Monday, May 24, 2010

Welcome to the Russ Romance Burger Blog!

Welcome to my new Burger Blog! Some of you might be wondering why would I dedicate an entire blog to burgers. Isn't the fact that they're delicious enough? Beyond that - they're just such a versatile and varied food staple. You can pick up a 50 cent slider at 3am from White Castle or a $41 Kobe Beef burger in NYC. You can grill some up in your backyard...or order one from the finest gourmet steakhouses. Pizza might be the only other food with so many possibilities. But pizza originated in Italy, whereas burgers are an all-American food. Or so I thought! A quick Wikipedia search informed me that Genghis Khan may have helped originate the mighty hamburger.

A food fit for an emperor!

But enough about burger history!! What can you expect to find in this blog? (besides lot of burgers!). I'm gonna be making a blog entry for every burger place I sample. That should provide not only good readin' for all you people - but add some variety to my burger pursuit! Your brain and my belly will both be happy. And speaking of variety, there's also the possibility of some guest contributors - and some burger pilgrimages in the works.

Unfortunately, this past weekend, I didn't eat any burgers - so here's some thoughts on some of my favorite burgers in the Cleveland area. Expect more commentary on these places once I go back to revisit!

Buckeye Beer Engine has been my standard stop lately for a quality burger. I'd gush about the beer selection for a while, but this is a burger blog, not a beer blog! All the Beer Engine's burgers feature half-pound patties cooked to order (this burger blogger recommends medium rare - you wanna taste that delicious meat!). They feature a wide variety of burgers, with different toppings on each - my pick is their Westside Burger - topped with a cheddar cheese pierogi, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and sour cream. They also feature a "burger of the month" - which are usually delicious! A relative new feature is their "Wildly Improbable Burger of the Month" - which are ridiculously over-the-top burger creations. Such as taking one of their burgers, and serving it between TWO of their other sandwiches. You can bet your ass you'll be reading more about their monthly burger specials soon - and maybe even about the wildly improbable specials!

Tremont TapHouse also serves up burgers in a similar environment. The selection of burgers isn't nearly as varied as the Beer Engine though. They're a couple dollars more expensive as well. But they sure are tasty. Easily the equal of the Beer Engine's burgers, maybe even better! I've only eaten here a couple times, so a re-evaluation is needed soon!

My first introduction to "gourmet" burgers might have been at Heck's Cafe in Ohio City. This is a somewhat high class restaurant, with some pricy entrees. But their burgers are very reasonably priced considering their quality. It's been around five years since I last ate here, so definitely need to try their burgers again. Last time I was here, I was accompanied by noted artist Greg Bailey. Unfortunately, he didn't order a burger. I sure as hell did though!

A favorite burger destination from my youth was Whitey's in Richfield, OH. A family trip here was always a treat! When you walked in, you were in a bar area, which was also packed with now-vintage 1980s video games. I'm guessing the games are long-gone now - but reports say the burgers are still here and still delicious. I remember them having a "Pizza Burger" that I always ordered as a kid - but I don't see it listed on their online menu now. Next time I think I'm gonna try "The Kiev". Their menu describes it as a burger on Texas toast, smothered with Whitey's chili (Whitey's is also well-known for its chili) and topped with chopped onion, shredded Monterey cheese and sour cream. If that doesn't get your mouth watering, you might be reading the wrong blog!

I was gonna write about some burgers I've had recently that DIDN'T satisfy - but this introduction is already getting a bit long - and who wants an introductory post about burgers to end on a negative note? That can be saved for a scathing BURGER RANT in the future.

Until next time, I hope everyone enjoys some burgers - and any recommendations of fine burgers that I need to check out are welcome!

The first burger restaurant chain, founded in 1921.


  1. Awesome, Russ! Great blog idea. Burgers are versatile indeed, and Ohio has loads of great burger joints. Eat your way through town!

  2. Good first post! I've got two recommendations for burgers you should try. One is the Main Street Cafe in Medina. They grind their own burger meat, using top cuts of meat (even filet mignon!). On the other end of the spectrum is Swensons, an Akron based chain of drive-ins that serve a very distinctive tasting burger for a reasonable price. Their "Galley Boy" is their signature burger.

  3. russ might be the belly behind this blog but i am the brains :D

  4. Thanks Mike and Bob! I have had Swensons a few times - the Galley Boy is a good cheap burger! I'd get it more often, but it's kind of far from here.

    And Erin - when it comes to burger bloggin' - a belly is far more important than brains! And I got one big belly!