Benjamin's a true 'Master' of the burger

I don’t often use the phrase “the best,” but that may be just how I describe the cheeseburger I had at Benjamin’s the Burger Master

The name of the restaurant states it perfectly. Last week a coworker let me in on a Dayton secret (which also happens to be a Bucket List item). His exact words were “Go get a cheeseburger, sit back and enjoy life.” That was all the recommendation I needed to get myself to Benjamin’s the very next day. 

The basics
Benjamin’s is located at 1000 N. Main Street, just north of downtown Dayton. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. It’s a cash-only establishment, so  come prepared. 

What should I try?
I couldn’t make up my mind, so I tried a bit of everything. I was advised to try the cheeseburger, but that was before I knew the menu offered so much. Don’t let the name Burger Master deceive you – Benjamin’s could also be the Chicken Master or Rib Master.

The menu offers chicken dinners, chicken wings and a variety of fish, sandwiches and ribs.  I got the wings with a 2-piece snack. They were meaty, tender and pulled away from the bone with ease. The batter was perfectly seasoned and crispy without being greasy. The wings were served without sauce. Instead, you get a side of BBQ sauce for dipping. While I enjoyed the taste of the sauce, I preferred the wings just as they were served.

Maybe chicken isn’t your favorite. Well, by all means, try the ribs. The ribs I tasted had a strong smoky flavor, which I happen to really enjoy. Benjamin’s is one of the only places I’ve ever been where you can order just one rib, if you wish. This made it perfect for me, as I wanted to sample everything on my visit. For those with a hearty appetite, they offer a BBQ Rib Dinner that includes two bones, two sides and a roll.

Sides, drinks & desserts
As if the chicken and ribs weren’t filling enough, Benjamin’s offers a variety of sides.  I sampled the greens and the black eyed peas, and only wish I could have tried the mashed potatoes or the corn, as they all looked divine. While I waited for my order, a gentleman came in and ordered a pint of mashed potatoes with gravy and ate it in the dining area as he waited for his large carryout order. They offer French fries, garden salads and coleslaw.  One side I would recommend for anyone going to Benjamin’s is the fried corn bread.  It’s a pancake-shaped  piece of cornbread with a crispy shell a soft, buttery center. It was like having dessert before eating the entrée.

If fried cornbread isn’t your ideal dessert, Benjamin’s offers a few options of cakes and pies by the slice. When I was there, they had carrot cake and German chocolate cake.

For drinks, there’s a variety of Pepsi products as well as iced tea, coffee and lemonade. The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol.

As I alluded to in the beginning, Benjamin’s burgers now rank number one on my best burger list. The taste reminds me of the Brazier burgers of my youth, with the chargrilled flavor rarely found today due to the mass production of fast food. The fresh-from-the-grill heat, blended with newly melted cheese and the aroma of freshly cut onions simply consumed all of my senses. The price for a cheeseburger is $3.19, which is very reasonable for the flavor and the size.  I found one burger to be very filling and adequate for a lunch treat. Also, eating just one allows you to sample Benjamin’s other offerings. Benjamin’s serves hamburgers as well as double burgers and cheeseburgers, mushroom Swiss and bacon cheddar burgers. 

Final verdict
Just go! Don’t walk, but run to Benjamin’s. The food is amazing, the prices are incredibly reasonable and the staff couldn’t be any friendlier. The staff chatted with the regulars and made newcomers feel welcome.  They also offers large portions for parties, receptions or any type of gathering, and will prepare party-size portions of chicken, ribs and sides with a 24-hour advance notice. 

Another convenient benefit: Benjamin’s has a drive-through window, making it easier to pick up your call-ahead orders.

All in all, it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat before a Dragons or UD game. Who am I kidding? It is delicious any time!  Just remember: cash only!

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