According to our good friends at Dayton Dining, May 28th is National Hamburger Day. Today, we celebrate with this timely article.
THIS IS THE UNDENIABLE TOP 35 BURGERS in DAYTON, OHIO. Some are well known icons, some are not. What they all have in common is incredible taste and freshness. Each is a burger in a class of its own.
For years, Food Adventures has scoured the Miami Valley, trying different places over and over again to make sure we get the definitive list. We have eaten each burger on this list at least twice to ensure placement, accuracy of ranking and consistent quality. Our hard work and chewing has paid off.
Now, without further delay, Chef House, Hungry Jax and the Big Ragu present, in order, the best 35 burgers of Dayton, Ohio.
THE BEST 35 BURGERS in DAYTON, OHIO
1) ” THE CHEESEBURGER ” and ” THE HOG BURGER ” at VOLTZY’S ROOT BEER STANDE: Fresh hamburgers and fresher service. Dayton’s #1 burger is in a shack, but at least they have bathrooms. We are amazed at how many people still have not tried this place. The owner Rick Volz, is known for his grumpy, yet playful attitude with the customers. If you go in the wrong door, forget to call in your order, or deviate from the regular toppings, you will feel Voltzy’s wrath. It is his “schtick,” similar to the Seinfield show’s “soup nazi.” Enduring the insults is worth it for a taste of his cheeseburgers. Voltzy grills each and every hamburger himself, and he does it to perfection. The 2 burgers here that are MUST EATS are the CHEESEBURGERS ,which are sliders and priced at 10 for $12. The other burger is THE HOG, a 20 ounce mammoth burger that he named after his ex wife. One of his sleepers is the Betty Ann Burger, named after his mom.
The Secret: His 80/20 chuck mix is ground fresh every morning. His burgers are steam grilled with onions and cheese, and topped with sweet heat mustard.
2) ” THE 10 OUNCE CHEESEBURGER ” at SLYDERS TAVERN: Make sure you get the 10 ounce burger for the full experience. This is a ‘burger lovers burger,’ with a fresh taste. You get it all, lots of toppings and you can taste the seasoned meat. If you don’t get a handle on the burger early, it can get a little messy. A burger with a huge underground following, and comes in at #2. Make sure you check out “The Pride of Belmont” on Watervliet Rd.
The Secret: They use Dot’s Market fresh 80/20 Ground Chuck. “Grandma’s old iron cast stove and steel grill” in the back is also a key to cooking the burgers perfectly.
3) ” THE TANK BURGER WITH CHEESE ” at TANK’S BAR & GRILL: One of Dayton’s Iconic Dayton Burgers. It is as simple as that. This burger has a cult following of thousands and thousands of fans. People come from all over to this spot on Wayne Avenue to try the legendary burgers. Sink your teeth into one of these big, meaty legends !
The Secret: The owner Dan ” Tank” Tankersley says it himself..”Fresh, fresh, fresh… and the quality helps too.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
4) ” THE CHEESEBURGER ” at THE PINE CLUB: You think they have great steaks? You should try their Cheeseburgers! This iconic restaurant on Brown Street, is the most unlikely place to find a good burger. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Some of the best quality meat in town in here.. right? It’s so good that they sell their raw hamburger meat in 5 pound bags “to go.”
The Secret: They grind the hamburger meat daily, at the same time that the butchers are carving the most famous steaks in Dayton. Rumor has it that they add a little bit of ground lamb to their burgers.
5) ” THE LARK BURGER ” at THE MEADOWLARK RESTAURANT: Served on a sturdy kaiser roll with white cheddar, this is one of the juiciest burgers we have ever eaten. Trust us, and order one of these burgers. It is a sophisticated, delicious and unique tasting burger, and unlike any other on this list.
The Secret: Fresh Rosemary spice is worked into the all-natural, Ohio Beef patties, which are also seasoned in wine. The burger is as aromatic as it is delicious.
6) ” THE JERK BURGER ” at YE OLDE TRAIL TAVERN: Talk about a Food Adventure in a bun, this burger has a lot going on. The cheese topped jalapenos bring the burn, the beef brings the flavor, and the jerk sauce is the icing on the cake. A burger so unique, we have never had anything like it. This one is #6 with a bullet !
The Secret: They tout that they have their own special “beef blend” for their burgers. This and the inventiveness of the jerk sauce on the burger are the secret.
7) ” THE ONION STRAW BURGER ” at THE HORSELESS BUGGY EATERY: They won 3rd place in the nation for food truck’s with the best burger. We love them for the size of this burger. The presentation of this hefty burger is usually met with “ooohs and ahhs,” from people standing around at food truck rallies.
The Secret: The burger is pattied fresh daily with special seasonings. The onion straws are made fresh to order, on a bakery style Kaiser roll. These onion straws are that crunch that puts it over the top.
8) ” THE VOSS BURGER ” at O’LEARY’S PUB & GRUB: Two hand smashed patties totaling 2/3 pound of meat, with cole slaw and any other of your typical toppings. A nice Kaiser roll with a long toothpick holds it all together. This burger is messy but so delicious. One of the best burgers we have ever eaten, but get it with cheese !
The Secret: The burgers are ground daily at Zink’s Meat Market less than a block away. The high quality and fresh 80/20 ground chuck, catapult this burger onto our list.
9) ” THE BOURBON BURGER ” at BRIXX ICE CO.: A huge hamburger, that even feels warm through the bun. With lots of toppings, it is surprising, but the bourbon sauce is still very noticeable. There is no better atmosphere to enjoy a burger than inside this old building, or on the patio overlooking the Dragon’s stadium. This burger is simply phenomenal.
The Secret: It’s all in the bourbon sauce. It haunts your every bite, in a good way, letting you know “I’m still here.”
10) ” THE MOWHAWK BURGER ” at MOHAWK FREESTYLE GRILL (FOOD TRUCK): A huge burger on wheels. Chef Aaron serves up some of the best burgers in Dayton. They have a distinct taste. Truly a delicious burger with great toppings. Make sure you grab one of these, when his food truck is in town. You can thank us later.
The Secret: He uses fresh ground ribeye meat. The result is a big, juicy, delicious burger. It is as simple as that.
11) ” THE GOAT BURGER ” at LUCKY’S TAPROOM: A nice, filling burger with a ton of flavor. It is made of local, Dayton beef, and a pile of toppings. Unhinge your jaw and bite into a serious burger. Andrew Trick and his staff do this up right!
The Secret: The beef is from Keener Farms, which produce locally grain fed beef. The freshness is evident in every bite.
12) ” THE TASTY BURGER ” at THE HASTY TASTY PANCAKE HOUSE: Like a “Big Boy” sandwich, only better. It is juicy, tasty and filling. This is one of the lesser know burgers in town, with the biggest flavor. Every bite is like music to your mouth.
The Secret: The greasy grill of the Hasty Tasty Pancake House, seasons the burgers perfectly. The bun and tartar sauce on your tongue, seals the deal, and makes it a MUST EAT.
13) ” THE STICKY BURGER ” at ARCHER’S TAVERN: This unique burger is another MUST EAT. It is the #1 selling signature burger on their menu. Part-owner Dan Apolito says in his 5 years at Archer’s, he knows of only 2 people that tried it and didn’t like it. If you’re thinking about it, go for it! Peanut butter as a topping makes it a Food Adventure for sure !
The Secret: Peanut Butter, Bacon, & Pepper Jack Cheese give it a hot, sweet almost Thai peanut taste. They suggest you order it with no lettuce , no tomato, no onion or pickles
14) ” THE CHEESEBURGER ” at CARVER’S STEAKS & CHOPS: This burger is only available at the bar or “to go.” It is not on the regular menu, so this burger is one of the best kept secrets in town. A deliciously seasoned burger with all the ‘fixins.’ The weck style dinner bun makes it easy to eat.
The Secret: They use steak scraps to make the burgers. The burger is also served with carmelized onions and a housmade A1 aioli sauce.
15) “THE THREE CHEESE BACON BURGER” at ONE EYED JACKS: Provolone, Swiss and Cheddar cheese adorn this burger , as do 2 big pieces of bacon. This is one of the best burgers we tried, and the flavor is one-of-a-kind. It is one of those burgers that when you take a bite, you say with a full mouth “oh my gawwwsh.”
The Secret: When they mix the meat, they add herbs and spices. The result is a very distinct taste of basil and other ingredients. This burger is one of the dark horses on the list.
16) ” THE PARAGON STEAKBURGER ” at THE PARAGON SUPPER CLUB: The burger is a modest 6 ounce serving, and a great deal at just $7.50. When you add the bun, tomato, lettuce and onion, it becomes a mouth stretcher on that first bite. We choose to add american cheese, mustard and ketchup to seal the deal. It is even great when ordered “to go.”
The Secret: They grind the trimmings of their filet mignon steaks for the patties of this burger. The result is lean, flavorful magic.
17) ” THE CHEESEBURGER ” at KOWALSKI’S HOTS: Yes, a burger from a hot dog stand made this list, and rightfully so. Fresh meat on a NY style weck bun, with concession style condiment choices where you doctor it up yourself. The $5 price tag is worth every bite, and when the relish, mixed with the weck bun and meat hit your taste buds, we say “goodnight Irene.”
The Secret: He puts a meaty coney sauce on the hamburger. The way the juicy meat soaks into the weck bun is a perfect vessel for delivering this burger to your mouth. We found ourselves dancing while standing and eating it at the cart.
18) ” THE LARGE, CLASSIC CHEESEBURGER ” at E. O. BURGERS: Located at the Greene, not only is this a great burger place, but their shakes are killer too. Make sure you get the large cheeseburger, take your number, sit down and wait for the main event. Condiment carts at the tables have sauce toppings including A1 and Cholula. It doesn’t matter what you top it with, it is a great burger.
The Secret: They use 100% USDA Prime Beef, and the taste is terrific. Fresh, handmade patties everyday with USDA Prime Beef quality, means consistently good burgers.
19) ” THE CHEESEBURGER” at JIMMIES LADDER 11: This six ounce masterpiece is probably the best deal on our list. The burger, the toppings and the atmopsphere is 100% Dayton. We love it. With so many great items on their menu, it is no surprise that their burgers kick butt too.
The Secret: The burgers are 100% Angus meat, mixed with secret house seasonings. It doesn’t hurt that the burger is served with Mikesells Chips.
20) ” THE URBAN BURGER ” at ELSA’S KETTERING SPORTS GRILL: Made famous by the legendary Dayton restaurant owner, Urban Suburban, this burger has been a Miami Valley favorite for decades. The recipe is untouched since Elsa’s Kettering took over, and the result is still magical. Get it with cheese.
The Secret: Fresh meat, never frozen and a pile of toppings. Big eaters with big appetites, this burger is for you.
21) “ THE GROUND BEEF BURGER” from CHRISTOPHER’S RESTAURANT: Easy to eat, and absolutely delicious. This burger is as unique as the restaurant that serves it. They pride themselves on organic, all natural burgers with no additives. The proof of that choice is in every bite. The most picturesque burger on our list, it looks like a magazine ad.
The Secret: A bakery quality, multi-grain roll holds the burger together perfectly. It is the handle that carries that non additive beef burger into your mouth, like a valet for your taste buds.
22) ” THE BISTRO BURGER ” at COCO’S BISTRO: This Angus beef burger is served with bacon, carmelized onions and the most incredible Boursin cheese sauce. One of the more unique burgers on the list, the taste is instantly recognizable.
The Secret: It is all about the creamy, rich, Boursin cheese sauce. The first bite is one of those “wow” moments. The kaiser roll is stellar too. We cant stop saying the word Boursin after eating this… Boursin, Boursin. Booooorr. siiiiine. It’s all about boursin,bout de boursin, no trouble…
23) ” THE BLEU CHEESE STUFFED PEPPERCORN BURGER ” at THE TROLLEY STOP: It is a juicy burger, made with local beef. It is stuffed with bleu cheese. You must stuff it in your mouth. Not a lot of condiments are needed for this special treat. The chef at Trolley Stop has really kicked up their menu, and this is just another example of that.
The Secret: It is made with Keener Beef, a locally raised beef, which gives a very fresh and organic feel to the burger.
24) ” THE BIG NICK BURGER ” at NICK’S RESTAURANT: Xenia natives know this is a great burger. For the others that don’t know, welcome to another place where you can “get the beef!” The Big Nick is a tasty 1/2 pound burger, and the only place in the area where you can get a side of smelts with it. Call it a Xenia Surf and Turf ! We love it !
The Secret: They claim the perfect blend of 80/20 ground chuck. We say they are right! You have to love a burger whose call tag it, “What’s on your Big Nick?”
25) ” THE BLACK JAX AND BLEU BURGER ” at SEA JAX TAVERN: This nice sized burger is served with carmelized onions, pepper jack cheese and crumbles of bleu cheese. Lots of flavor in this one.
The Secret: The burger is “blackened” before the incredible toppings are added. The cajun spices on the meat are a nice touch.
26) ” THE HAMBURGER ” at THE HAMBURGER WAGON: Any place that people that people stand in line 15 deep in the bitter cold or intense heat, just to get a taste of the burgers, has to be on this list. There is no doubt, this place has a cult following. In fact the “place” is actually a wagon in the street. Since the Great Flood of 1913, the Hamburger Wagon has been an icon in Miamisburg. The burgers are topped only with onion, pickle and salt & pepper. The pride themselves on needing “no stinking condiments.”
The Secret: The burgers are actually a mix of burger and sausage meat. Also, the grilling method of deep frying the burgers, by pressing them down with a spatula, in a large iron skillet gives the hamburgers than one of a kind “crunch” when you bite into them
27) ” THE ITALIAN BURGER ” at BLIND BOB’S: A generous 1/2 pound burger with provolone cheese, marinara sauce and carmelized onions. The atmosphere and quiet fanfare for this burger, makes for a fun experience. Definitely a hamburger not to be overlooked.
The Secret: The burger is “stuffed” with provolone, green peppers and basil. It oozes with every bite. Eat it quick, so it oozes into your mouth and not in your hand.
28) ” THE APPLEWOOD BACON CHEDDAR BURGER ” at BUNKER’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL: A nice sized hamburger with bacon and cheddar cheese. You have to pour the BBQ sauce on yourself, since it is served on the side. The result is a smokehouse flavor that is a refreshing twist. This is the only burger on the list that is served with shredded cheese.
The Secret: Fresh Angus beef combined with applewood smoked bacon is the key to this bad boy. It gives a nice maple hint to the burger and shredded cheese.
29) ” THE PUB FRIES BURGER ” at THE DUBLIN PUB: A burger with fries, cheese and bacon crumbles on top. When you combine Dayton’s favorite pub fries and a great burger, you are bound to have a winner. Add the “Dub Pub” atmosphere and you have yourself a Food Adventure escape from reality !
The Secret: The cheesey pub fries topping are what puts this on the list. The burger is good, but the pub cheese fries on top, make it outstanding.
30) ” THE DOUBLE CHEESEBURGER “ at CADILLAC JACKS: A great sports bar atmosphere for one of the best burgers in town. Make sure you get the “double” burger, it is time to play with the adults. Great flavor from the first cheesey bite, to the last.
The Secret: Fresh ground sirloin and ground chuck mix, with tons of cheese. The result is a melt in your mouth, delicious experience.
31) ” THE HAMBURGER ” at GEEZ GRILL and PUB: A solid, great tasting pub burger. This burger is one of the dark horses on our list. “Mama G” hits the mark again with her menu items. Make sure you get some cheese on it
The Secret: The meat is fresh Ground Chuck, pattied daily by hand. And that was all it took in this case.
32) ” THE HALF POUND HAMBURGER ” at GEORGE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT: A diner that is a throwback to the “good ole’ days”. Killer food and good service. Grab a 1/2 pounder at George’s to fill your carnivore cravings. No frills, no dramatic presentation, just a damn fresh and tasty burger in a bun, on a plate.
The Secret: Fresh meat cooked on a flaming grill. The grill is so fierce, you can see it flare up from time to time if you are seated in certain areas of the dining room.
33) ” THE YUMMY BURGER ” from WHITE LOTUS RESTAURANT: A true Dayton dive with a friendly cook / owner. Here your hamburger could be cooked next to some chicken pad thai. The burger is delicious and the prices are cheap. “Yummy burger?” Hell yes it is!
The Secret: The owner will tell you that her “love” that goes into the burger is the secret. But we saw the trick. It is fresh ground meat, with garlic salt and pepper, cooked on that old, seasoned, flat top grill.
34) ” THE MINNESOTA JUICY LUCY ” at ROMER’S BAR & GRILL: This 1/2 pound burger is stuffed with provolone, pepperoni and jalapenos. The result is a tasty hamburger that oozes cheese with every bite from inside the burger. Yet another Food Adventure on a plate, this one takes it to a whole new level of taste.
The Secret: The “inside out burger” mentality of the Juicy Lucy and the unique stuffings of course. The pepperoni and jalapenos give it a salty and sultry burn in every bite.
35) ” THE CHEESEBURGER ” at BENJAMIN’S THE BURGER MASTER: A great burger that deserves a spot on our list. The gooey cheese and the meat, it’s the simplest burger on this page. And it simply tastes great. They also have the best BBQ wings in town.
The Secret: The simplicity equals good taste. The burgers are fresh, 100% ground beef, seasoned and topped simply. Sometimes, less is more.
” THE BIG FRICKIN’ BURGER ” at FRICKER’S: This burger is a full pound of beef. The patties are brought in fresh, not frozen. This burger stacks two of the 1/2 pound patties, resulting in a massive burger, and a great frickin’ deal at just $7.99.
The Secret: Cooked over a flaming grill. Great grill marks, and a great taste.
” THE MAID RITE ” at MAID-RITE SANDWICH SHOPPE: They are sweet tasting, tiny, little sloppy joe like sandwiches. We are letting them slide by into the burger category. The small sandwiches are addicting and delicious. There is a HUGE fan following of this restaurant, and many people travel an hour for these little icons. The eatery is located at 125 N. Broadway St in Greenville, Ohio.
The Secret: It is the cooking technique, which is a closely guarded mystery. Some say they add sugar to the meat, others think they steam the meat in Pepsi. We have no idea, we just know we love them.
Honorable Mention Chain Burgers: “The Garbage Burger” from Max N Erma’s, The Big Boy Sandwich, and White Castle Hamburgers. These regional chains along with the Red Robin burgers are MUST EATS. We give a shout out to Five Guys and Smashburger as well… We eat it all, no self contradictions here.
There you have it, that’s our list of the top 35 Burgers in The Miami Valley ! Comment below and give us your beefs, take it easy on our buns…
As you can see, Food Adventures never does anything halfway, and this is no different. Notice, we have no contributed or borrowed stock photos here. All of these pictures are original, because we actually went to the places and ate the burgers at least 2 times each. Yes, multiple visits is what keeps Food Adventures on top of the pack.
Want more of the best foodie spots in Dayton? Then “like” Food Adventures on Facebook by clicking HERE. Join Hungry Jax, Chef House and The Big Ragu as they leave no plate unturned.
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