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Best Burgers in Cleveland

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Hamburger - Fire - Cleveland Ohio

The Burger at Fire on Shaker Square

(© Stu Spivack/cc license)
Best Burgers in Cleveland

Heck's Cafe in Ohio City

(© 2006 S Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)
Academy Tavern Cleveland Ohio

Academy Tavern

(© 2006 S. Mitchell; Licensed to About, Inc.)

Cleveland Ohio specializes in comfort food and no food is more comforting than a good burger. From Ohio City to Akron, read all about the best places to find a hamburger or cheeseburger in Cleveland. (listed in random order.)

1. Heck's Cafe -- This comfortable Ohio City eatery, housed in a restored 19th century brick townhouse, has been in business since the early 1970s. Although Heck's has changed management a couple of times, the restaurant continues to produce excellent burgers accompanied by hand-cut french fries.

Among the specialty burgers are the au poivre (peppercorns and sour cream) burger, the Roque burger (with bleu cheese dressing and bacon) and the Basque burger (onions, peppers, mushrooms, and Havarti cheese).

Heck's Cafe
2927 Bridge St.
Cleveland, OH 44113
216 861-5464

2. Great Lakes Brewing Company -- This cozy brewery and pub, across from the Westside Market, serves some of the best burgers in town. Their brewhouse burger comes with your choice of cheese and you can add fried onion straws, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and bacon for just a little extra. The brewery recommends that you accompany the burger with a pint of their Burning River Pale Ale. (Who am I to argue?)

Great Lakes Brewing Company
2516 Market Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44113
216 771-4404

3. Fire -- Fire, on Shaker Square, is known for its stylish contemporary cuisine, but the popular restaurant makes a mean burger, too. The angus beef burger (pictured above) is served with tomato, lettuce, red onion, cheddar, and mustard aioli. It comes with a serving of garlic-herb fries.

Fire
13220 Shaker Square
Cleveland, OH 44120
216 921-3473

4. Bahama Breeze -- Yes, it's a chain restaurant, but you've got to try their burgers. They are wood-grilled angus beef and are accompanied by tasty fries or fruit. Particularly good is the Jamaican burger, which comes with spicy jerk barbecue sauce, pepper jack cheese, and grilled onions. If you like hot sauce, ask your server for the caddy of six Caribbean sauces.

Bahama Breeze
3900 Orange Place
Orange Village OH 44122
216 896-9081

5. Academy Tavern- An eastside icon since 1939, this friendly eatery combines the charm of a neighborhood bar with delicious homemade cooking. Their burgers are thick and juicy and come with any or all of the fixings.

Academy Tavern
12800 Larchmere Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44120
216 229-1171

6. Little Bar & Grill - This little downtown watering hole is known for its cozy, "everybody-knows-your-name" atmosphere and as a great pre and after game or event stopping off place. They also make a mean burger, with all of the fixings. Plus, they serve until 2am.

Little Bar & Grill
614 Frankfort Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
216 861-2166

7. John Q's Steakhouse -- This venerable downtown steakhouse, located right on Public Square, serves up a 1/2 pound Certified Angus Beef burger. They call it the "best in town" and who am I to argue?

John Q’s Steakhouse
55 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113 216 861-0900

8. Whitey's -- Whitey's, located between Cleveland and Akron, in Richfield Ohio, is that comfortable kind of place that keeps you coming back.

The restaurant, in business since 1953, offers 10 different specialty burgers, including the "The Dagwood" (onions, mushrooms, mayo, cheese), "The Chili Burger" (Whitey's homemade chili and monterrey Jack cheese), and "The Czar" (roquefort dressing, Swiss cheese, onions, and mushrooms). Of course, you can also design your own burger.

3600 Brecksville Road
Richfield, Ohio 44286
330.659.3600

9. Bearden's -- This Rocky River eatery is a perennial burger favorite. In business since 1948, they feature a variety of tasty burgers including a bacon cheeseburger and one with peanut butter on it.

Bearden's
19985 Lake Road
Rocky River, Ohio 44116
(440) 331-7850

10. Swenson's -- Swenson's opened its first drive-in on Market St. in Akron in 1934. That location still exists as do six others in the Cleveland/Akron area.

Swenson's grinds their own burger meat and uses a "secret" family recipe to make their burgers. The result is delicious. Choose from the standard, double, or triple burger.

Do you have a favorite that's not on the list? If so, send me an email or post a message about it in the About.com Cleveland forum.

(updated 2-28-08)
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