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Battle - Burger Final Round - The Top 10 List

See bottom of page for scores from previous rounds.

#1 - Putters Tavern 4.58
#2 - Terry’s Turf Club 4.53
#3 - Tavern On The Bend 4.33
#4 - Gordo’s Pub 4.24
#4 - Oakley Pub & Grill 4.24
#5 - By Golly’s 4.21
#6 - Township Field’s & Tavern 4.08
#7 - Anderson Township Pub 3.97
#7 - Sammy’s Gourmet 3.97
#7 - Flip Daddy’s 3.97
#8 - Arthur’s 3.90
#9 - City View Tavern 3.75
#10 - Sammy’s Three Meat 3.70

We made certain this contest was fair. A true un-biased test of flavor and merit. We ordered burgers anonymously at random from the top 24 award winning burger joints . Our esteemed judges had no idea “who’s was who’s” (though guessing ran rampant). Our scores were based on 16 specific criteria. We only entered previous award winners form other Cincinnati Publications (except those who asked to be included). Our staff had zero influence on the scoring or outcome in any way. In our opinion, this is the bar none, most accurate, in depth, city wide burger competition ever undertaken in Cincinnati. It sounds fun, but brother, it was stressful and nearly grueling. For us, and the judges.
We have to thank Chef Paul Barraco and the restaurant gurus / Sommeliers Clay Mitchell and Hunter Thomas (the masterminds behind the award winning kitchen at 20 Brix) for taking the time & study and giving 100% into their scores . They made us proud with their attention to detail, scrutiny, patience, careful scoring and insightful comments on all six rounds. The judges on Master Chef could not have done better.
News anchor Rob Williams was scheduled to attend as a final round guest judge. Unfortunately, he was parking in the rear of 20 Brix when his BMW’s stick suddenly stuck in gear. He accidently hit the throttle and was savagely bolted backwards into a nearby fire hydrant. Climbing out stunned, the hydrant suddenly erupted sideways with such force it violently disrobed Rob from the waist down. He was last seen butt naked running (in dress shoes) towards Terrace Park, desperately trying to catch up to the Fox News van that had sped off moments before. We cheered him on as he disappeared over the bridge into the sunset. We never heard back from Rob but hope he made out ok in the end,
As you can see by the chart, self entered Putters Tavern pulled past Terry’s by a mere .05 of a point to take Terry’s name off our Best Burger list for 2013. I never thought I would see it happen. Then again, when it’s this close I think it’s safe to say they can both claim they serve the Best Burger in Cincy. They both smoked every other entry in both rounds.

Judges praised Putter’s ( top left) pretzel bunned mammoth burger with comments like; “Very Impressive... Beautiful inside and out... Awesome bun... Nice grill... It’s perfect... and... I want another!” Two of the three judges thought it was the best burger period after the first bite, even before it was scored. That’s impressive.

Terry’s (top right) threatened to steal the top spot in round 5 and came extremely close at the final. The only burger they knew when they saw it. Chef Paul described Terry’s as “Fantastically messy.... great grilled bun... great (meat) texture... excellent flavors.” My favorite remark was, “God! This thing is a mess to eat, but it has such a rich unctuous meaty flavor that’s hard to beat”. Putter’s and Terry’s came in either 1st or 2nd in both rounds 5 & 6. It was a complete toss up as to who would nudge past the other but we knew it would be one of the two after the incredible scores in round 5.

Tavern on the Bend, this self entry wowed judges as well. “The only burger I gave a perfect score (for toppings)... deceivingly delicious... and.. the only entry to receive two 5 stars”.
The Tavern has Langen Meat custom blend their meat and their dedication to quality shines bright. You should try their veggie burger! Best in the city (says me).

Gordo’s showed solid overall even though one judge commented “Meat a bit under-whelming” on the final round. Good quality on everything else saved them.

Oakley Pub stayed strong thanks to; “Juicy Juicy Juicy” and “great seasoning and meat blend”... A super solid burger offering”. All their food is stellar.

By Golly’s rounded out the top five in fine form. “Best sauce in competition... taste so much better than it looks... brilliant combo of flavors”. And that’s just the “By Golly Burger!” They have 15 others.

Township Field’s & Tavern was another self-entry to stand strong against the top award winners in the city. Chef Paul liked it so much from round 5, he actually went there for the first time just to eat another! Who else can say that?

ATP showed excellent in round 5 with a tasty burger topped with a tomato that had the judges envious. In round 6 the tomato was greener and the patty was over-cooked. See how good ingredients can make or break you? They still pulled off a respectable #7.

Sammy’s Gourmet had the judges salivating over their sauce. It was good enough to keep them well into the top 10. That and overall quality.
Flip Daddy’s showed well, especially the pickles and presentation. “Great pickles... nice bun... fresh toppings”.

Arthur’s fared well due to great flavors that “Pronounce themselves” (among other good things).

City View hung in there but suffered lower scores in round 6 due to “Way to much black pepper!”... “Too much pepper” and “Black Pepper!!. This is why cooks shouldn’t have shift drinks during shifts.

Sammy’s Three Meat managed to slip into the top 10 (thanks to four ties). Their burger did have merit though, “Excellent meat texture & flavor”... Zippy sauce, very nice”. It just wasn’t enough to push past the others in either round. But it was enough to easily best 15 other award winner entries.

There it is folks. No flukes, no favorites, no one-hit-wonders. Six back to back rounds of head to head competition has proven that these top 10 burgers in the city did and will come in (somewhere) in the top ten over and over.
Over the past 6 months we’ve exhausted our gas tanks, our calculators and our credit card. Not to mention red lining the cholesterol levels and irreparably bloating the bellies of our kind judges, just so we could show our readers who truly has the best burgers in town. Many claim it, but if they aren’t on this list, I have serious doubts they are telling the truth.
Truth is, all the names on the list are Best in their own right. They triumphed in not just one, but two rounds serious scoring and still stood out far above all other award winning burgers in the city. Eating at any of these fine restaurants is bound to be a damn good burger experience. Expecting an award winning burger anywhere else is, well, a waste of time & money.

Round 5 - The Scores
View round 4 article

#7 Taphouse Grill 3.71

#6 Doris & Sonny’s 3.72
#5 Sammy’s Gourmet 3.96
#4 Gordo’s Pub & Grill 4.42
#3 Tavern On The Bend 4.55
#2 Terry’s Turf Club 4.57
#1 Putter’s Tavern 4.82

Round 4 - The Scores
View round 4 article

#7 The Varsity- 3.41
#6 Gabby's Cafe- 3.48
#5 Quatman Cafe- 3.51
#4 Oakley Pub & Grill- 4.26
#3 Anderson Township Pub- 4.35
#2 Township Fields & Tavern- 4.37
#1 By Golly's- 4.53

Round 3 - The Scores
View round 3 article

#5 Zip’s Cafe- Total score- 3.41
#4 Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace-Total score- 3.64
#3 Arthur’s-Total score- 3.75
#2 City View Tavern-Total score- 3.81
#1 Flipdaddy’s-Total score- 3.96

Round 2 - The Scores
View round 2 article

#3 Five Guys Burgers & Fries - Total score- 3.12
#2 Smashburger - Total score- 3.67
#1 Sammy’s Three Meat Burger - Total score- 3.75

Round 1 - The Scores
View round 1 article

#3- Mad Mike’s - Newport. Total score - 3.40
#2- 915 Pub - Ft. Thomas, Total score 3.59
#1- Sidebar - Covington. Total score 3.76