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You say you’re really into burgers? Oh, is that right? Are you saying you often order burgers, or really like to grill out in the summertime, or are you saying that there is no price too high, no trip too far when it comes to experiencing every single variation of this American staple there is to [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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You say you’re really into burgers? Oh, is that right?

Are you saying you often order burgers, or really like to grill out in the summertime, or are you saying that there is no price too high, no trip too far when it comes to experiencing every single variation of this American staple there is to be had?

Stock & Barrel writers fall into the latter category, which is why we’ve compiled a little road map that starts at your gut and ends in small Ohio towns, where, isolated from the big city trends, grillmasters spend their time doing one thing and doing the hell out of it:

Crabill’s Hamburgers 727 Miami St., Urbana

Logic should dictate that if a burger is good enough, one should be willing to travel in order to experience said burger. Which is why Urbana is still close enough to Columbus to make it worth trying one of Ohio’s best patties. For generations, existing in one form or another since 1927, Crabill’s Hamburgers has been the centerpiece of the small Ohio town. That’s not even including the Mumford Potato Chip Company, which has been making the most delectable kettle cooked chips in the country since 1932 – which, by the way, are the only extras you get at Crabill’s besides home-baked pie. Oh, and they’ve just added ketchup in 1990.

It’s that commitment to tradition that breeds loyalty, for example the chap behind me in line who plopped down and ordered 12 doubles…to start. Crabill’s is simple – an eight-seat counter with a grill directly to the left of that and barely enough room to order if the place was at capacity. No plates or cutlery, just a piece of wax paper and some napkins. You have your choice of a single or double – with or without the customary onions and brown mustard. It’s the essence of a perfect burger – no frills and no gimmicks – and can challenge anything in the state.

Kewpee Hamburgers 111 N Elizabeth St., Lima

Kewpee has all the essential qualities of an old-school burger joint – perhaps because it defined those qualities. Said to be Dave Thomas’s inspiration for Wendy’s, Kewpee and founder Samuel V. Bair were also the first to introduce curbside service, which eventually morphed into the modern day drive-thru. So pairing the food with such history – lots of chrome and kitsch, an impeccable logo/mascot, a compact, steaming, visible kitchen, swinging doors, huge malts – makes for a priceless Midwestern experience. Maybe it’s the character of the place, or perhaps the tang of the Miracle Whip that gives the burger a distinct sweeter flavor, but Kewpee’s offering is a classic. They were the first to use a flat bun, the first to offer the “deluxe” burger (wit’ tomato, lettuce, onions, cheese), and it shows. The “mity nice hamburger,” which “caters to all folks,” is the blueprint for burgers across the Midwest. In a city that has seen better days, the three Kewpee’s outposts (including the original downtown location) still remain thriving businesses. We can see why, and if you’ve got the gas and the gumption, you’ll see, too.

Hamburger Wagon 10 E Central Ave., Miamisburg

Steps from the banks of the Great Miami River sits a tiny beacon for all of humanity to enjoy. That the Hamburger Wagon – which is just that, a mobile wagon with barely enough room for two burger chefs – still survives, seven days a week, rain or shine or sleet, is yet another testament to the quality that exists inside these little wonders. It began in 1913 after the flood of the Great Miami and Miamisburg as sustenance for a camp of survivors, and it remains, recipe untouched, in the small center of town. Quite easy to miss. They serve nothing else – just singles and doubles, save for some bags of chips and a cooler of soda. These are sliders in the best sense, served with nothing but pickles and onions, no abundance of ketchup or mustard to get in the way of the taste.

What is superior about the Hamburger Wagon’s deliciousness is the absence of slop, and the fact that the burgers are lightly fried in a pan of grease that may or may not have been handed down for generations. It’s a nice and easy assembly line from pan to bun, ready to go. Even a handy chart pricing multiple burgers makes the transaction smooth, since you’ll need to know how much 10 or so are. The fry gives it a crunchy texture unlike any other burger I’ve tried to date. It’s a blissful little crust, lightly salted and peppered, with no indication these are overcooked. Hamburger Heaven.

 

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Food & Drink

You’ll like Buckeye Donut’s newest treat a la lot

614now

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Columbus’ favorite donut shop will be rolling out [literally] a brand new treat just in time for the annual Columbus Food Truck Festival.

We think you’ll like it a la lot.

Ice cream and donuts will converge in perfect harmony for Buckeye Donuts Apple Fritter A La Mode! That’s right, a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream will rest on top of the fan favorite sweet and fruity fried pastry, all drizzled in sticky caramel. You might need a napkin (or sleeve) for this one.

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This special goodie will be available Friday and Saturday from 11:00 AM- 11:00 PM only at the Columbus Food Truck Festival on the Scioto Mile.

Click here for our advise about how to optimize your experience at the foodie fest.

BEHOLD! The newest member of the Buckeye Donuts Family: Apple Fritter A La Mode! 🍩🍦Get your hands on this bad boy…

Posted by Buckeye Donuts on Thursday, August 15, 2019
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Food & Drink

Rossi or Ratssi? Rodents force closure at Short North restaurant

614now

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Someone is getting assigned to some “Charlie Work” after The Rossi Bar and Kitchen was served a red sticker by the Columbus Public Health Department.

The Short North restaurants was issued an emergency order yesterday because of “rodent activity in the basement prep area.” Reportedly, inspectors discovered dead rats in traps and excessive rat feces in the bowels of the 895 N. High St. building.

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Rossi will remain closed until the facility is cleaned, holes in the basement are repaired, and the rats are under control, according to a post from Tom Sussi, a local licensed and insured Private Investigator.

Sussi added that sources informed him that employees are not being paid on time.

Rats!The rodents forced a popular Short North restaurant to shut its doors.The Columbus Public Health Department…

Posted by Tom Sussi on Thursday, August 15, 2019

In an Instagram post, Rossi announced it’d be closed “for the next few days due to emergency repair.”

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Food & Drink

Fried, Smothered, & Loaded: Vegetarian Junk Food

Mitch Hooper

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Whenever the words “vegetarian” or “vegan” are thrown around, people’s defense walls go up as they instantly imagine bland salads or unseasoned tofu. Since both diets have become wildly popular trends in the world of eating, they are often associated with exclusive, healthy, clean, natural, raw, whatever…eating.

As a vegetarian, I’m here to tell you that’s bullshit. Sure, we vegetarians eat our share of salads, and occasionally tofu is substituted for chicken on our health-conscious dishes, but that’s not the full picture of our plates. Whether it’s loading up on carb-heavy sides, covering things in cheese (or vegan “cheese”), or living off the appetizer menu; living a plant-based diet can be just as much fun and games as any other fare – and here are a few dishes from around Columbus to prove it.

AM Philly

Angry Baker Olde Towne East | 891 Oak St.

Angry Baker has found a way to cover things in cheese and still please the vegans. The AM Philly comes loaded with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers with tofu scramble atop a fresh and soft hoagie bun. To keep it in true “cheese/steak” form, they top the entire masterpiece with vegan cheddar cheese and a little vegan mayo. The sandwich is every bit as flavorful as a regular Philly, plus it’s just as messy to eat. I recommend a few squirts of Sriracha on it, but then again, I recommend that on everything

Buffalo Mac

Woodhouse Vegan Pop-up | 1038 N High St.

Keeping it cheesy, but plant-based, comes from the vegan pop-up at Oddfellows with the Buffalo Mac. The entree is relatively simple, but that just means more chances to really focus on flavor. The Beyond Meat “chicken” strips are marinated in buffalo sauce to really pack a punch and then is topped with more buffalo sauce and dairy-free ranch dressing with a bed of dairy-free mac and “cheese” to dig into. It’s finished off with some raw red onion and scallions to fully recreate that buffalo-style experience. Keep an eye out for Woodhouse’s first brick-and-mortar location setting up shop in the Italian Village.

Fried Cauliflower 

Hadley’s Bar + Kitchen | 260 S Fourth St.

Cauliflower is the new favorite vegetable amongst dieters for being low-carb. It’s inviting to a variety of flavors, and it can be used in many creative ways. At Hadley’s, the fried cauliflower resembles the bar-style boneless wings you might be craving since ditching meat. It’s the little things you miss as a plant-eater (like dipping sauces). So finding a place that offers three different sauce options—Dr. Pepper barbeque, house hot, and General Tso’s—is quite a gratifying moment. Dunk these addicting suckers into Hadley’s house-made ranch or bleu cheese and you’ll be fighting your carnivorous friends off as they ask to try a bite.

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Parma, Italy

Melt | 4206 Worth Ave. & 840 N High St.

Usually Melt’s sheer amount of dairy usage is enough to scare off any vegan within a 10-mile radius, but that all changed once Melt added an entire menu dedicated to vegan options. There are tons of options to choose from, but the Parma, Italy might take the caloric crown when it comes to plant-based indulgence. The sandwich features vegan chicken (or fried tofu) smothered in basil marinara with roasted garlic and vegan mozzarella cheese all in between two crusty pieces of garlic toast. It might not hurt to park a little further away from Melt just to burn a few extra calories on the way to and from devouring way too much food. 

The Joe Vegan Sloppy Sandwich

Lineage Brewing | 2971 N High St.

“Have some more sloppy joes! I made ‘em extra sloppy for you!” If that scene from Billy Madison still haunts you any time you go to break out some Manwich from the cupboard, put that canned sauce down and go to Lineage. Immediately order a beer to wash away the memory of the lunch lady, and then snag the Joe Vegan sloppy sandwich off the menu. It’s a hearty combination of lentils and kidney beans in the iconic sloppy joe sauce, and it’s topped with raw onion and your choice of vegan cheese sauce or cheddar cheese. Throw in a side of potato chips and it’s like being a teenager all over again except this time you didn’t have to steal your dad’s beer.

Vegan Barbeque Jackfruit

Alchemy | 625 Parsons Ave. 

& 1439 Grandview Ave. 

Jackfruit is a delicate fruit that tastes almost nothing like fruit. It’s a great vessel for sauces and flavorings, but if it’s not cooked properly, it can turn into a mushy mess. Thankfully, Alchemy has perfected this process with their vegan take on a classic barbeque pulled pork sandwich. The jackfruit is tender, but stays in form on the roll. For added texture and taste, the sandwich is served on a crunchy ciabatta roll with carrot cabbage slaw in an herbed cashew cream.

Brussel Sprouts

Barrel On High | 1120 N High St.

Don’t turn your nose up on Brussel sprouts, these green brain-looking vegetables are great for absorbing flavor and they have that “meaty” taste. At Barrel on High, these Brussels are oven-roasted and tossed into a Thai chili sauce making them potentially your new favorite thing. While the Thai chili brussel sprouts are worth tripling up on and calling it a dinner, might I point you in the direction of the Impossible Burger as well. The Impossible Burger has grown to fame because it resembles every aspect of meat while remaining plant-based, and Barrel’s straight-up approach of making an American classic go vegan will have you double checking the menu to make sure it’s not actually beef.

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