In a recent posting on The Greenhouse Tavern, I mentioned how utterly delicious the Ohio burger they have on their menu is. Truth be told, it is probably one of the most soul-satisfyingly delicious burgers I think I may have ever had. Questioning her long held belief on who had the best burger, an astute Akron blog reader of mine decided to clue me in on another one of Akron's many local legends with a burger history of it's own, Louie's Bar & Grille. Started in 1992, only one year later it won the Akron Beacon Journal's Best Burger award and beat out a large number of other incumbent burger institutions.
So it was with great enthusiasm that I went there tonight for dinner. I actually remember seeing this storefront before when driving down Tallmadge Avenue, but had never paid much attention to it. Isn't that always the way?
Here is the front of the restaurant:
Once inside, I sat down at a table and started to peruse the menu:
The menu has your standard pub type food. Wings, sandwiches, soups, salads, sides, and a couple of entrees. All of the menu items are available on their website so you can get a feeling for the items they offer on their menu as well as their prices. I started out by ordering one of my favorite brews, a pint of Guinness:
I'm not about to review the actual Guinness, other than to say that Louie's has a carbon dioxide tap and not the nitrogen variety. You can tell by the way the bubbles fall in the pint glass (they do with nitrogen). No big deal, it was still creamy and delicious. After I placed my order with my waitress, I took a couple of random photos. Here is the condiment basket on every table:
Interestingly in the back is a small laminated leaflet containing various advertisements. Definitely an effective way to get some additional attention for your business. After about fifteen minutes or so (it was pretty busy when I got there), my burger finally arrived. A bacon cheeseburger with fresh cut fries:
All of Louie's burgers are 1/2 pound and made from fresh ground meat, never frozen. The fries are also made from scratch. The burgers are cooked to medium well unless otherwise requested. I decided to stick with what they suggested, so that was how I had mine cooked.
Here is a shot with the top half of the bun lifted off the burger:
Mine came with bacon, American cheese, several really nice slices of ripe tomato, lettuce and mustard and was served on a nice fresh Kaiser roll. I added ketchup tableside. This was a monster burger. And a messy one. I had ketchup and mustard squirt out of the burger every single time I took a bite. But it was GOOOD. Juicy, hot, and seasoned just right. The bacon added a nice salty bite and the tomato a wonderful sweetness.
Is this the best burger I've ever had in Akron? It's been a while since I've had a really good burger in Akron, so I feel safe in saying that it could possibly be the best burger in Akron. On a scale of 5, I'd give it a 4.5. How does it rack up against The Greenhouse Tavern? Sorry, fellow Akronites, The Greenhouse Tavern burger completely reshaped my concept of what it is like to eat a delicious, juicy burger. Yes, Louie's burger is juicy. But The Greenhouse Tavern's burger is unbelievably juicy. In some sort of Pavlovian epicurean curse, I actually salivate when I think of The Greenhouse Tavern's burger.
Finally, since they were in my basket, I should probably mention the fresh cut fries. Unfortunately, they were not particularly inspiring. In fact, they were the same limp, greasy, nasty mess of fried potatoes you get almost every time the words "fresh cut" appear on the menu. The "wetness" in the next photo wasn't from any liquid that I added:
It's a shame, really. I never knew it was so hard to make good fries. It seems to have infected quite a few of the restaurants in the Akron and Canton area. Except for Prime at Anthe's. They could teach Louie's a thing or two about what good fries should taste like.
Louie's Bar & Grille is highly recommended if you are in the mood for a really great burger. I'd just pay the upcharge and get a different side instead.