian, gluten-free and carry-out options from restaurants, marked on each Burger Week Passport or menu page.
Burger Weeks have been “a tremendous success” in previous years, and restaurants oftentimes sell out of their burgers, which greatly benefits beef farmers, Harsh says.
In addition to helping fund the research and development of new beef recipes and food safety intervention, the Ohio Beef Council also works to educate consumers on how beef goes from pasture to plate and has resources for those interested in how the food products they consume are raised.
“Today there’s a real void or disconnect between consumers and what happens on the farm, because as times change, there aren’t as many consumers’ families that have a farm,” Harsh says.
According to a study commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the cattle industry will undergo a loss of $13.6 billion and counting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic’s impacted everyone, and unfortunately beef farm families here in Ohio are not immune from that,” Harsh says.
Cattle farmers, she says, were directly impacted because the pandemic created a backlog of market-ready cattle due to CDC guidelines. Although those guidelines were implemented to keep everyone safe and healthy, they also slowed down production and processing, which in turn created a financial loss for farmers.
Which is all the more reason to get out and collect Burger Week Passport stamps this year.
Find more info about Ohio Burger Week and participating restaurants in each city at cincinnatiburgerweek.com; burgerweekcleveland.com; toledoburgerweek.com; columbusburgerweek.com; and daytonburgerweek.com. Learn more about the Ohio Beef Council at ohiobeef.org.