Heck’s Bar and Burgers

I had dinner with Five Dollar Beer last night. We went to Heck’s Cafe over on Bridge Avenue, because they apparently have the best burgers in town. The burgers were good, but if they are the best burgers in town then Cleveland sorely needs a really good burger joint. Something akin to CJ’s out of South Bend.

The place itself has that utterly unassuming look from the outside that tends to characterize most good burger places. Upon entering I was greeted by a hand-stitched sampler informing me that I would be seated in a moment. That was cool. It was kind of weird to see the bar full of wine right behind it though. “Wine and burgers?” I thought. We were seated by a waiter in black pants and a white shirt, in a naturally lit atrium with a spiral staircase and plant-life everywhere. The napkins were cloth. This is a burger place?

We ordered rather quickly. I ordered the Rocky River burger [swiss cheese, bacon, sour cream, mushrooms] with Cajun fries and a chocolate milkshake with the meal. It arrived about ten minutes later [to me it felt like ten hours because I was hungry], we chowed down, paid, and left.

On the way home we discussed the place. I wasn’t impressed by their burgers, they were good but not amazing. We did a bit of math and determined that the burgers are about $5.50 bucks apiece and the fries [which were really really good] are about $3.00. So for a five dollar hamburger the quality was acceptable.

The hamburger patty was about a half-inch thick and didn’t take up the whole bun. I had about three bites of bun leftover when all the meat was gone. I was also a bit disappointed in their burger selection, I’d like more variety. Heck’s doesn’t live up to the hype, it seems like it was trying to be more upscale [but with less character] than it needed to be [individual ketchup bottles?].

There has to be some place in Cleveland where I can get a 10oz hamburger with tons of different fixins, the condiments on the table, a pitcher of beer, loud music, a perfucntory wait staff, and a grill god in the kitchen. Anybody know of one?

Plain Dealer Review

8 thoughts on “Heck’s Bar and Burgers

  1. I have to agree with Adam. Though the burger (I got a Rogue Burger – served with bacon and topped with Roquefort cheese) was certainly *good*, I found it hard to believe that, as a large handful of signs and awards told us, upon entering, that they were the “Best Burgers in Cleveland” and my medium was a hair away from being a “well” (try as I might, I only saw the very slightest of red in the center). But, they were priced well (I thought), the ambiance was pretty good, though I was a bit disappointed to be led through the area with the gorgeous oak booths to the back area, with plastic tables and, again, the burgers were certainly not bad, just not “the best I’d ever had in Cleveland”

    I do disagree with one aspect of the PD review linked to though. I found the sanitation of the place to be very good. The kitchen was open (i.e. visible to guests) and, passing by it, I found it to be very clean and organized. The waiter was attentive, but not too overbearing and I never felt like the cleanliness wasn’t up to snuff.

  2. thanks for activating me, adam. hee hee. yeah, i have to admit, for a vegetarian living in ohio, i spent a rather inordinate amount of time reading about burgers in texas.

  3. To be fair, I live just around the corner and eat at Hecks with some frequency. They have tended to be really hit or miss lately. When I first went, the burger was amazing – huge and well proportioned to the bun, cooked a perfect medium rare, etc. etc. Lately though, it’s been letting me down a bit. The crabcakes are typically really yummy, high crab percentage, crispy outside, moist inside…but I went there for my birthday and they were just soggy and greasy.

    The best burger I’ve had in Cleveland was actually a slider I had over at the Velvet Tango Room at one of their clambakes…not really an everyday option though. So, if you find a good burger place, please let us all know!!

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