Columbus, Ohio, has been a burger town for about as long as people can remember. Both Wendy’s and White Castle have roots here. For many years, Columbus’ hamburger scene relied on the standbys of ground beef patties, sometimes a slice of cheese and lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles. Today, a burger renaissance is underway in Ohio’s capital with Columbus restaurants swapping out ground chuck for vegetarian options and sirloin blends.
The traditional choices still abound at Columbus restaurants, but now you can also find gourmet pairings and vegetarian choices, many with a focus on the local foods movement. Toppings now include everything from smoked onion aioli to kale and avocado slices.
See our list below for five of the best burgers to be found in Columbus, Ohio.
Smoked Gouda Burger at Hubbard Grille
Hubbard Grille, at 793 N. High St., offers a popular Beer and Burger Night that pairs one of its popular burgers with a glass of draft beer for a special price. The Smoked Gouda Burger consists of a fresh ground chuck patty, bacon jam, avocado slices, lettuce, tomato and onion. The combination of the smoked cheese with the avocado slices make this burger stand out.
The Ella Burger at Ella
Here the “EL” in “Ella” stands for “Eat Local” – this restaurant at 266 E. Main St. in New Albany, has a focus on serving locally grown farm-to-table foods. The Ella Burger features Ohio ground beef, chipotle gouda, smoked onion aioli, thick strips of local bacon, dill pickles, fried onions and is served with house-made barbecue chips. You can make the burger gluten-free by omitting the bun and fried onions.
Skillet Burger at Skillet
Imagine a sandwich that combines breakfast and lunch. The Skillet Burger at Skillet, 410 E. Whittier St. in Merion Village, accomplishes this with its Skillet Burger made from Bluescreek Farm Meats beef, Laurel Valley Creamery Jersey Drover cheese, special Skillet sauce, Folsom & Pine Farm peppery arugula … and a fried local egg served on a griddled sesame roll. The egg in this very local sandwich provides a unique twist to the usual hamburger.
Northstar Burger at Northstar Cafe
Northstar Café has a focus on organic ingredients and a commitment to pure and natural dining, with three locations in Columbus – in Beechwold, Short North and Easton. Customers say the Northstar Burger is a surprisingly satisfying and healthy vegetarian variation made from organic brown rice, black beans and beets and topped with melted white cheddar, kale, tomato, pickle and onions, and served on a thick house-made bun.
Thurman Burger at The Thurman Café
The Thurman Café, at 183 Thurman Ave. in German Village, has been around since 1942, offering a casual atmosphere, lots of memorabilia and some of the biggest burgers you will ever find. The Thurman Burger is an enormous beef patty overloaded with ham, lettuce, tomato, mushrooms, sautéed onions, pickles, peppers, mayo, and mozzarella and American cheeses oozing down the sides. This burger is so tall, most people eat it with a fork and knife.