1. The Place: Chicken on the Run
The Burger: Bobby Burger, $4.79
Our Take: Dive bar in the front, family friendly neighborhood joint in the back. That’s not weird, is it? Stuff yourself with the triple-decker Bobby Burger at a rock-bottom price. Upgrade to the Fire Fries—cheese fries doused with hot sauce—and don’t forget to take your Prilosec.
You’re Drinking: They have a few taps with local selections, but whatever you get, make sure it’s cold (see Fire Fries, above). 7255 Ohio Ave., Deer Park, (513) 791-6577, facebook.com/chickenontherundp
2. The Place: Herb ’N Thelma’s
The Burger: Cheeseburger, $3.75
Our Take: The cheese is strictly American, your only vegetables are pickles and onions, and the bun is basic. But the whole is more than the sum of its parts: juicy, fresh, perfectly seasoned. We like ours with a bag of the salt-and-vinegar Dirty Kettle chips.
You’re Drinking: Something from one of six rotating drafts (we like Country Boy Brewing’s Shotgun Wedding), or a PBR can. 718 W. Pike St., Covington, (859) 491-6984
3. The Place: Gas Light Café
The Burger: Gas Light Burger, $6.75
Our Take: It’s dark, and cozy, and always welcoming. The half-pound Gas Light Burger is the star, but it’s supported by solid onion rings, standup waffle fries, or (our favorite) crisp crinkle fries. The choice is up to you.
You’re Drinking: MadTree—PsycHOPathy is cheaper here than at the brewery—or another local draft from more than a dozen taps. 6104 Montgomery Rd., Pleasant Ridge, (513) 631-6977
4. The Place: Midway Café
The Burger: Midway Classic, $10.99
Our Take: New owners rebooted this Ft. Thomas mainstay late last year. The signature burger comes with American cheese, bacon, egg, and housemade ketchup. Both meats come fresh from Ebert’s Meats in Newport, so you’re supporting two locally owned businesses at once.
You’re Drinking: One of 14 rotating taps (mostly craft), or a shot of bourbon from their not-small selection. 1017 S. Ft. Thomas Ave., Ft. Thomas, (859) 781-7666, facebook.com/midwaycafefortthomas
5. The Place: Anderson Township Pub
The Burger: Georgetown Village, $10.95
Our Take: On Thursdays, if you buy a burger, you get a second for $5. We couldn’t resist the Georgetown Village, which is stuffed with blue cheese, blackened, then covered with Roquefort dressing. We chose the fresh-cut fries on the side instead of a salad.
You’re Drinking: If you want draft, Stella Artois is it, but they’ve got a broader selection in bottles. Or have a cocktail. 6694 Clough Pike, Anderson Twp., (513) 231-0601