There are many blog posts and reviews I have read that debate what the best burger in Cincinnati is. If you follow any of this at all, you would know that many people feel that Terry's Turf Club on Eastern Ave is number one in their books. It was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on Food Network a couple months ago and almost always tops lists of bets burgers. I don't know if I am going to be able to say whether or not I think it is the BEST burger in the city, but it would definitely be in my top 5. (Don't ask what my favorite is becuase I change my mind a lot!)
Last Friday, my friends Kelly and Dan suggested we go to Terry's which sounded great to me. I hadn't been there in about a year and was in the mood for a good burger.
If you haven't been to Terry's before, it is located on Eastern Ave. near Bella Luna. You cannot miss this place driving down the road because of the huge amounts of neon lights that adorn the exterior of the building with other various signs, statues, and wooden people. This place definitely stands out. There isn't a parking lot, but there is parking along the street that is available. I was a bit hesitant about going to Terry's on a Friday night because it is normally very crowded; however, we actually got sat right away! We were really excited about that because we got the last available table. One thing to note: Terry's won't seat you until your entire party is there, so don't try to send someone earlier, they won't seat you. We noticed a lot of people that were waiting came in to get a beer and then waited outside.
The interior of Terry's is just like the outside. It is a small diner full of florescent neon lights, a jukebox, black and white checkered floors, and a bar along the back wall. The jukebox wasn't on consistently, but it gets pretty noisy inside. This is a great place to go for a fun night with friends, not a romantic dinner for two. There were families, groups of friends, all ages. Another time I had gone, there was actually a band playing, which I found a bit annoying. The place is too small and it took up some of the available tables, which there aren't many anyways, so I don't really get why they have bands sometimes.
Now, on to the food. Terry's is known for their burgers, but they do offer other selections as well, such as chicken or fish sandwiches, pork loin, and chili (menu here). Ross and I decided to share the chili, a burger and fries. The burgers are HUGE and an order of fries is plenty for two people, possibly even three, so I think we made a good decision to share these items.
The chili is made with filet mignon and pork tenderloin--so delicious! There were large pieces of each of the meat along with just enough spice. I thought this was the perfect amount of heat, I like spicy food too, and thought this was just right. Overall, I really liked this chili. Was it the best I've ever had? No. But I had never had it with filet mignon or pork tenderloin and thought it was great.
If you haven't been to Terry's, I should note that there is a base price for burgers, then you can add various toppings, other cheeses and specialty sauces for an additional price. I had been here two other times before, and had gotten the red pepper, goat cheese sauce one time (it was just okay), and the burgundy wine with wild mushrooms and truffles (very good). This night, Ross and I decided to try a different sauce. We got the rosemary, garlic, curry sauce, caramalized onions on the side, swiss cheese, and ordered it medium. Ross sliced into the burger to cut in half and it looked like it was cooked to a perfect medium. This burger is huge though, like I said. I was a bit intimidated by the size. The tomato was a thick tomato also, that I ended up having to take off because it kept sliding off. I took a bite and immediately could taste the sweetness of the curry and thought the sauce was great! The burger was very juicy and I liked the bun as well, it was toasted but still soft. My biggest complaint about this burger was how messy it is. It was pretty difficult to eat actually. I don't mind messy food, but I didn't want to even put it down because it was so hard to pick back up and eat.
I like the fries pretty well overall. They are handcut and thick fries. I wish there would have been a bit of a seasoning on them though, they didn't taste as if they had really been seasoned, which I personally like. But overall, I really liked these fries.
So, my overall opinion: I think Terry's has unique burgers that are juicy and flavorful, but messy. The chili was pretty good, I would probably order that again. I don't love the atmosphere in here though . I don't mind a dive, in fact, I typically like them a lot. But this place is just SO noisy and the brightness actually is a bit much for me. The service was good. Pretty standard overall, our waiter was very nice and polite. He was prompt and didn't hound us like some servers can do. I've noticed that a lot of reviews that I have read complain about the price. I agree that some things are over-priced, like the chili was $6.50 for a cup. The burger ended up being $10.25 with the sauce, which I don't think is terrible considering it is big enough to feed two people and the ingredients were very good. So, if you haven't been, give Terry's a try and let us know what you think!
Overall Experience: 3.5