On the East side of Cincinnati is one of the city's proudest landmarks. No, it's not Ault Park or Lunken Airport, it's a small place with a lot of personality that serves up what could be the best burger in all the land. Terry's Turf Club is a Cincinnati food landmark that has regular patrons and visitors from around the country. Its small interior ensures a wait, but the wait is always worth it, as I discovered.
I paid a visit with some friends for the first time a few weeks ago. On first sight of the place, I was giddy. Nothing says "fun food experience" better than a collection of neon lights and signs greeting you as you walk up to the door. Once inside, there is just as much, if not more, neon signing inside, covering every inch of every wall, nook, and cranny. The floor crunches under your feet as you walk across its peanut-shell layer and take your seat. We were lucky and grabbed a table before the Sunday dinner rush.
Having never been to the famous Terry's before, I was distracted by the interior and it took us a good 20 minutes to finally decide on what to order. Burgers, of course, as this was the place people touted as the best burger in town. Or at least the largest. I decided to keep it simple and order a burger with all the fixings, but nothing too crazy. No mango curry sauce for this guy. To me, if your burger is the best, it will shine through even the simplest ingredients.
After what seemed like an eternity of cracking open peanuts and slurping down Diet Coke, the prized burger finally arrived - towering high above my plate.
It's safe to say that my eyes bugged at first sight of the 2.5-inch thick burger (an estimated guess) atop a toasted bun. Oh, that toasted bun. The sign of a winning burger is the toasted bun. We were already on to great things, me and this burger.
Too large to fit within my two hands, it was crucial to give this burger a cut down the middle. Once cut, the individual layers atop each other made eating this burger like art. Maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but this burger was playing me like a fiddle.
I'm a medium rare meat kind of guy, but I can understand why the sight of the pinky meat above might disturb you. But don't think about it as meat, just look at the layers of colors and tell me that isn't art. Go ahead, tell me. With my first bite of the burger I was in hamburger heaven, but it didn't take long before my stomach reached its capacity. I was able to get down a hefty percentage of this mighty meat stack, but alas, it beat me at a game of man vs. meat.
I will go back to Terry's Turf Club. The atmosphere and the nostalia of the place are too good to keep me away. More than that, I will go on an empty stomach and take the challenge again... Or maybe I'll invite a friend and we'll share a burger.