Best Burgers 2015: Brave New Protein

No animals were harmed in the making of this list of the Queen City’s best veggie burgers.

The Rookwood: Vegan Burger, $11 (lunch); $15 (dinner)
The top alterna-burger in town is a mash-up of red wheat berries, chickpeas, and a trace of chili, grilled into an orange Rorschach blob, then given the full love and care of a regular burger.
Editor’s note: The Rookwood is now closed.

Sammy’s Gourmet Burgers & Beers: Pinto Bean Burger, $9.50
The vegetarian’s answer to the classic dive-burger—cheese as a bonding agent and a smart thinness deftly overcomes a problem that haunts many veggie burgers—they fall apart.

Gordo’s Pub & Grill: Black Bean Burger, $9 to $12
The best black bean burger in town is thin, expertly sculpted, and bursting with juice. Juice in a veggie burger is confusing, and yet worthy of applause.

Krueger’s Tavern: Veggie Burger, $8
This burger extols itself, it towers; the patty has a nice external crunch and the inner workings are dotted with red beet bits and brown rice, giving it a cute meat look.

Ollie’s Trolley: Veggie Burger, $3.95
It’s your basic garden patty, nothing to text home about, but then they drop it into scalding oil and deep fry the healthiness right out of it. Tastes great! We applaud Ollie’s effort to divert from the message that all veggie burgers should be good for you.

The Elusive Cow: Tempeh Sliders, $8.75
Nicely marinated, properly proportioned sliders, these twin mini-burgers (on delicious slider buns with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion) have a pleasing texture and superb taste—they don’t taste “veggie” or “faux meat,” they just taste great.

Sleepy Bee Café: Three-seed Veggie Burger, $10.50
The Bee gets points for such a uniquely-composed housemade patty, and they’re generous with the allotment of seeds. They also go wild with the lettuce and ’maters; this is a two-handed burger, for sure.

Green Dog Café: Vegan Burger, $12
The burger that divides the city—some love its expert seasoning and giddy proportions; others are haunted by the soft, cold core of onion and tomato jam that sits at the center. It’s veggie burger as dinner theater, and you should try it at least once.

City View Tavern: Veggie Burger, $5.75–$6.75
Veggie burgers are often left out of the locally-sourced movement, but City View uses Cincinnati’s own Five Star Foodies and serves burgers that are small and zesty.

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