This weekend Akron will host the 5th annual National Hamburger Festival, a delicious celebration of that most American of American foods. Hungry, hungry revelers will bathe in a smorgasbord of red, ground, succulent beef topped with anything and everything you can imagine.
Who has the best burger in Cleveland? Plenty of solid options await your beef-craving desires, but these five are the best.
1. Hinckley Tavern: The best burger in Cleveland isn't even in Cleveland, or even in Cuyahoga County. Foster's Hinckley Tavern at the the intersection of 303 and Ridge Rd. is where you'll find burger heaven. No fancy accouterments here. No upscale burgers with fancy slatherings. Just some of the freshest, tastiest, juiciest meat in a plump, pudgy, hand-formed patty that makes holding and eating the half-pound work of art a messy but worthwhile endeavor. It comes with the works — mayo, tomato, ketchup, lettuce and pickles — and that's all you need except a napkin.
2. Lolita: The happy hour burger at Lolita is wondrous for two reasons. First, Michael Symon's construction: homemade English muffin, fried egg, and bacon. Second, during each of Lolita's happy hours (the regular one and the late-night version) the burger is $5. Let me repeat: $5. You won't find a better burger for a better bargain.
3. Little Bar: A former Scene staffer left the paper a few years ago and moved out to Denver. He loved and still loves Cleveland for its food and sports and culture, but every time the topic of his former home came up, there was one thing and one thing only that he mentioned first: Little Bar's burger. More than anything, he missed that greasy, rich, beefy delight. Strong praise. Same goes for us, except we're still here and can enjoy it any time we choose, which is often.
4. Greenhouse Tavern: Jonathon Sawyer's scrumptious offerings on E. 4th have gotten wide acclaim. While the menu is enticing and rewarding and adventuresome from top to bottom, it's the burger that keeps us coming back. Raclette cheese and preserved tomato decorate the dry-aged beef, and as good as the pomme frites are, after the burger we usually have only room for a couple of bites.
5. Tremont Tap House: The Tap House's burger is not a subtle. It's not tidy, it doesn't often stay together neatly between the buns, and it's dauntingly huge. Which is why we love it. Whichever version you choose know that the burger is juicy, so juicy in fact that you thank the heavens the bottom bun is strong enough to sop it all up and hold it together. It tastes like a burger should taste, the beef outshining anything you layer on top. We just wish we could finish it.
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