Food Network fans may not enthuse over the Quatman patty’s gourmet quotient, but the well initiated guard its reputation with vigilance. They swear that the Quatman burger is the golden standard to which all other burgers should aspire: It’s flawlessly basic.
Owner Matt Imm starts with a half pound of freshly-ground chuck blend from Wassler’s Meats in Cheviot—the sole supplier since Quatman’s first opened in 1966. Resist the urge to specify a temperature—this burger is always grilled to perfection—just pink enough so it’s still tender, juicy, and gracefully yields to each tantalizing bite. And what’s the story with that cheese, you ask? It’s cheddar, Swiss, American, or another selection from their in-house deli, located in the back of the restaurant at both Quatman locations. Go ahead, have them lop off a pound of Braunschweiger for you while you’re back there. Served on a tender bun with lettuce, sliced tomato, pickle, and white onion, as well as plenty of ketchup and mustard, you’ll admit at first bite—this one puts every burger you’ve ever had into perspective: Those half-pound burgers loaded with sautéed onions, avocado, bacon, fried eggs, and slabs of stinky truffle cheese suddenly reveal themselves to be overcomplicated, high-maintenance, indigestion-inducing trollops. I’ll let you in on a secret: Basic is bracing for a comeback.
Quatman Café, 2434 Quatman Ave., Norwood, (513) 731-4370; 224 W. Main St., Mason, (513) 229-0222, quatmancafe.com, Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat., Sun lunch Mason only
Originally published in the February 2015 issue.
Photograph by Jeremy Kramer