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Hamburger Honeymoon

My fiance and I really love burgers.

Really, really love them.

Last year, we watch George Motz's documentary and flipped through the book. We noticed that 6 of the best places in the U.S. were in Ohio, so we decided to visit all six. In one day. We did it and we had so much fun that we decided to do what we love best for our honeymoon.

We are going to be driving from Cincinnati to Key West and back via I-75. We'd like to know if you have any suggestions of amazing burger places along the way.

Some of the big cities along the route are:
anywhere else along the gulf coast of Florida
anywhere in the Keys

Don't exclude small towns either. In the interest of time, we don't want to wander too far off the path, though.

We'll probably come back from the Keys via Miami, so don't forget that.

If anyone is interested in the Ohio Hamburger Roadtrip photos, they are here:

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  1. In Atlanta, consider The Varsity, Vortex, Flip Burger and Ann's Snack Bar. In Key West, a place called Lobo's Mixed Grill reportedly does a great burger.

    7 Replies
    1. re: carolinadawg

      I hear Ann is a tough cookie! We'll go there for sure. Anyone ever been to Holman and Finch Public House for their 10 P.M. burger madness?

      1. re: MeghanEats

        I have. I generally love H&F, but we just didn't get it. For a skinny, well-done patty on a bun, you might as well go to any of a dozen or so fast food chains. Impeccable sourcing or not. If the weather's nice and you can sit outside, I'd rather go to the Treehouse, which is right up the street from H&F, for a burger.

        It's much discussed on the FL board, but I really really have enjoyed Le Tub in Hollywood for a burger. Someone made the mistake of calling it the best burger in the country, and then the backlash began. For those of us who aren't on the water all the time, it's a great setting and a great burger.

        The bison sliders at Ted's Montana Grill are pretty good, too. Chain, though.

        1. re: ted

          Wow, that is a bummer about H& F. Have you tried any of the other stuff on the menu? The desserts are making me drool on my keyboard. Peanut and sorghum ice cream in a coke float? I'd like two.

          1. re: MeghanEats

            Oh, I pretty much love everything else I've had there. And the bar does some amazing stuff. It was just the burger that didn't live up to the hype.

      2. re: carolinadawg

        I also suggest Fiip Burger. The Korean BBQ burger is great. Vortex is good, but they still allow smoking, so points off for that.

        1. re: CupcakeAddict

          Unfortunatly, they still allow smoking at most places in Northern Kentucky, so we're used to it.

        2. re: carolinadawg

          OMG the Vortex in Little Five Points is awesome! LOL if you want to see God, order their Bloom Shroom burger, at least that's what their menu says and I can attest to :)

        3. Congrats! Brings a tear to the eye that you've combined hamburgers and love. You'll have a long marriage for certain with this kind of start. Here's a decent list, starting in the North and all are on your route:

          Original Hamburger Inn - Circleville, OH
          Litton's - Knoxville
          George's - Chattanooga
          Zarzour's - Chattanooga
          Ann's Snack Bar - Atlanta
          Steak 'N Shake - Georgia/Florida
          El Mago Des Las Fritas - Miami

          Have fun and definitely get a Frita in Miami. Please let me know if you come across any new gems along the way.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MotzBurger

            Vortex is a good choice for Atlanta. Macon is not really a culinary hotbed...the 5 guys there is definitely the best burger option in town (I like 5 guys but that says a lot about the quality of food in Macon). There is also a steak and shake across the street. Can't go wrong with either.

            1. re: ChiefHDB

              Everyone keeps talking about how amazing Vortex is, so I guess that's a must!

              We have more 5 Guys and more Steak n' Shakes that we can shake a stick at here in Cincinnati, so we'll be saving those for at home burger needs.

              1. re: ChiefHDB

                Someone else emailed us and suggested A & A rest. & grocery in Allentown, GA. Ever been there?

              2. re: MotzBurger

                I second Littons...it is delish
                In Ky The RootBeer Stand of I75 in Corbin is very very good.

                1. re: LaLa

                  Ooh, yum. We haven't had too many Kentucky suggestions so far. The only other ones have been Ginny's Frickled Pickle and W.W. Cousins. Both in Louisville and we've already been to both. So thanks!

              3. A third to Litton's in Knoxville.
                From I-75, exit I-640 east bound, take the first exit (Broadway) northbound. It's about five traffic lights north, just past a large new Krogers (on the left) when you see the Fountain City Duck Pond on your left, and an Exxon station on your right, Littons is on your right, behind the Exxon.
                Also excellent for deserts that are so large, they have to be shared.
                (And because they grind their own, you can specify medium rare, and get it.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: shallots

                  Wow! I just looked at the menu. We do love some red velvet cake!

                2. Congrats! My wife and I live in the Valdosta area and honeymooned in Key West last June. In Valdosta I would recommend Loco's (just off the interstate) or Slap Daddy's (not far either).

                  Can't remember much about the restaurants in Key west but if you need any other info please let me know.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Miami Beach is a short detour on the way to/from the Keys, and has a large concentration of very good burgers. Plus it's a great place to people watch, relax, and hit the beach. I'm not sure when you're heading down but Shake Shack, the iconic NYC burger joint will be opening on Lincoln Road in the spring or summer of this year. The #1 place right now is probably burger & beer joint. Awesome burgers, and you can even get a basket of bacon. There is also food love cafe on the sand around 18th st. They have an amazing jalapeno cheeseburger. 8oz burger bar, the LA transplant had high remarks in LA, but hasn't translated as well as hoped to Miami, although they do have some other things worth checking out - short rib grilled cheese. As mentioned above, El Mago De Las Fritas has gotten a lot of praise and is probably considered the best "fritas" style burger, possibly in the country (I think Bobby Flay gave it his vote). Kingdom also gets a lot of votes as best burger in Miami but I can't vouch for it, although it's next on my list.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ash0529

                      A basket of bacon!?!?!?!?! I'll take two.

                    2. By far the greatest burger in Gainesville (and Florida, in my book) is at Mac's Drive Thru, a take-out only place with fresh ingredients and cheap prices. The line may be a bit long, especially around lunchtime, but it is well worth the wait, and then some.
                      In the city of Alachua, to the north of Gainesville off of I75, is Bev's Better Burgers, another place I would recommend for a great burger. Equally as good is Ralph's Burger House in nearby Chiefland, although that may be too large of a detour.

                      Miami is a totally different ballgame. Most of the good traditional burger places are either in Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood or Miami Beach. In Miami proper, the local favorite is the cuban burger, called "Frita", which has a patty made of ground beef and chorizo, topped with shoestring potatoes and cuban seasonings. If that seems appetizing, I would recommend stopping into El Mago de las Fritas, which is where the best fritas are had.

                      Hope this helps!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: FloridaFoodie3

                        No place is "too off the beaten path." We have 10 days to go from Cincinnati to Key West and back, which is plenty of time.

                        Keep the suggestions comin'!

                        1. re: MeghanEats

                          On your way back, get off I-95 at Hillsboro Blvd (Deerfield Beach, FL) and go east just past US 1/Federal Highway. On your right BEFORE THE NEXT LIGHT will be a TV repair and a 7-11 or one of those places. Turn right into the convenince store parking lot and you will be at Charm City Burgers. Whatever you get will be awesome. Enjoy!

                      2. This really isn't a recommendation, but you, sometime in life, need to try a classic Krystal hamburger. (Sort of like the need to try a Cinncinnatti style Chili). Krystals are small, grilled that are essentially steamed, with chopped onions (also steamed) and mustard on small square buns.
                        Not the best, but they probably belong in a collectible memory.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: shallots

                          Are they like White Castle? Sounds like it. If so, best hangover food EVER!

                          P.S. Fiance had Cincinnati chili not once but twice yesterday and I can still smell it on him.

                          1. re: shallots

                            There's one in G'ville--or used to be right across from campus. There's one in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunrise and Powerline. Haven't been to the one in G'ville since 1980, and was never sober when I was there. Haven't been to the one in Ft. Lauderdale yet, but plan to sometime.

                          2. First of all, I want to thank everyone for your amazing suggestions. I can't wait to go, take tons of pictures and then bring back all the stories to share with you!

                            What about Savannah, GA? Anything good there? We've never been there, always wanted to go. Might drive through anyway, just for the heck of it. I know I said in my orginal post that we didn't want to venture too far off the beaten path in the interest of time, but I got some extra vacation time to take, so now we have 10 whole days.

                            We've also been given a couple of shirts with burgers on them to wear on the trip. Some girls get sassy lingerie, I got a burger t-shirt.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MeghanEats

                              I'm in Charleston. If you get up this way go to Poe's on Sullivan's Island. If it's nice you can sit outdoors in the sun. The burgers and fried onions are fabulous.

                              Y'all are so sweet- a burger honeymoon is a GREAT idea!

                            2. In Knoxville:
                              1. Go to the Northshore Brasserie and get the Brasserie Burger. It's the best in town. It's topped with truffled onions, mushrooms, and cornichions. I recommend adding Roquefort cheese. The fries that are served with it are to-die-for. All for $11.00. Best deal in town.
                              2. Sam & Andy's - Get the Vol Burger and fries.
                              3. Pete's Coffee Shop - Fantastic diner with griddle fried burgers.

                              1. Redundant since you live there, but Zip's in CINCINNATI is one of my all-time favorite burgers! I lived in Hyde Park in the 80s and ate there often. Never even tried the chili -- too hung up on the burgers. :-)

                                As for LEXINGTON, Ramsey's has a great burger and fries, FABULOUS pie made next door, and a yummy zuchinni 'burger'. It's hard to order them, though, when faced with a huge menu for meat-n-three. Go to the original on East High for the real atmosphere. You'll love it! (If you like nice used books, Black Swan is just down the street and carries regional authors, first editions, horsey titles, and beautiful new books from our local Cricket Press. There are also a few funky boutiques, and you can walk off your lunch at Woodland Park.)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: marijka

                                  I ate Zip's in high school until it came out of my ears. The burgers, the chili, the fries, dipping your fries in your chili.....mmm.....

                                  I actually just took my fiance there the other day because he'd never been. He got the "train wreck" burger, which is topped with a grilled metwurst and shaved ham.

                                  If you're ever back anytime soon, check out Terry' Turf Club in the East End, and Quatman and Gordo's both in Norwood.

                                  1. re: MeghanEats

                                    Macon isn't a hotbed for burgers, but I highly recommend going to NuWay and getting a hotdog there. Their patty melt isn't bad either. The Cheers on Northside Drive used to have good burgers, but I haven't tried in 15 years. The original NuWay is in downtown Macon, but there is one near the Cheers bar. There is some good pizza and a great italian restaurant (Natalia's).

                                    1. re: Guido13

                                      The Players Club on Forsyth Rd in Macon has a good burger as does Cheers on Northside Dr. Johnny V's on Columbus Rd has a good burger as well. The cardiac arrest burger at the Vortex in Atlanta is worth making the trip.

                                2. In Atlanta: Ann's Snack Bar & The Vortex are both a must. The Varsity also but I prefer the hot dogs there. I don't like Flip Burger at all.

                                  Krystal: If you find the right Krystal you'll have a great experience with their sliders, but the Ft Lauderdale location is not very good.

                                  In Deerfield Beach, Fl: Charm City is a must.

                                  In Hollywood, Fl: Quickie's Burgers & Wings, awesome burgers and wings and a great dipping sauce for your fries.

                                  In Miami, Fl: Kingdom for Burgers and for Fritas, El Mago De Las Fritas

                                  In Miami Beach, Fl: Burger & Beer Joint, they were recently featured on Man v. Food Live.

                                  In Key West, Fl: Hog's Breath, great place to drink also.

                                  When in Miami, I'd definitely like to treat you to a Frita at El Mago. Let me know.