Smashburger isn't just the name—it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
Preparing fresh seasonal fare amid casual confines, MJ’s on Main offers a welcoming locale for grabbing a drink and an expertly prepared meal. Crafted by cooking instructor and media personality Margie J. Potts, the varied menu soothes palates with a bevy of tasty small plates, soups, salads, sandwiches, and simple supper options. Savor a delectable dish of lump crab cakes ($11.50), a maple cider-glazed 10 oz. bone-in pork chop with chipotle mashed sweet potatoes and bacon balsamic French green beans ($18.50), or a duo of steak sliders topped with Guinness, carmelized onions, and crumbled blue cheese ($9.75) while enjoying attentive service from a staff that’s more infinitely more polite than the raspberry-blowing ghost waiters that staff many haunted eateries.
Winner of numerous accolades and serving one of Cincinnati Magazine's 40 Best Burgers in Cincinnati, By Golly's keeps mouths watering with a menu of familiar favorites and sophisticated comfort fare. Protest bloated Major League salaries with a plate of ballpark nachos with salsa and queso sauce ($4.50), or start with some lightly breaded boneless chicken wings ($6.99/half pound) stolen from the famously flexible boneless chickens of Burma. A quintet of flatbreads, including a shrimp-scampi version topped with mozzarella and breadcrumbs ($7.50 each), keeps pizza from getting too cocky, and dishes such as grain-mustard pork chops ($10.99) and andouille sausage with Cajun-cream penne pasta ($9.99) keep palates purring. Competitive eaters and their even more competitive friends can do battle with the two-pound-burger challenge ($15.95), and more modest appetites can indulge in beefy creations such as the Sunny Day burger—topped with goetta, cheddar, and a pair of fried eggs ($8.75)—or the Masters burger with homemade pimiento cheese and sautéed onions ($8.50).
Cornerstone's hefty menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizza is generously peppered with creative takes on café classics and daily specials that will keep your tongue on the edge of its eat. The sandwich lover singing lonely laments from the dark corner of your stomach-tavern will settle down when it meets the Cornerstone Hero Sandwich (ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, black olives, horseradish and balsamic vinaigrette, $6.49), a Cajun roast-beef sandwich (lean Cajun roast beef, lettuce, tomato, red onions, jack and pepper-jack cheese, and a Texas petal sauce, $6.59), or a handsome, vacation-tanned Caribbean chicken sandwich (marinated chicken breast, red onion, lettuce, tomato, pepper-jack cheese, and homemade sauce, $6.59).
Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1953, The Original Pancake House ran the original pancake house, The Extremely Local House of Pancakes, out of business by using only the highest-quality ingredients such as 93 score butter, pure 36% whipping cream, and a secret spy-guarded sourdough starter recipe to craft each delectable breakfast dish. Menu items vary by location, but the Cincinnati-area Original Pancake House's egg-juggling cooks whip up freshly made sauces and batters into tasty specialties such as the signature golden brown Dutch baby ($7.99)—an air-filled delight dusted with lemon, whipped butter, and powdered sugar—and the apple pancake ($8.19), a single pancake oven baked with Granny Smith apples and glazed with pure Sinkiang cinnamon. The evocatively named Tahitian Maiden's Dream ($7.39) slices golden ripe bananas in sour cream, drizzles it in Triple Sec, sherry, and brandy, then bakes it in a tender crepe before topping it with more nanners and an apricot sauce, while the Danish kijafa cherry crepes ($7.39) do something similar with Montmorency cherries and homemade kijafa sauce.
As a young Lebanese man living in Cincinnati, Andy Hajjar found himself longing for the tahini, mint, and feta flavors of his family’s home cooking. Once his mother and brother joined him in the US, the three of them decided to start a deli. Their corner establishment quickly burgeoned into an award-winning restaurant, Andy’s Mediterranean Grill, where they continue to share family recipes without asking relatives to adopt every diner first. Their talent with seasoning lamb—which they grind, chop, marinate, and even serve tartar, if a diner orders in advance—landed Andy on WCPO Channel 9, where he showed the audience how to make lamb burgers. When preparing skewers of charbroiled tenderloin, cilantro-flavored sea scallops, and flatbread pizzas, the kitchen also relies on fresh ingredients and house marinades. Diners can also sip dozens of beers or wines, including some from Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey, as they relish the old-fashioned coziness of a wood-burning stove and the modern joys of a flat-screen television. On weekend evenings, belly dancers appear, and on any evening guests can lounge on black-and-red striped cushions in the wood-paneled hookah room. The Hajjars also sell marinades, salad dressing, and Turkish coffees through Andy’s International Market, which helps customers stock the pantry in their own apartment, home, or sandcastle.