In honor of summer cookout season, we honor some of Dayton’s finest creations.
There are burgers on just about every menu in town.
Some are thick and juicy. Some are thin and crispy.
Some are extravagant. Some are weird. Some are simple.
All are delicious.
But there are a few burgers that just have something a little extra special.
Here is a guide to some of Dayton’s most extraordinary burgers.
These burgers are some true Dayton gems.
Note: Due to the coronavirus-related shutdowns and frequently evolving hours and opening status, please check with each individual restaurant before you go or place an order to determine if they’re open, serving carryout only or waiting to reopen.
Watermark’s burgers are in a class of their own, much like everything on the menu. Their signature Great Miami Burger is a half pound of prime Angus reserve beef that is grilled “pink” or “not pink” and served on a brioche bun and topped with a choice of blue or Ohio cheddar cheese and house pickles and pickled red onion and a bourbon bacon jam.
What’s on the menu? The Great Miami Burger served with dressed greens or fries, $14.95
Start with the creamy Boursin cheese, pickled red onion, house mustard and butter lettuce on a brioche bun. The Bistro Burger is always on the lunch menu, but not available for dinner.
What’s on the menu? The recently updated Bistro Burger with side, $16.
1926 Brown St., Dayton | 937-228-5371 | Website
The Pine Club may be famous for its steak, but its burger is also pretty legit. Beef and lamb are ground in-house before being cooked to perfection.
What’s on the menu? Pine Club Hamburger Platter with onion rings or fries, $12.75; Pine Club Cheeseburger Platter with onion rings or fries, $12.95.
Oakwood Club steaks are a customer favorite at this Dayton classic restaurant, but some of the tastiest beef is used to make the burgers.
What’s on the menu? Oakwood Club Steak Burger, $9.95; Oakwood Club Roquefort Steak Burger, $10.50 (cheese is 35 cents more).
Lucky’s knows how to do a gourmet burger and uses Keener grass-fed beef. The Goat comes topped with guac, spinach, roasted red pepper, applewood smoked bacon and goat cheese. The Cobra is slathered in a Thai-style marinade with peanut butter, cilantro, cucumbers, pickled carrots, jalapenos and sriracha.
What’s on the menu? Other gourmet burger options (prices range from $12-$14.50) range from traditional toppings to an open-faced burger served on Texas toast with gravy, goat cheese and fries.
Build your own burger with customizable toppings from lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles to jalapeños, fried egg, thick-cut bacon, toasted mushrooms, whiskey mushrooms, caramelized onions, white American cheese, pepper jack, cheddar, Swiss, gorgonzola and Feta. Burgers are one-third of a pound and made from grass-fed Blackhawk Farms beef.
What’s on the menu?The Mudlick Burger ($13) features Whiskey mushrooms, caramelized onion, cajun spice, gorgonzola on brioche. The Rocket Burger ($14) includes Chargrilled Blackhawk Beef with “kustard sauce”, cheddar cheese, Applewood smoked bacon and a sunny side up egg on toasted brioche.
Lock 27 pays respect to Keener Farm CSA’s grass-fed beef with its Keener Burger. For just $2 more, we added bacon and an over-easy egg to the cheddar cheeseburger. The sandwiches are served with the frites and sage pesto mayo, chipotle ketchup and/or spicy mustard. The mayo and spicy mustard impressed.
What’s on the menu? The signature Keener Burger as well as a bacon burger. Don’t forget to pair it with a tall glass of freshly brewed Lock 27 beer.
The owners are Ohio State graduates and present their tribute to the school’s former football coach with the Urban Meyer Burger. It’s a fresh half-pound Angus patty topped with a butterflied quarter-pound Angus beef hot dog, with a sweet and tangy wing sauce while pepper jack cheese tried to hold it all together.
What’s on the menu? Urban Meyer Burger (half-pound patty topped with a grilled all-beef Hot Dog, Pepper jack Cheese and signature Sweet Heat Sauce) for $12.25 and the Who Dey Burger (a half-pound burger topped with an Onion Rings, Sautéed Mushroom and Jalapeno, Chili, Bacon, Swiss and American cheeses and signature BBQ Sauce) for $12.25
571 Grill serves up some unusually tasty and creative burgers. The Mac Daddy burger features a Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese Patty, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and BBQ Sauce.
What’s on the menu? Top-seller The Haystack Burger includes Applewood Smoked Bacon, Smoked Gouda Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle and 571 Sauce. There’s also a glazed donut bacon cheeseburger (donuts for buns), plus the Vampire Slayer (garlic toast as buns, with burger, sauteed onions and mushrooms and garlic aoili.
430 E. Fifth St., Dayton | 937-938-6405 | Website | Facebook
You will find robust burgers that you can customize to make your own. How about a half-pound patty with sweet pineapple and zippy pepper-jack cheese, covered in a teriyaki glaze with a tangy wasabi-mayonnaise? Or maybe try one of the signature items, the Italian Burger ($11.50) — a half-pound patty, stuffed with provolone cheese and cooked basil and green peppers, topped with marinara and a mound of caramelized onions.
What’s on the menu? Start with a single patty or a double patty and build your own burger with cheeses, standard toppings and then more unusual toppings from sauteed veggies, to fried eggs, to grilled pineapple and sauces.
Juicy, thick and grilled just right, Tank’s hand-pattied burgers can be served topped with nothing or a laundry list of items at no additional cost. Banana peppers and horseradish, anyone? There’s a reason this burger was voted Best of Dayton’s Best Burger this year.
What’s on the menu? Cheeseburger, $7.69; Hamburger, $7.49; Tankburger (half-pounder), $8.99 (double the patty for $4.99) and Tanksters sliders (3), $6.99.
4668 Springboro Pike, Moraine | 937-299-1440 | Facebook
What Voltzy’s lacks in grandeur it makes up in great-tasting sliders and character — plenty of it. Burgers are made to order and range from very plain and simple to unusual. For example, this spring Voltzy’s introduced the Heidelburger, a larger double cheeseburger with a fried egg, bacon, onions, sweet heat mustard and finished in beer ($5). Cash only.
What’s on the menu? About a dozen ways to order a burger, starting with a basic $1.30 hamburger and $1.40 cheeseburger. Double patty both of those for $2.25 and $2.45.
117 E. Main St., Troy | 937-339-3902 | Website
Low frill, all-American burger in a retro burger shop with over 80 years of history. The beef is ground in-house, and the burgers are made to order. What more do you need? Well, besides a delicious milkshake ...
What’s on the menu? Cheeseburger, $2.90; Hamburger, $2.70.
Meet the winner of Dayton.com’s Best of Dayton Best Burger in 2016, 2017 and 2018. It was a runner-up in this year’s contest. The juicy meat in this burger is packed with flavor. This restaurant in Dayton’s Belmont neighborhood consistently appears on — often topping — local best burgers list. Simply delicious.
What’s on the menu? Hamburger with chips, $6.05 (7 oz.) and $6.75 (10 oz.); Cheeseburger with chips, $6.45 (7 oz.) and $7.15 (10 oz.). You can also make it a bacon cheeseburger or a mushroom swiss burger. You can order any burger in the girlie size (5 oz.) and save 50 cents.
The bar and eatery has been a staple of its community since it opened in 1949 under then owner and namesake Nick Malavazos, and reopened in 2009. The signature burger, the Big Nick, is king of them all. It’s a half pound of juicy Angus beef with your choice of trimmings and the restaurant’s special sauce. It’s a mountain of meat, so come starving or come with friends to help you finish it.
What’s on the menu? Big Nick with choice of: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, Nick’s special sauce & add 50¢ for cheese and $1 for bacon. $8.99. Don’t be surprised to discover some specialty burgers added to the menu every now and then.
Slider-style burgers with names like Poor Richard’s Burger and the Big Ben to pay homage to the restaurant’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin.
What’s on the menu? Full-size, made-to-order burgers range from the $2.99 hamburger ($4.19 double) to the $3.99 bacon cheddar burger to the $3.99 mushroom swiss burger.
200 E. Fifth St., Dayton | 937-586-9790 | Website | Facebook
This place is known for its barbecue, but one of the best things on the menu is the burger. The Smokin’ Burger will literally melt in your mouth. No chewing required.
What’s on the menu? a full half-pound patty that’s been smoked for more than 2 hours in beef broth for $5 (make it a double for $7.75). You can add cheese or a tomato for 50 cents each or bacon for $1.50.
Think homemade. The “S&E Burger” includes two quarter-pound patties, a “special S&E sauce,” onion straws and the fixings on a grilled double-decker bun.
Menu includes: The burger is $8.49. You can add cheese for 50 cents or bacon for 99 cents.
The Hamburger Wagon has served the Dayton area for 100 years and has been ranked as one of the top 150 Hamburger Joints in the U.S. by “Hamburger America”. These burgers are simple, crispy and delicious. No cheese on these burgers. Just pickle, onion, salt and pepper.
Menu includes: Get a single for $1.25 or a double for $2.50. You might also spot the mobile wagon at festivals and fairs this summer.
327 E. Third St., Dayton | (937) 222-7030
The White Lotus has an eclectic menu that includes Thai cuisine and yummy burgers. We recommend the Yummy Burger, hand-crafted with care just like mom used to make you at home. A half-pound hand-formed patty cooked to perfection.
What’s on the menu? The Yummy Burger is $4.95 and add cheese for 25 cents. You can also opt for the Yummy Bacon Burger ($8.20) or the Yummy Extreme Double Burger ($9.20).
🍔FOOD TRUCK BURGERS
McNasty’s Great Food Express
This food truck’s OMG Bacon Burger was a finalist in Best of Dayton 2018 best food truck dish for it burger topped with peppered bacon, cheese and mac and cheese. That’s just one of the burger’s on McNasty’s menu.
What’s on the menu? You can go for the simple burger with a McBurger or a McCheeseburger or take it up a few notches with bacon and bacon jam.
>> BEST OF DAYTON: Best food truck dishes
This food truck is dishing out some tasty burgers. Everything is Always Tasty after all. The menu changes, but expect to find delicious burgers smothered in bacon and cheese.
What’s on the menu? Expect to find creative burgers including one with pimento cheese and fried green tomatoes, or one topped with A1 sauce, carmelized onions, cheddar and bacon.