Cleveland, Ohio        Date of Visit  09/15/12

Long overdue fun time with friends brings us to Cleveland for lunch and a quick search finds us on W. Ninth at BRGR 9. Burgers minus the vowels. On a Saturday morning the street is moderately busy with folks strolling to and fro. BRGR9 is pretty swanky inside with mixes of muted and bright colors. Our server was patient and competent and allowed us time to talk both instead of figuring out our order and long after we finished eating to catch up.

One of the things I enjoy about this project is getting to meet with folks we don’t get to see as often as we would like. The darker side of my soul enjoys convincing some of our more health conscious friends into trying all sorts of more tasty than healthy fare. Hence our order today.



Sweet Tots Were Pretty Good

We tried two appetizers. Sweet potato tater tots and lobster corndogs. Following the theme of the joint we followed with four burgers…the Clevelander, the Local, the Lamb and the Special and a couple baskets of fries.

The appetizers were a mixed lot. The lobster corndogs were oversold. A similar ground mixture (less than lobster-y ground mixture) was certainly battered and deep fried. They couldn’t compare to the version we recently had at Hodges. The mixture was similar in it’s texture and taste but Hodges crunchy exterior had a corndog like crunch and lightly sweet flavor that helped me forget the lack of lobster. Not so much at BRGR9. The bacon garlic catsup and the truffle honey mustard were nice but weren’t enough to stop me from wishing we had ordered something else like the eggplant fries. The sweet potato tots were much better. Tiny little crispy nuggets were sweetly savory and served with two tasty mayo dips a Cajun and a roasted orange. Much better than the not so corny or lobster-y dogs.

Lobster Corn Dogs Weren't Really

Mushy (Lobster?) Stuff

Get The Tots Instead Of The Fries

Cajun Or Otherwise

One of the things that made me nervous when I first found the place was the mention of Heck’s Fries. Having had burgers at the Ohio City landmark and having left unimpressed I still am unsure if these two places are related in any way after eating in the second. The sandwiches were better but the fries were far from. Flimsy and limp, greasy and under seasoned I certainly wouldn’t bother with the potatoes again. One of the baskets came with a Cajun dusting which was clumsily applied and underwhelming. I was getting suspicious the burgers might be disappointingly familiar.

The first burger bite I tried was the Clevelander, a pretty straight forward affair. Cheddar, bacon, tomato and onion on a brioche roll. The patty was pretty good but suffers in comparison to some recent deliciousness from places like Ray’s Hell Burger and Louie’s. You could do way worse though. The veggies were fresh and crisp. Cheese and bacon are cheese and bacon. In other words awesome which is why this combo has been a burger standard for a long time.


Big Plates Make Burger Look Small But Clevelander Is Solid Classic

The "Sly on Roids" Was Creative But Didn't Translate As Well As It Sounded

I ordered the daily special which on Saturday was the Sly on ‘Roids’. Is that a slap at Stallone? I’m not sure but the combo sounded interesting to me. A grilled double decker burger, is stuffed with crispy artichokes and topped with a pepperoni roasted garlic tomato ragout, 7 leaf greens and provolone on a brioche bun. This one got a little hazy for me as the ragout got a little lost measured against the two patties. It was a good burger but I would have gone for some others on the menu. My favorites from our trip were still to come.

The lamb burger was everything the sandwich I ordered at Flip Side Burgers failed to deliver. Perfectly lamby at a medium, the patty was an improvement over the beef burgers. Steph ordered it sans onions, which our server confirmed, but somewhere along the line it came adorned with them regardless. Add greens, roasted red pepper tapenade, cucumber aioli and two cheeses manchego and feta on a honey wheat roll and you end up with a delicious burger. The nods to Middle Eastern flavors paired wonderfully with the meat, a definite don’t miss.

The Lamb Burger Was Delicious

Even If It Didn't Arrive As Ordered

I was originally thinking of ordering the Local as the ingredient list set my imagination to happy places. Our resident holy man opted for it and was gracious enough to share. Get this…. A burger topped with cheddar, caramelized onions, and Bertman’s aioli on a brioche roll. Oh, I almost forgot. It also has a bratwurst and a homemade pierogi on top. So bad but so good. The brat is a more traditional German option with very little spice and a strong veal essence. More fennel or garlic would have made it more to my liking but add the burger and the potato stuffed pierogi and it worked well. The only distraction for me was the whole sandwich together was rather dry and could have used a dose of something to make it as good as the lamb.

Associated with Heck’s or not we had a great lunch at BRGR 9, mostly due to the company but there were also some really tasty options on the menu. With 21 other regular burger choices there are many more I would try I would need to find something to replace the fries. 

The Awesome Sounding Local

Great Layers of Flavors But Needs Moisture To Bring Together



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