Columbus restaurants with burgers worth celebrating


The Columbus Dispatch



Double Happy burger with waffle fry and a strawberry milkshake at Double Happy.

Double Happy burger with waffle fry and a strawberry milkshake at Double Happy.


Tribune News Photo

Classic double burger with banana pudding and chicken nuggets and biscuits at Preston’s in the North Market.

Classic double burger with banana pudding and chicken nuggets and biscuits at Preston’s in the North Market.


Photo by Tim Johnson

Did you know that Saturday was National Cheeseburger Day?

Yep, it’s true.

The first reference we could find in The Dispatch to “cheeseburgers” was an ad dated March 15, 1938, for the Toddle House.

Well, the Toddle House no longer is an option, so where can you go to get a good burger and celebrate?

Greater Columbus is home to a number of restaurants, taverns and pubs that serve up great burgers.

If you need some ideas, we have you covered.

Here is a sampling of places to grab a burger culled from reviews in The Dispatch.

• Preston’s: A Burger Joint

59 Spruce St., North Market, 614-400-1675, www.prestonsburgers.com

Preston’s signature cheeseburger is as addictive as ever. Currently called the classic ($7; $10 for a recommended double), its smashed-and-seared, fresh-tasting patties (mine had a desirable hint of pink in the center) were flattered by melted American cheese, house pickles, shaved red onion, shredded lettuce, a zippy mayo-enriched “secret sauce” plus a puffy and sweet toasted bun. Given its fine, if familiar, ingredients and careful execution, the trendy and inhalable burger seems both newfangled and old-fashioned.

Review: Preston’s continue to delight with outstanding burgers

• Double Happy

1280 Brown Road, Southwest Side

The star of the small food menu is the irresistible Happy Burger ($3.99). Add another patty ($1.95) and you have the even more irresistible, immensely filling, aptly named Double Happy.

The burger’s glad-making properties partly derive from happy sauce — a zippy and tangy amalgam of ketchup, mayo and abundant worcestershire sauce. But most of the happiness is delivered by griddle-crisped patties wed to melted American cheese. While hardly transformational, this is the sort of old-fashioned cheeseburger promised in the commercials of, but rarely served at, corporate fast-food eateries.

Review: Double Happy serves up smiles with ice cream, burgers and fries

• Birch Tavern

639 Main St., Groveport

As the staple of any solid tavern, the burgers are held in high esteem by the customers and staff, Corbin said.

The sunshine burger ($10.99) comes with a choice of bacon or ham, fried egg and cheddar cheese. The western ($10.99), meanwhile, is topped with jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, barbecue sauce and beer-battered onion rings.

They are served on brioche buns, supplied by local Auddino’s Italian Bakery, toasted per order.

Groveport restaurants: Birch Tavern offers reasonably priced food and a laidback vibe

• Cleaver

1097 W. 1st Ave., Grandview Heights

The restaurant in Grandview Heights continues to source almost everything — from meats to cheeses — from producers in the Buckeye State. To top if off, Cleaver’s managing partner Tony Tanner also owns The Butcher & Grocer next door, where premium steaks, pork, chicken, sausages and other artisan goods are sold retail.

The burger ($16) is composed of a whole-animal beef blend that’s ground fresh at the processing facility.

“We’ve got everything in there, from brisket to short ribs, it’s is in there,” Tanner said.

Using a brioche bun from Matija Breads and sharp cheddar from Young’s Jersey Dairy, the burger is additionally topped with roasted red onion, house-cured pickles from Ohio cucumbers, a spicy dijonnaise mustard and bacon braised in beer, brown sugar and a little cider.

Cleaver restaurant: Buy local is the motto of Cleaver restaurant when it comes to ingredients

Tommy’s Diner

914 W. Broad St.

While Tommy’s Diner might seem like a throwback from the past, its portions, prices and quality are hard to beat, said Michael Pappas, son of founders Tommy and Kathy Pappas. The Franklinton restaurant, founded in 1989 by the Pappas couple, remains a strong fixture on the Near West Side dining scene.

Naturally, burgers are a big deal in the diner setting. The straight-up cheeseburger ($7.50) — all burgers are made from hand-patted Black Angus beef — offers a half-pound of meat and traditional toppings on a sesame-seed bun.

“You just taste the freshness in our burgers,” Pappas said.

Toomy’s Diner history: Scratch-made diner classics makes Tommy’s a destination for more than 30 years

• Jasmine Fusion Cuisine

560 S. High St., Brewery District

Largely because the owner-chef in charge of Jasmine’s one-man-band operation was Zulfiqar Ali — chef for eight years at excellent Tandoori Grill on Bethel Road — Jasmine evoked the adage about a book and its cover. Ali wasn’t quick to fill big orders (we waited upward of 30 minutes on visits), but his skill and experience guaranteed that most of his eatery’s Pakistani-and-Northern-Indian-influenced fare, some of which is culturally hybridized bar food, was terrific. It was also generally quite spicy and nicely priced.

Jasmine Fusion review: Jasmine Fusion Grill offers excellent curries and spicy but flavorful fare

• Flatiron Tavern

129 E. Nationwide Blvd., Arena District

After more than a year in business, the Flatiron Tavern continues its mission of being a wallet-friendly destination Downtown. “We’re still just focusing on good tavern food at good prices,” said Rachel Frye, who owns the spot with business partners Scott Schweitzer and Chris Huda.

• McClellan’s Pub

6694 Sawmill Road, Northwest Side

Burgers are popular with the crowd at McClellan’s, which uses a custom blend of beef for its 7-ounce patties served on a brioche bun. One option ($12) features a Guinness barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and fried onion chips, with a choice of side.

About McClellan’s Pub: Pub has fun blending American and Irish influences

• Columbus Brewing Company Taproom

2555 Harrison Road, West Side

CBC’s burgers, fries, wings and pizzas could merit a visit to the taproom on their own. That said, this scratch-cooked fare is well-designed to partner with the operation’s 20-some house-brewed draft beers.

The standout diner-style cheeseburger ($12), served with hefty and terrific fries, evoked (oxymoron alert) an artisanal Big Mac created with locally raised beef patties flattered by a tangy house sauce and zippy house pickles.

What to know about Columbus Brewing: Cheeseburgers, wings and pan pizzas among Columbus Brewing’s lures

• Adam’s Eden food truck

Find its location at streetfoodfinder.com

The “Adam” burger ($8) is anything but typical, using a third of a pound of chargrilled beef, mushrooms, onions, peppers, pepperoni, provolone and American cheese, and a topping of mayo, ketchup and barbecue.

Adam’s Eden: Food-truck chefs makes up for lack of space with quality recipes

Double Happy burger with waffle fry and a strawberry milkshake at Double Happy.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/09/web1_20210917-AMX-ENTER-ITS-NATIONAL-CHEESEBURGER-DAY-HERE-1-OH.jpgDouble Happy burger with waffle fry and a strawberry milkshake at Double Happy. Tribune News Photo
Classic double burger with banana pudding and chicken nuggets and biscuits at Preston’s in the North Market.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/09/web1_20210917-AMX-ENTER-ITS-NATIONAL-CHEESEBURGER-DAY-HERE-2-OH.jpgClassic double burger with banana pudding and chicken nuggets and biscuits at Preston’s in the North Market. Photo by Tim Johnson

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