Skip’s Guide to the Best Burgers in Columbus, Ohio

TAGS: foodie, Columbus Ohio, burgers, cheat meal, Just Sayin', Skip Hill, arnold

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If you weren’t aware prior to reading this article, I am a gastronome, epicure, and an admitted hedonist – or a “foodie” if you will, to you plebeians.  I don’t just eat food and enjoy food, I find good food to be not just a hobby but a mission, in a sense, to find the best food available with a special focus on breakfasts and burgers.  When I travel, I do my research because average food bores me.

I am headed to Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold in a couple of weeks and the meathead-clan usually gather throughout the weekend at a place where massive, messy burgers are thrown together and destroyed by guys with testosterone levels higher than the contamination level at Chernobyl.  Apparently, this place is said to have the best burgers in the area.  I don’t know if this is true or not because I haven’t been there before; what I do know is that bodybuilders don’t usually know shit about good food.


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A bodybuilder typically goes long periods of time either restricting calories to get leaner or pushing a lot of food to get bigger, but either way, their diets are typically highly structured and redundant; the food is bland, dry and boring.  Anyone who spends any amount of time eating like this is the same type of person that when they go off of their diet plan, thinks that whatever they just ate as a “cheat meal” is the best food they have ever eaten in their lives.

How many times have you heard bodybuilders say that In and Out is the best burger they have ever had?  If 5 Guys or In and Out is the best burger you have ever had, you have a weak burger game; you haven’t had enough burgers in your life or you would have a better answer than that.  A Foodie has sampled a broad array of burgers and has the experience to compare burgers over a long period of time.  A bodybuilder, on the other hand, is just starving.  I have always said that if you get fat eating Burger King, you’re just an uncultured slob.  If you get fat eating burgers with duck confit or foie gras, you’re my kind of fat, but I digress.

So, my dilemma here is I can go to Thurman’s over the Arnold weekend and do the bodybuilding meathead thing, bumping into people that I haven’t met in person and doing some photo ops for social media, or I can go with my own research and have one of the best gourmet burgers in the area in a quiet, less chaotic setting with people who can speak about things other than how much they benched yesterday and how they flavor their oatmeal and egg whites every morning.  I think you know which way I am leaning here.

You might be wondering, “What does your foodie research consist of, Skip?”

Glad you asked.

Yelp is useless, in my opinion.  This is a platform for everyday people to go on a rant about a bad experience they had when a waiter told them they didn’t have a vegetarian burger on the menu, or to rave about food that they ate while they were drunk at 1 am and hadn’t eaten a solid food meal (alcohol doesn’t count, see my previous article about drunk boaters) in almost 12 hours.  At that point, Taco Bell would taste good.  You have to use a more unbiased source to find foodie options.  My favorite is to google something like “best burgers in XXXX” and then pass by the links to TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc., and find a local newspaper article.  Almost every major city will have done articles with a list of “best burgers in town,” or “best breakfast/brunch in town,” etc.  These resources are typically quite unbiased and will provide much more detail as to why the author chose the places he/she did.  Plus, you will usually get a recommendation from the author as to which burger or what menu items they recommend and the author of these articles usually has a strong background in food and is likely a foodie, themselves.

Even after doing research, I don’t always get it right.  However, I have found that even if a place misses the mark with me, it is still pretty damn good and rarely a disappointment.  On the other hand, most of the recommendations I have ever received from bodybuilders have been way off the mark.  I do not take advice from bodybuilders about most things.

Here is a list of the things I do believe bodybuilders are good at recommending:

  • Best colors for Affliction t-shirts
  • Best brand of douchey jeans
  • Otomix colors
  • Fanny Packs (yes, it has come full circle)
  • Swinger Clubs
  • Best plastic containers and shaker cups
  • Best way of getting out of paying child support

What bodybuilders are not good at recommending:

  • How to parent with the child being more important than you
  • How to have a credit score higher than 550
  • Food other than what is sold at Costco
  • Retirement plans/long term investing (other than bitcoin, of course)
  • Reasons why sleeping with your clients isn’t a good idea
  • Burger recommendations

I will be having some damn good food in Columbus.  If you want to do the meathead thing and be seen with the Arnold crowd of air-lats and extra-medium shirts, you can hang out and enjoy mediocre food with them; I get it.  If you care more about eating really good food and not as much about the crowd and being seen, here are my top-3 alternatives in no particular order:

Rockmill Tavern (Rockmill Tavern Burger)

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Grandview Café (GC Burger)

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O’Reilly’s Pub (Black Pepper Burger)

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Plus, let’s be honest here:  If you want to be noticed or stand out from the crowd, it isn’t likely to happen in a restaurant full of meatheads.  Go to a gastropub where the typical guy weighs 160 pounds and is wearing skinny jeans and you will look HYOOGE!

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