Burger Beast All Over Ohio

Open Face Cheeseburger from Hometown Hot Dogs in Millersport, Ohio

I spent the better part of the last two weeks of a 2016 road trip with my friends; the Miami Meat Machine. We stayed five days in Columbus, Ohio. I would return in 2019 with Marcela during my book signing tour.

This year, as part of the Camacho Bold Burger Battle, we drove through Ohio on our way to Indianapolis from Detroit. We spent a few nights in Troy.

There are many burger joints left to explore in Ohio and when I do, you can bet this list will be updated.

CINCINNATI

American Sign Museum

Vintage McDonald’s Neon Sign

April 9th, 2017 – I love vintage signs, so stopping at American Sign Museum (1330 Monmouth Ave, Cincinnati) was a must. However, don’t expect many small signs since this museum is chock full of giant ones.

We left particularly enamored with the vintage McDonald’s neon featuring their former mascot, Speedee.

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Price Hill Chili

Cup of Chili from Price Hill Chili in Cincinnati, Ohio
Cup of Chili

April 9th, 2017Price Hill Chili (4920 Glenway Ave, Cincinnati) was chosen as the restaurant to try some real-deal Cincinnati chili. Marcela and I were starving, so our starter was a cup of chili.

Coney Dogs from Price Hill Chili in Cincinnati, Ohio
Coney Dogs

The chili was enjoyable, but it’s the coney dogs I was dreamin’ about eating; no mustard this time on the wieners, just straight-up coney sauce, and diced onions.

These fellas were phenomenal, so mission accomplished.

Graeter’s Ice Cream

Ice Cream Cone from Graeter's in Cincinnati, Ohio
Marcela’s Ice Cream Cone

April 9th, 2017 – We couldn’t leave town without Graeter’s Ice Cream (11511 Princeton Pike, Cincinnati). Marcela and John got cones while I enjoyed a couple of scoops of their creamy salted caramel with chocolate chips.

As a bonus, they sell Barq’s Red Creme Soda, which isn’t available in our home state of Florida, and we obsess over it.

COLUMBUS

B Spot

B Spot Menu Cover from Columbus, Ohio
B Spot Menu Cover

 March 19th, 2016 – On our first night in Columbus, we went to B Spot (5091 N. Hamilton Rd., Columbus) by Chef Michael Symon. This dude has four South Beach Wine & Food Festival Burger Bash wins under his belt.

I attended the Burger Bash, where he won with the Fat Doug (topped with slaw, pastrami, stadium mustard & Swiss cheese).

Fat Doug Burger from B Spot in Columbus, Ohio
Fat Doug Burger

I thought, here’s an opportunity to try a larger version of the slider I enjoyed a few years back; great burger. In addition, the Stadium Brat (beer brat with griddled onions & stadium mustard) and chocolate shake w/Kahlua are worth ordering; you will love them.

Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace

Music Wall Decor at Dirty Frank's in Columbus, Ohio
Music Wall Decor

March 20th, 2016 & March 22nd, 2016 – We stopped at Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace (248 South 4th St, Columbus) twice. Still, I preferred what I ordered the first time around.

Cincinnati 4-Way from Dirty Frank's in Columbus, Ohio
Cincinnati 4-Way

What was that? A chili dog (meat coney sauce, diced onions, yellow mustard & cheddar cheese), Puff The Magic Popper & the Cincinnati 4-Way (spaghetti, meat coney sauce, cheddar cheese, chopped onions, jalapeños & sriracha sauce drizzle).

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Salted Caramel Waffle Cone from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream in Columbus, Ohio
Salted Caramel Waffle Cone

March 20th, 2016 – After hitting up Dirty’s Franks, we knew that dessert in the form of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (59 Spruce Street, Columbus) was in our future. A couple of salted caramel scoops on a house-made waffle cone were excellent.

Tim Hortons Cafe and Bake Shop

Tim Horton's Donuts Sign in Columbus, Ohio
Tim Hortons Donuts in Columbus, Ohio

March 20th, 2016 – Our visit to Tim Hortons (1135 Dublin Road, Columbus) was a spur-of-the-moment decision since I couldn’t eat there five years ago in New York. Colella chose a Boston Creme; I ordered a few Timbits (bite-sized donuts) with a cup of joe. The snacks worked, and we were off to Raising Cane’s.

Boston Creme Donut from Tim Horton's in Columbus, Ohio
Boston Creme Donut

Raising Cane’s Chicken Tenders

Raising Cane's Chicken Tenders
Raising Cane’s Chicken Tenders

March 20th, 2016 – I’m not sure how we did it, but we each got a chicken tender platter at our fourth restaurant in a row. I’ve got a significant weakness for chicken tenders and knew I needed this in my life.

There are many chicken tender restaurants around Northern Florida and near college campuses in the Southeastern states; Raising Cane’s (2823 Olentangy River Rd, Columbus) ranks right near the top.

The Thurman Cafe

The Thurman Cafe in Columbus, Ohio
The Thurman Cafe in Columbus, Ohio

March 20th, 2016 – As punishment for leaving Gerther & Isaac behind on the four-stop excursion, they head out to the Thurman Cafe (183 Thurman Ave, Columbus). Isaac not only dares to order the Thurmanator (lettuce, tomato, mayo, American cheese, provolone cheese, ham, sautéed onions, mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, hot peppers & 2 – 12 ounce burger patties), but he eats the entire thing.

Thurmanator from The Thurman Cafe in Columbus, Ohio
The Thurmanator

The worst part is we’ll never hear the end of it from him.

White Castle Headquarters

March 21st, 2016 – I was invited to White Castle Headquarters before the building was torn down and rebuilt.

May 14th, 2019 – Three years later, I was in town for a book signing at the same spot, but it was a totally different building.

Pastimes Pub & Grill

Nachos from Pastimes Pub & Grill in Columbus, Ohio
Nachos with Grilled Chicken

May 12th, 2019 – Marcela wanted nachos and a couple of drinks after a long day of antiquing. Pastimes Pub & Grill (121 E Campus View Blvd, Columbus) was right across the street from the hotel we were staying in and fit the bill.

Grill Cheese with Bacon & Ham from Pastimes Pub & Grill in Columbus, Ohio
Grill Cheese with Bacon & Ham

I was looking for a snack, and the ham & cheese called out to me. The fries had some tasty seasoning on ’em, and the added bacon to my sando tied the whole meal together.

Eating ham & cheese sandwiches is a lifelong passion, and this one did not disappoint.

Pablo’s Havana Cafe

May 14th, 2019 – What a find, Cuban comfort food in Powell, near Columbus, Ohio.

DUBLIN

Wendy’s Headquarters

March 22nd, 2016 – The good folks from White Castle introduced me to the Wendy’s people, and the next thing I knew, I was visiting Wendy’s Headquarters.

Max & Erma’s

Max & Erma's on Sawmill Road in Columbus, Ohio
Max & Erma’s on Sawmill Road in Columbus, Ohio

May 15th, 2019 – Many years ago, I ran across an auction website selling everything from one of the closed Max & Erma’s restaurant locations. I loved the decor and made sure to remember the name of the regional chain for our next visit to Ohio.

While on my book signing tour, we stopped at the Max & Erma’s (7480 Sawmill Road) in Dublin, Ohio. After walking around and enjoying the decor, it came time to order some grub.

My eyes stopped at Cola BBQ Bacon Burger Cheddar while perusing the menu. This beauty brings caramelized cherry cola onions, smoked bacon & crisp onion straws drizzled with cherry cola BBQ sauce on a toasted brioche bun.

F’n great.

Cola BBQ Bacon Burger from Max & Erma's on Sawmill Road in Columbus, Ohio
Cola BBQ Bacon Burger from Max & Erma’s on Sawmill Road in Columbus, Ohio

Unfortunately, this Max & Erma’s location was one of the many victims of the 2020 pandemic.

Swensons Drive-In

May 15th, 2019 – I had plans to visit Swensons Drive-In back in 2016, which fell through. In 2019, Marcela and I happily ate our food in our car.

GAHANNA

Gahanna Grill

May 16th, 2019 – Titus and I wanted to hit up a restaurant from the Hamburger American book while we were both in Ohio. We both agreed on Gahanna Grill.

GREENVILLE

Jim’s Drive-In

Jim's Drive-In  in Greenville, Ohio
Jim’s Drive-In in Greenville, Ohio

June 20th, 2022 – On our way to Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe, a DM on Instagram suggested we stop at Jim’s Drive-In (100 Martz St, Greenville). Jim’s Drive-In sounded promising, and a Spanish Hot Dog and a cold root beer could open up our appetites.

Root Beer from Jim's Drive-In  in Greenville, Ohio
Root Beer from Jim’s Drive-In in Greenville, Ohio

I was right.

Spanish Dog from Jim's Drive-In  in Greenville, Ohio
Spanish Dog from Jim’s Drive-In in Greenville, Ohio

It was my second Spanish Dog ever, and the tomato-heavy meat sauce with some vinegar was a different kind of chili in a good way. And the root beer? That fella was served a cold mug, so there were no complaints on this side of the table.

Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe

Maid-Rite in Greenville, Ohio
Maid-Rite in Greenville, Ohio

June 20th, 2022 – I’ve often dreamt of eating at Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe (125 N Broadway St, Greenville). Unfortunately, the inside of the restaurant has been closed for a few years now.

Maid-Rite Menu in Greenville, Ohio
Maid-Rite Menu

Marcela was driving, allowing me to overthink my order while waiting in the drive-thru. While the Big Jim Sandwich sounded like a great idea, sticking to a Maid-Rite and a Cheese-Rite was what we were here to eat.

Cheese-Rite Sandwich from Maid-Rite in Greenville, Ohio
Cheese-Rite Sandwich

Dairy King

Dairy King Drive-Thru Menu in Greenville, Ohio
Dairy King Drive-Thru

June 20th, 2022 – On our way out of town, we spotted Dairy King (805 Martin St, Greenville). Alright, that is not true. We saw Dairy King on the way in, but we had pressing food matters.

Soft Serve Swirl from Dairy King in Greenville, Ohio
Soft Serve Swirl

And we had a soft serve swirl for the win.

LIMA

Kewpee Hamburgers – Downtown

March 21st, 2016 – I collect Kewpee Hamburgers memorabilia and ephemera, so our stop made my day.

Kewpee Hamburgers – East

May 17th, 2019 – Another Kewpee Hamburgers fix, so I returned a few years later, plus I was here for a book signing.

MILLERSPORT

Roxy’s Pizza

Chicken Park Hero from Roxy's Pizza in Millersport, Ohio
Chicken Park Hero from Roxy’s Pizza in Millersport, Ohio

March 23rd, 2016 – We laid low on the last night in the Columbus area and picked up some pizza, cheese bread, and a chicken parm hero from Roxy’s Pizza (12110 Lancaster St, Millersport). It’s a solid neighborhood pizza joint.

Hometown Hotdogs

March 23rd, 2016 & May 15th, 2019 – I was with the Miami Meat Machine on my first visit, so it was a full-on lunch stop. The return three years later was strictly for breakfast and to catch up with Kim Oxley, the owner of Hometown Hot Dogs.

TOLEDO

Green Lantern, Rudy’s Hot Dog & White Tower

May 12th, 2019 – Green Lantern looked cool, but it was closed. However, I did make it to Rudy’s Hot Dog and White Tower.

TROY

Frisch’s Big Boy

Frisch's Big Boy in Troy, Ohio
Frisch’s Big Boy in Troy, Ohio

June 19th, 2022 – We arrived early at Frisch’s Big Boy (20 Troy Town Dr, Troy). Usually, I’m not opposed to having a burger for breakfast, but Frisch’sBreakfast Big Boy caught ever roving eye.

This sandwich was a pleasant surprise early in the morning: 1/4 of lb. sausage, cheese, pickle, a fried egg, crispy bacon, and Frisch’s Original Tartar Sauce on a double-decker bun.

Breakfast Big Boy from Frisch's Big Boy in Troy, Ohio
Breakfast Big Boy from Frisch’s Big Boy in Troy, Ohio

I was happily stuffed; maybe too early for a nap?

B-K Root Beer

BK Root Beer in Troy, Ohio
BK Root Beer in Troy, Ohio

June 19th, 2022 – There were more than 200 B-K Root Beer (2780 Stone Circle Drive, Troy) restaurant locations around the midwest. This drive-in is one of thirty independently owned restaurants (in Indiana, Michigan & Ohio) left.

Spanish Dog from BK Root Beer in Troy, Ohio
Spanish Dog from B-K Root Beer

B-K Root Beer popped my Spanish Dog cherry. I washed it down with a root beer float; skipping out on one at B-K Root Beer would be criminal.

B-K Root Beer’s Spanish Dog is one of the best chili-esque dogs I’ve encountered.

K’s Hamburger Shop

K's Hamburger Shop in Troy, Ohio
K’s Hamburger Shop in Troy, Ohio

June 20th, 2022 – Much like the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe, K’s Hamburger Shop (117 E Main Street, Troy) lived on my Burger Bucket List for way more years than I care to admit. Unfortunately, we were leaving Troy that morning, which left a small window for K’s.

Double Cheeseburger from K's Hamburger Shop in Troy, Ohio
Double Cheeseburger from K’s Hamburger Shop

Marcela slept in, so I showed up at the 8 AM opening time, ready for some burgs. K’s Hamburger Shop was exactly what I was hoping for and more.

I washed down my cheeseburger and a double cheeseburger with an ice-cold cola, and an hour later, we were on our way to Indianapolis.


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