People love a good burger.
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It’s the cornerstone in the foundation of most popular fast food chain menus. Some burgers are so beloved they have almost a cult following. The South has Whataburger, the West Coast has In-N-Out, the Midwest has White Castle.
But there are a few locally owned places that deserve the kind of devotion as these national chains. I’ve written about my love of Voltzy’s Rootbeer Stand before and think it deserves to be firmly in this category.
One Dayton spot that was grilling up smashed burgers way before Smashburger ever came onto the scene is Benjamin’s the Burger Master on North Main Street. Its sign bills itself as “a family eatery” selling ribs, chicken and burgers.
A visit to this nostalgic throwback will transport you back to the early 1980s, when owner John Riley opened it 36 years ago. It’s like a museum of what fast casual food used to be back in the day — perfectly preserved with decor that is a fine, kitschy compliment to the homemade dishes being served up.
>>Bucket List: Stop at Benjamin’s, have a burger
THE FAMOUS BURGERS
Benjamin’s tasty burgers are hand-pattied and served made to order, $3.19 for a single, $4.39 for a double, $3.39 for a cheeseburger, $4.69 for a double cheeseburger and $4.19 for a mushroom swiss, bacon cheddar or pizza burger.
Burgers come with lettuce, tomato and onion and the requisite ketchup and mustard.
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ON THE SIDE
There are plenty of sides to go with your burger of choice — French fries ($1.59), onion chips ($1.79), corn, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and green beans ($1.99 or $4.29 for a pint) are all options. Fried okra ($1.79) is an interesting choice you don’t often see and hints at the soul food infused into spots on the fairly straightforward menu.
Other sandwich options include $4.79 for a jumbo tenderloin or $4.29 for a chicken or fish filet.
For larger portions, dinners are the way to go. BBQ ribs with two sides and a dinner roll ($7.29), a two-piece BBQ chicken dinner ($5.99) and a three-piece crispy fried chicken dinner ($7.99) are all indicative of the affordable prices of the meals being served. Food can be purchased in larger quantities as well if you are getting carry-out or are with a larger party. A 12-piece box of fried chicken for example is $20.95.
Daily lunch specials are featured throughout the week and feature comfort-food options like chopped steak with mushroom gravy, lasagna, meatloaf and pork tenderloin and stuffing. Various cakes and pies ($2.39-$2.79) are available for purchase if you are feeling like a sugar fix after you eat.
None of this food is life-changing, but when you feel like a fast food burger that’s well worthy of a cult following, Benjamin’s has you covered.