The historic restaurant, Arnold’s Bar and Grill in Downtown Cincinnati is known for being the oldest bar in town but that’s not all they’re known for! For over a hundred years this special establishment has been a gathering place for creatives of all kinds! Not only can you see live music by local musicians every night in their beautiful courtyard but you will find yourself meeting poets, writers, musicians, actors, dancers, performers, and artists of all kinds enjoying themselves while sharing stories of their experiences at Arnold’s. One of the many highlights to this space is the collection of art that they have on the inside and outside of the building. From the 1800’s to now you’re sure to discover new things with each and every visit!
Before heading in, take a minute to admire the architecture, stained-glass, and the impressive neon signs that are displayed in the windows! They recently added new ones that were made by, Neonworks of Cincinnati which is located in the fabulous American Sign Museum!
Another cool feature about the outside of the building is that one of the world’s most well-known street artists, Shepard Fairey has a large piece on the wall in the alley to the right! The piece, “Global Warning” is 15 feet tall and was part of his “Supply and Demand” exhibition at the Contemporary Art Center in 2010. Fairy put up several other pieces throughout the city that year but Arnold’s is one of the only places where you can still see his artwork in public in Cincinnati and they take great pride in continuing to preserve his incredible screen-printed wheatpaste mural.
As soon as you step inside you can’t help but to be mesmerized by the ambiance and aesthetic of this place! The bar features historic nostalgia all over the walls that helps your imagination envision what it was like throughout time. Everywhere you turn you will find something interesting and even quirky little details that will make you smile! Behind the bar on the top shelf are five ceramic bottles that you don’t want to pass up taking a look at! These interesting pieces of pottery depict faces of people but it’s a mystery as to who they are. A fun game the bartends like to play with the patrons is guessing who they might be, so next time you’re there make your bets on who you think they are! The artist, Scott Wynn created them, as well as the amazing carved double doors that lead you in and out of the courtyard that the former owner, Jim Tarbell commissioned.
The courtyard itself is a work of art with its unique stage that looks like a front porch and features a variety of vintage signs. On one of the walls you can find a second wheatpaste mural by another popular street artist, JR. This piece is of waitresses that worked at Arnolds in the 1930’s and the original photograph to compare it to is inside the dining room! https://www.jr-art.net
Adjacent to it is another wall piece that was also created by a famous graffiti artist! This piece is of local legend Peanut Jim and was made by Alexandre Manuel Dias Farto, also known as Vhils.
Chris Breeden, the current owner is a huge advocate for art and continues to support creatives from all over by showcasing their work in his business. He has kept the art scene alive through this revitalization of incorporating art into the experience of what Arnold’s has to offer! So keep going back to see what he collaborates on and curates next!
Drumroll, please! We’ve rounded out a list of the best burgers in and around Florence, Ky., and are certain it will keep you full for a few meals!
It’s a quiet, hole-in-the-wall establishment located in a shopping strip, but don’t let that fool you. Repertoire is arguably one of the best new restaurants to open in NKY in recent years and their burgers are no different. Pictured above is their shrimp burger, which is simply amazing–read my full experience here.
They also have a “Miracle Burger” complete with bone marrow aioli, short rib marmalade, and crispy chicken skin. The Brunch Burger has avocado, bacon, cheddar, and a fried egg with chipotle aioli and served between two Belgian waffle quarters. YUM! Add Repertoire to you list right now–you won’t regret it!
Nothing says brunch quite like a Morning Glory Burger from Drake’s: pepper jack cheese, fried egg, bacon, fire-roasted salsa and fresh cut toppings. With 12 different burger options on the menu, you’re sure to find a favorite.
My personal pick is their mini cheeseburgers, but I can’t decide if I like the crinkle-cut fries or tater tots better–both delicious and served piping hot! Their menu also includes a great sushi selection, steaks, sandwiches, and appetizers. Wash it all down with a cocktail or your favorite beer.
We know Barleycorn’s has been a local favorite for years and most locals have their favorite repeat order… but y’all, Barleycorn’s has a new Cincy Grippo Burger. When it comes to Grippo’s, it’s one of those IYKYK things where some visitors may not be familiar, but Grippo’s are the Cincy region’s coveted BBQ chips that are covered in amazing spices and can leave your mouth burning for more.
The new burger is a half-pound seasoned burger topped with homemade bleu cheese dressing (to cool down the heat mentioned above) and crumbles of Cincinnati’s famous BBQ Grippo’s chips. If your mouth isn’t watering, there are also tons of other delicious options on the Barleycorn’s menu!
859 Taproom & Grill
The burgers at 859 Taproom & Grill are made with fresh, never frozen Kentucky-raised Wagyu beef. And I must mention that they pair perfectly with any of their more than 30 beers on tap!
If you aren’t into burgers, their menu includes plenty of other options including tacos, wings, and shareables. Daily specials, pint nights, happy hour, and their focus on local and regional breweries make this bar and restaurant a local favorite.
This place is a well-kept secret and a hidden gem with a menu including BLTs, Philly stuffed potatoes, chili cheese fries, and amazing desserts.
Although technically located in Union (and attached to/inside a Kroger store), Kitchen 1883 has one of the best burgers around. Pictured is their Mushroom Swiss burger with grilled mushrooms, garlic aioli, Swiss cheese, crispy onion straws on a toasted brioche bun and pickles on the side. Catch it on burger & beer night and you can add a Braxton brew for only $2!
If you’ve never been to Kitchen 1883, definitely explore the menu a bit. Such incredible dishes are coming out of this unsuspecting location. We will be back!
Farmstand Market & Cafe
We know, it’s located in Union, not Florence, but gosh, their burgers are so good, it’s worth the drive. According to one google review, Farmstand Market & Cafe serves the “Best burger I’ve ever had in my life. No exaggeration.”
The menu includes five different burger options, including a Beyond Burger choice for those staying away from red meat but still want the deliciousness of a juicy burger. If you go, splurge for The Local Love Burger, their James Beard Foundation entry of a blended burger. It’s grass-fed beef blended with local shitake and oyster mushrooms and Ed Mar Dairy’s smoked gouda inside the burger. Then it’s topped with more smoked gouda, caramelized onions, and sauteed mushrooms and microgreens. You won’t regret it!
Lucky Duck Pub
Okay, technically this one’s is in Burlington, but again–a good burger is worth it! Pictured is their southwest burger, add egg. And yes, those chips are as good as they look!
The menu is huge and the spirits are great at Lucky Duck. We’re sad to see their Taylor Mill location have to close due to Covid, so we hope everyone will support the Burlington location even more. If you’re not into burgers, I’d recommend the nachos–finger lickin’ good.
Mad Mike’s Burgers and Fries
Mad Mike’s prides themselves on the toppings. With the selection, they say you can customize your burger in millions of ways. I’m a purist when it comes to burgers, so I haven’t tried all the wild toppings, but their burgers are delicious. If you’re looking for a huge burger, this is your place! They’re home of the Goliath burger, which has two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns and includes bacon, barbecue sauce, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and Angus beef.
For those in your party who aren’t in the mood for a burger, there are also lots of other options on the menu, including gyros, grilled cheese, BLT, pork tenderloin, hot dogs, and cod.
If you’re looking for some live music, a neighborhood bar, and a great burger, Muggbee’s is a great choice.
Also known for their wings, coneys, and excellent drink selection, Muggbee’s is a great local secret and has an excellent patio.
Another strip-mall hidden gem, Hebron Grille serves up delicious burgers among other Southern favorites. And those sidewinder French fries are the perfect complement, but they also have the largest baked potatoes I’ve ever seen!
If you’re getting tired of burgers by this point, you may want to opt for their other favorites including alligator tacos, a blackened catfish po boy, salmon BLT, Kickin’ Chicken buffalo chicken sandwich, porkchops, seafood, or pasta bowl. Don’t forget their delicious desserts, including apple crisp, bread pudding, or cinnamon sugar pretzel bites.
If you haven’t been to Bellevue or Ft. Thomas lately, you’re in for a treat. Fairfield Avenue is bursting with new restaurants and quaint taverns and bars, a brewery with food truck, and so many unique shops. It’s close to Newport on the Levee and you could spend an entire day here checking everything out! Ft. Thomas is equally charming with an ice cream parlor and several quaint eateries to enjoy outdoor dining. But back to the burgers…
The Elusive Cow
We were impressed with the selection of burgers at The Elusive Cow! Their menu states that their meats come from local farmers in Brown and Adams Counties in Ohio and Oldham County in Kentucky. The fresh ingredients are accompanied by a plethora of delicious breads, cheeses, toppings to add to any burger, which can be ordered as beef, turkey, or bison meat. Yum!
But if you aren’t into burgers, don’t let that deter you. Elusive Cow has tons of other options including salads, homemade soups, sandwiches, entrees, etc. I also noticed several vegan and gluten-free options on the menu. Did I mention that their ketchup is home-made? Check out my blog of the full experience here.
Fessler’s Legendary Pizza & Hoagies
Before you try to challenge us and say that hoagies are not burgers, we know. And luckily, Fessler’s has both on their menu… and they’re finger-licking good!
Burgers on the menu include hamburger, cheeseburger, deluxe versions of either, or a pizza burger, any of which can be substituted for a plant-based beyond burger. Don’t forget the fries–they’re equally delicious! Read about my full experience here.
The burger selection at Midway Cafe is so large that it has a “continued” section on another page of the menu! All of their burgers are supplied by Eberts Meats in Newport, so you can support two local businesses at the same time. The burger options span everything from classic to The Fort (onion rings, cheddar, BBQ), to The Cincy Pig (bacon, ham, goetta on a burger and topped with pepper jack cheese and BBQ) and other options in between, including a veggie burger.
If someone in your party isn’t interested in a burger, their menu also includes several other options including salads, their locally famous wings, wraps, and great appetizers. Don’t forget to also check out their excellent bourbon selection!
Don’t let the name of this place fool you. Avenue Brew is so much more than just brew! They have four different burgers on their menu, the most notable being the Matt & Bree burger, which is a burger, bacon, over easy egg, cheddar, onion, and spicy mustard. It’s a mouth full!
Much like the other restaurants on this list, Avenue Brew has a huge menu to accompany the burgers, including hoagies and wraps, paninis, cold cut and chicken salad sandwiches (including a cajun and curry variety), and more. There’s also a plethora of sides to choose from–cole slaw, cottage cheese, apple sauce, chips, pretzels, pasta salad, chips & salsa, potato wedges, mac & cheese, and a house salad. If that’s not enough for you, be sure to check out their breakfast menu–it’s served all day!
This restaurant is located in Dayton, Ky., right down the road from Bellevue. The photo above showcases their Hometown Double with Bacon–if your mouth isn’t watering we don’t know what’s wrong with you.
It’s quite literally a hole in the wall and if you’re driving too quick you might miss it. But take our advice, and don’t. The prices are very reasonable, they have great wings, and a great beer selection. The menu also has several appetizers (ooey gooey fries anyone?), eight burger options, including a goetta burger, a full page of other sandwiches, and dreamy desserts, such as funnel fries, raspberry vanilla sopapillas, or ice cream sundaes.
915 Pub & Grill
Located in Ft. Thomas near the aforementioned Midway Cafe, 915 Pub & Grill is a laid back neighborhood sports bar with live music and trivia nights.
With a menu full of appetizers, salads, and pizza options, there’s truly something for everyone. So grab your favorite trivia buddy and show up hungry!
Earlier in the post we mentioned the brewery with food truck located in Bellevue–we were talking about Darkness Brewing. Such a cool hangout spot! The food truck menu may change, but right now they have an excellent selection of burgers, plus tacos, cauliflower bites, grilled cheese, and more–including brunch!
And all of this is in addition to their amazing beer selection, which started from an at-home brewing operation. You’ve got to check it out!
A USDA prime burger with choice of cheese and served on a house-made roll… the burger at Colonel’s Kitchen melts in your mouth!
The restaurant focuses on scratch made food and regional favorites, and the passion they have for their cooking is evident in the open-kitchen concept where the chef delivers your food to you when it’s ready. The restaurant is guided by the legacy of the late Colonel De, and his wife continues to operate as the go-to place for spices, herbs, and special blends.
You may be still salivating over our list of the Top 10 Burgers in Covington, we thought it was time to publish the list for Newport in case you’ve eaten through the Cov list already! And we thought Covington was bursting with amazing burger options, but man, we couldn’t keep the Newport list to only 10… it has 12 amazing options to enjoy, and several at locations that you wouldn’t think of as a burger joint.
Mokka and the Sunset Bar & Grill
While it’s hard not to order French Toast or one of the other delicious options when you visit Mokka, their burgers are worth it. Next time you’re at Newport on the Levee, take the short stroll up Monmouth Street and try it out!
They have an All-American option dressed with cheese, fried pickles, and spicy ranch sauce, or you can opt for a chipotle black bean burger or salmon burger if you want a vegetarian or meatless option. Don’t forget the waffle or sweet potato fries–both delicious!
York Street Cafe
From the moment you walk into York Street Cafe, you’ll feel like you’ve been taken back to grandma’s house. From the decor to the cooking, the entire place is an experience–in a good way! When I asked the waitress what she recommended, she immediately told me about their burgers being made from meat that gets delivered daily from Ebert’s Meat Market down the street.
Served with fresh garden condiments and a side of chips, the burger was very tender and cooked just the way I like it. I’d order it again! But the next course definitely stole the show… dessert. Read about my full experience here.
O’Bryon’s Bar & Grill
Whether you like American, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Provolone or crumbled Bleu Cheese, O’Bryon’s has you covered!
In the heart of Newport, this comfortable neighborhood pub is known for their chicken wings, but the burger is a great option too! They also offer a black bean burger option and a plethora of add-ons, including a fried egg, wing sauce, fried jalapenos, onion ring, and more. Yum!
We know, Pompilio’s is the quintessential home of pasta. And even though many people may have overlooked it in the past, their burger is just as delicious as their meatballs.
In a small corner section of the menu labeled specialty sandwiches, the Pomp Burger is listed, served with fries. It’s the perfect option for a diner that is avoiding pasta for whatever reason. Plus, you can enjoy the historic setting from the movie Rainman, or play a round of Bocce Ball on their patio.
Mad Mike’s Burgers & Fries
They pride themselves on the toppings. With the selection, they say you can customize your burger in millions of ways. I’m a purist when it comes to burgers, so I haven’t tried all the wild toppings, but their burgers are delicious. If you’re looking for a huge burger, this is your place! They’re home of the Goliath burger, which has two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns and includes bacon, barbecue sauce, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and Angus beef.
For those in your party who aren’t in the mood for a burger, there are also lots of other options on the menu, including gyros, grilled cheese, BLT, pork tenderloin, hot dogs, and cod. Pro tip: Make sure you don’t overindulge on that Goliath burger so you can make the short walk back to Newport on the Levee or the nearby Hampton Inn & Suites.
Speaking of lots of toppings, Five Guys boasts 250,000 ways to order a burger. Located at Newport on the Levee, Five Guys uses fresh ground beef and no freezers at any of their locations.
The fresh-cut fries are fried in peanut oil and complement the burgers perfectly. It’s a great place to grab some quick grub while you’re at the Levee watching live music or indulging in some cocktails from The Bridgeview Box Park.
Pepper Pod Restaurant
Not only was it used in Zac Efron’s recent movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Pepper Pod Restaurant also serves a mean burger. Full disclosure, I haven’t yet eaten at this restaurant, but it is definitely on my list. According to the Instagram user who took the photo above, “you have to be from Newport to know about this (the burger pictured above).”
I think I believe him, but am glad for social media so that people like me who aren’t from Newport find out about these gems and give them the love they deserve. Can’t wait to try it!
Press on Monmouth
Many of you probably know Press on Monmouth by their great menu of pressed sandwiches and salads, gourmet soup, and pastries, but they also have a delicious burger! The burger is double stacked with American cheese, greens, secret sauce, and frizzled onions on a brioche bun. You have the option to add a fried egg and it comes served with fruit, fries, or crispy brussel sprouts.
See the background of this photo? If you follow that sidewalk, you’ll run right into Newport on the Levee, and the Hampton Inn & Suites Newport is also so close! When visiting the Levee, don’t be afraid to walk around Newport to discover the amazing local restaurants to add to your experience.
We know, you go to Hofbrauhaus for the pretzels, sausage, kraut, and bier… but don’t forget about their burger options!
The menu boasts several options including an American cheeseburger, smoke-haus burger, or the dunkel bourbon burger, which is grilled and topped with their homemade dunkel bourbon glaze, provolone, and smoked bacon–yum! There’s also a vegetarian burger option as well as a menu full of other German favorites. And, it’s located just across the street from Newport on the Levee!
Sis’s on Monmouth
Sis’ is a great place for three meals a day and late-night entertainment, so it should be no surprise that their burgers are great! The menu has seven different burger options, including the Brian Burger pictured above.
Served with fries and less than $10, every burger option at Sis’s is a great deal!
I just love how Newport’s Monmouth street is full of these quaint diners. Lana’s is another great option, serving a hamburger for just $3.95 or a double decker cheeseburger for only $4.25.
Their burgers are always hand-pattied and never frozen, so you’re going to get a nice juicy burger cooked the way you like it. But y’all, take my advice and save room for dessert–especially the strawberry pie or pineapple upside down cake!
Brothers Bar & Grill
Brothers is hands down the best place to grab a burger with a view. Situated at Newport on the Levee with a patio overlooking the Ohio River, Brothers is a great spot for sunset overlooking the Cincinnati skyline.
They have a huge menu, and the burgers don’t disappoint. The one pictured above is the Kalifornia Burger with pepper jack cheese and slices of fresh avocado, a spread of avocado aioli, shredded lettuce, and pico de gallo.
No matter how you like to eat your burger, Covington has several unique options that you must try. We’ve narrowed our list down to ten for the purposes of this blog, but look for more mouth-watering recommendations coming in the future!
Located in Mainstrasse Village, Cedar opened in the fall of 2020. Perfect timing, right?! Despite the unrelenting coronavirus pandemic, the secret is out–Cedar is incredible. They have tons of brunch options and delicious cocktails, so the burger may be easy to overlook on the menu… but don’t.
The Cedar Burger is a house-made 80/20 blend of ground beef & local goetta. If that’s not enough to entice you, it comes served with house-made bacon jam, arugula, green olive garlic aioli, an heirloom tomato, and served atop a Sixteen Bricks bun. Whether enjoyed on their awesome patio or inside, my mouth is watering reminiscing about how tasty this burger is! Read our full review of Cedar here.
I know, Wunderbar is traditionally a place to get German sausages and saurkraut washed down by great beer… but hear me out! I’m not a huge fan of German food despite my ancestry (gasp, I know!), so when I saw the burger on the menu, I knew it would be a safe bet, but kept my expectations low since I figured it wasn’t really their specialty.
I ordered the kuchenspule (kitchen sink) burger, complete with a pretzel bun, portabella mushrooms, bacon, and four types of cheeses. It was wonderful. The side of fresh-cut fries was tasty too–and you can’t go there without having a pretzel appetizer! Good news is that they’ve recently winterized their patio… and there are always picnic tables available inside!
Can’t mention burgers in Covington without adding Blinker’s Tavern to the list! Blinkers features burger Mondays, when they offer a burger with saratoga chips at lunch and fries at dinner for only $7.95. It’s a great deal, and to be honest, their burgers are so tasty that they’re my go-to order even when it’s not a Monday!
My favorite option is the bacon cheddar burger (and I ask for a side of their barbecue sauce for dipping both my burger and saratoga chips–yum!), but the other options include a salmon burger chipotle black bean burger, mushroom swiss burger, and the all-American Blinker Burger. Definitely a staple when it comes to burgers in Covington!
Bard’s Burgers & Chili
Bard’s has been featured on Food Network’s series Ginormous Food–and for good reason! They’re home of the Bardzilla Challenge–an 11-patty Bardzilla buger with 22 slices of cheese and two pounds of fries ($40) that’s free if you eat it all within an hour. Now that’s a lot of food… six pounds to be exact! However, due to Bard’s limited capacity and Bardzilla being from a high risk group, he is in a quarantined hibernation and won’t be available until the restaurant is able to open back up at 100 percent capacity.
But they have a regular menu, too, and it has tons of options–a full page of burgers and add-ons, a page of starters, chili, and sweets, and a page of drinks, including hard drinks, soft drinks, wine, beer, cider, and seltzer. The burgers are made from 1/3 pound fresh ground 80/20 beef seared to perfection, served on a toasted bun with premium condiments and add-ons available such as an assortment of cheeses, chili, fried egg, goetta, gravy, mushrooms, onions, and peppers.
No matter how you like your burger, the possibilities are endless at Bard’s! And don’t forget to try the flash-fried cheese curds that were also featured on the Food Network. We’d tend to agree with their tagline, “The dive that’s worth the drive.”
Coppin’s at Hotel Covington
Truth be told, I’ve never tasted anything from the Coppin’s menu that I didn’t like. But that burger though… it’s amazing. They start with Sakura Farms wagyu beef then add pepper jack, applewood bacon, chipotle aioli, fried string onions, and serve it on a house-made potato bun with garlic parsley fries on the side. Yum!
Enjoy it on the beautiful patio, in their classy dining room, or from The Walk Up window (check social media for updates, specials, and availability). You won’t be disappointed!
Bouquet Restaurant & Bar
Bouquet also features Sakura Farms waygu beef on their burger, which must be why we like it so much! It’s served topped with pimento cheese, sauerkraut, and melted onions atop a Sixteen Bricks brioche bun. It quite literally melts in your mouth.
Bouquet is small and has limited seating capacity right now, but they have carryout available, complete with online ordering.
Smoke Justis specializes in meats, so it’s no surprise that their burgers are delicious. The menu has a few variations to choose from, including the black bean burger and my personal favorite, the federal burger. It comes topped with the usual fixings and served with house barbecue sauce, which also doubles as a great dip for their hand-cut fries.
If you’re there on a weekend, you might get lucky enough to be entertained by live music. Check their event schedule here.
Herb & Thelma’s Tavern
Y’all this place is a true dive–you’d miss it if you weren’t looking for it–but aren’t those always the best kept secrets!? Herb & Thelma’s has been serving burgers in Covington fore more than 78 years, so you know they’re doing something right. Be sure to check their social media before you go because they’re family owned and operated, so they may be closed for things like a high school graduation.
Their menu is mainly burgers, but there are a few other options, such as hot dogs, a fish sandwich, and grilled cheese, sprinkled in. It’s nothing fancy, but true, good, home cooking. All menu prices include sales tax and it’s cash-only, so if you’re like me you’ll have to visit the ATM before you go. Or if you forget, they also have an ATM on site and food is definitely worth paying the ATM fees.
While they feature pizzas and deli-inspired sandwiches, The Gruff also has a delicious burger on the menu. It’s called The Gruff Boy and it’s prime angus beef, house made tartar, cheddar, arugula, and house made pickles on a brioche bun. Don’t forget the tater tots!
I also love their kid’s corner, which is a great, friendly way to keep the kids busy so the adults can enjoy a nice meal.
Last, but certainly not least, you’ve got to try the double prime burger from Otto’s. House blended beef, cheese, tomato jam, lettuce, onion, pickle, and remoulade… what’s not to love?!
And other than the amazing food that can be eaten at Otto’s, make sure you check out one of my favorite things about the restaurant: their salt and pepper shakers. Each table has a unique set and they’re all adorable!
Author: Rebecca Banks, Brand Identity Manager
Rebecca lives in Campbell County with her two sons and daughter. When she’s not managing meetNKY’s website or digital advertising needs, you can find her attending her kids’ sporting events and school functions or trying out the latest restaurants in NKY.