What you’re getting: The BLT Burger
When it comes to hamburgers, taverns don’t often disappoint: it’s their stock in trade. The Lake Tavern just outside of Youngstown is pretty much home away from home for countless regulars who make habitual sorties here for the incredible burgers. The kitchen grinds the beef fresh on site, which gives these mouth-watering patties incredible depth and flavor. There are 25 different burger combinations on the menu, all of which can be bumped up from a 6-ouncer to a 10-ouncer for just two bucks. Given the quality of the beef, the freshness of the toppings, and the convivial atmosphere of the tavern, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
What you’re getting: The Classic American
Toledo’s Burger Bar 419 has a few strikes against it: it’s new, it’s trendy, and then there’s the name, a generic descriptor paired with the town area code. Yawn. But these guys are no mere carpetbaggers with a disingenuous affection for their city; they are local through and through. And then there are the hamburgers, which have fueled a mini-empire now three-stores strong. Sure, you can get your half-pound patty of fresh-ground, local, grass-fed beef topped with everything from horseradish cheddar spread and pickles to grilled lamb, hummus, and yogurt sauce. But with burgers this fresh, and this beefy, we prefer to go old-school, here called simply the Classic American.
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New York Times best-selling author Douglas Trattner writes about food, drink, and travel for publications that include Food Network Magazine, Miami Herald, Tasting Table, and Wine & Spirits. He lives in Cleveland Heights with his wife, two dogs, six chickens, and 50,000 honeybees, give or take.