Six Burgers For Under $6

You don’t have to go into hock to enjoy some of the best burgers this city has on offer.
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In 2015, we scoured the city to produce a list of the 45 Best Burgers. Here is your cheat sheet for our six favorite budget burgers, in no particular order.


1. Zip’s Café: Zip Burger, $5.50
In a joint that’s been slinging sandwiches since 1926, you’ll find plenty of regulars—dare we say lifers—whose patronage has allowed five sets of owners to keep the magic of the Zip Burger alive. But what sets the basic burger at this Mt. Lookout institution apart? The griddle-cooked patty manages to stay sweet, rich, and moist and always arrives on a lightly toasted but still fluffy bun with the standard LTO. 1036 Delta Ave., Mt. Lookout, (513) 871-9876, zipscafe.com

2. Doris & Sonny’s Homelike Restaurant: Big Jack, $5.95
The name alone warrants a drive out to Miamitown. Owner Kent Hugentobler will shout a greeting from the kitchen in between orders of Paul Bunyan–sized onion rings (hand-cut and battered), scratch-made fries (we spied Hugentobler peeling potatoes in the back), and of course, the burgers. Order the Big Jack—roughly a quarter pound of hand-formed beef on a soft, griddled bun. The caloric investment is worth the chance to try the homemade tartar sauce. 6856 State Route 128, Miamitown, (513) 353-9828

3. The Root Beer Stand: Quarter Pounder, $3.75
Don’t get confused by the name—there’s not a shred of corporate interest here. An A&W as early as 1957—the franchise agreement expired in 1982—the current indoor counter and the outdoor tables are crowded with young families and old-timers alike relishing the simple joys in life—like this standardized four-ounce patty (always well-done) on an enriched white-flour bun. It may not be cutting edge, but the level of freshness is enough to make a red-headed Ronald weep with envy. 11566 Reading Rd., Sharonville, (513) 769-4349, therootbeerstand.com

4. Chicken on the Run: Cheeseburger, $2.99
Name notwithstanding, you’re going to want to order the burger. The patty is thin (don’t go asking for mid-rare) but flavorful enough that it isn’t overwhelmed by the chewy bun, melted cheese, and pile of onion slices, pickles, and lettuce. Plunked smack in the middle of Deer Park, Chicken on the Run is an amusing mix of dive bar and family restaurant. There’s pinball and a claw game, plus a dartboard and a dinosaur of a cigarette vending machine. In short, it’s the perfect place for your kids to hang with their elders and pick up a few proper swears. 7255 Ohio Ave., Deer Park, (513) 791-6577

5. Quatman Café: Hamburger, $5.75
This is the burger you wish crazy Uncle Marty would cook at family reunions instead of those bland patties he defrosts. It’s a basic burger done right, with the kind of crunchy char on the outside that comes from a scalding flat top. Snag whatever table you can find—with cans of pop and paper plates, this hole in the Norwoodian wall is as fancy as a summer picnic. Minus the lawn chairs. But the Reds game will be on , so make like a regular and cheer for the home team. 2434 Quatman Ave., Norwood, (513) 731-4370, quatmancafe.com

6. Gaslight Café: Hamburger Deluxe, $3.30
Don’t be deterred by the lackluster curb appeal. Behind a gritty Montgomery Road facade lies one of the best bangs for your burger buck and a hoppin’ neighborhood watering hole that Pleasant Ridge patrons wish they could keep secret. We’re talking $3.30 for a well-seasoned beef patty on a perky Kaiser bun ($3.50 with cheese). While chips come with, you’d be remiss if you didn’t sample a $3.50 boatload of their highly addictive waffle fries or a stack of tantalizingly crisp onion rings. 6104 Montgomery Rd., Pleasant Ridge, (513) 631-6977, gaslightcincy.com

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