The perfect burger exists, and you can find it right here in Columbus.
I know that when it comes to food, perfection can be quite subjective. But I can make that comment safely because Columbus has so many incredible places to grab a burger, that I feel genuinely confident that everyone will fall in love with at least one burger on this list.
From hole-in-the-wall dive bars to high-end restaurants, most eateries in this city have their own take on the classic American hamburger. Luckily for us, there are some Columbus restaurants that are absolutely crushing it.
I’d just like to apologize in advance for the amount of mouthwatering yumminess that’s heading your way. That said, let’s dive right in!
The Rossi is a great spot for delicious cocktails, brunch, and of course, a burger. The Rossi burger is made with locally-sourced ground beef, topped with white cheddar, pepper jam, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, bacon, and served on a brioche bun.
Pro tip: go ahead and add an egg to this masterpiece. Your mouth is probably watering by now, so I’ll leave you here to contemplate your dinner plans.
Where: 895 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
When someone first told me to check out Johnnie’s Tavern, I admit, I was skeptical. Could this little roadside joint really have one of the best burgers in the city?
Yes, they could and they did. Lunch at Johnnie’s is a no-frills experience, but trust me, you won’t need the frills.
Where: 3503 Trabue Rd, Columbus, OH 43204
Our visit: Johnnie’s Tavern Has Burgers The Size Of Your Head, And Yes, You Want Onion Rings With That
If you ask any random person in Columbus where you should grab a burger, there’s a decent chance that they’ll suggest Thurman’s Cafe. And for good reason. Thurman’s is home to the famous Thurmanator.
It’s an absolute beast of a burger, consisting of a “Bottom bun, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, banana peppers, 12 ounce burger, bacon, cheddar, another 12 ounce burger, sautéed onions & mushrooms, ham, mozzarella & American cheese, top bun served with fries and a pickle spear.”
Where: 83 Thurman Ave, Columbus, OH, 43206
Dive bar vibes and a burger that basically has its own cult following? Sign me up! The Black Pepper Burger at O’Reilly’s is a half-pound burger encased in cracked black pepper. It’s bold and flavorful, and it pairs perfectly with a beer at the sunken bar.
Where: 2822 N High St, Columbus, OH 43202
The Ringside Café has been a part of downtown Columbus since 1897, so it’s not hard to understand how they’ve built a burger legacy. They’ve got a bunch of delightful burgers to choose from, but since we’re talking about the best, I’ve got to suggest the Buster Douglas.
Named after the iconic Columbus boxer, the burger is 1.5 pounds, topped with blue cheese, roasted garlic aioli, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and cole slaw. Talk about a knockout.
Where: 19 N Pearl St, Columbus, OH 43215
When dining at Gemüt Biergarten, I wouldn’t be shocked that your first instinct would be to order a schnitzel, pretzel, or bratwurst. But I promise you will be missing out on one of the best-hidden gem burgers in the city.
The Gemüt Burger is a quarter-pound smash burger made from Ohio-raised beef, topped with applewood smoked bacon, American cheese, house-made pickles, and kraut smash sauce, all sitting on a brioche bun. My advice is no matter how particular you are, just order the burger the way it comes. The flavors are beautiful together and you won’t regret it.
Where: 734 Oak St, Columbus, OH 43205
Pat And Gracie’s
Dining at Pat and Gracie’s kind of feels like getting a big hug from someone you love. It’s comforting and delightful. The burgers at this restaurant are out-of-this-world, handpattied masterpieces.
It’s genuinely difficult to suggest one burger off the menu, but I think the Chimi Burger comes out on top. I mean, Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, caramelized onions, bacon, and housemade chimichurri? How do you say no to that?
Hadley’s Bar + Kitchen
Looking for the perfect burger for both meat-eating and vegan friends alike? Then stop what you’re doing and go to Hadley’s. For the meat eaters in the party, you really can’t go wrong with the classic Hadley’s Diner Burger.
For a meatless option, the Hadley’s Vegan Burger is made with Beyond Meat, lettuce, onion, tomato, house pickle, American “cheese”, and special sauce, served on a soft roll.
Where: 260 S. 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215
Flavor 91 Bistro
Way back when we first launched Columbus Navigator, Flavor 91 was one of the first restaurants I reviewed. Let me just say, it set the bar very, very high. The burgers are flavorful, filling, and delicious. Plus, the burgers are made with all-natural, 100% grass-fed beef. I highly recommend the Perfect Patty. It’s your classic American cheeseburger, with a unique Ethiopian twist.
Where: 5186 East Main St, Whitehall, OH 43213
Our visit: A Burger From This Whitehall Restaurant Will Change Your Life, Especially If You Get The Spicy Sauce
Preston’s: A Burger Joint
Sometimes, hamburger cravings come in the form of needing a kind of greasy, extra yummy smash burger.
Preston’s has perfected this style of burger and I’m almost hesitant to tell you just how good it is because I’m slightly worried that you’ll become as obsessed with it as I am. But it’s just too delicious not to share.
Where: North Market, 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215