Saturday is National Hamburger Day: Here’s where to find some of Dayton’s favorites

The Haystack hamburger at 571 Grill and Draft House. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

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The Haystack hamburger at 571 Grill and Draft House. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

Credit: Alexis Larsen

A good burger is the cornerstone of most popular fast food chain menus and has been proven to help drive restaurant sales.

Consumption of these beloved beefy patties continues to rise according to marketing research firm NPD Group. In fact, meat consumption has gone up 12% over the past 20 years according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Some burgers are so beloved they have found a cult following. The South has Whataburger, the West Coast has In-N-Out, the Midwest has White Castle.

I would argue there are a few locally owned places that deserve to have the kind of love and devotion that these national chains have. Benjamin’s the Burger Master, Slyder’s Tavern and the Miamisburg Hamburger Wagon are all on my list.

In honor of National Hamburger Day, which takes place on May 28 and of the start of months and months of outdoor grilling, here’s a look at some of my favorite burgers in the Miami Valley.

571 Grill & Draft House

12389 Milton-Carlisle Rd., New Carlisle

937-845-0089

571grill.com

This is a fantastic place to grab a good burger and a cold beer. The half-pound two-handed burgers are stacked and packed with ingredients. The smooth, buttery patties are a blend of chuck, short rib and brisket cooked with a slightly pink center and served on a brioche bun.

The restaurant has a classic cheeseburger, a bacon cheeseburger and a turkey burger, but the house specialties are when it gets interesting.

The flagship burger is the Haystack ($15) featuring applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, onion, jalapenos, onion straws and 571 sauce. Add an egg to make it a Henhouse for a dollar more. The Vampire Slayer ($13.50) served on thick pieces of grilled garlic toast is topped with caramelized sauteed onions and mushrooms and house garlic aioli. The Mac Daddy ($15) is heaped with smoked gouda mac and cheese, additional cheddar cheese, crisscrossed with applewood smoked bacon and then slathered with BBQ sauce. The glazed donut bacon cheeseburger is just as billed. Grilled glazed ooey, gooey donut plus their blended burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, smoked gouda cheese and 571 sauce ($13.50) is a savory sugary dream.

These are definitely some of the most creative burgers you can find locally.

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A cheeseburger, coleslaw and fried okra from Benjamin’s the Burger Master. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

A cheeseburger, coleslaw and fried okra from Benjamin’s the Burger Master. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

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A cheeseburger, coleslaw and fried okra from Benjamin’s the Burger Master. ALEXIS LARSEN/CONTRIBUTED

Benjamin’s the Burger Master

100 N. Main St., Dayton

937-223-8702

One Dayton spot that was grilling up smashed burgers way before Smashburger came onto the scene is Benjamin’s the Burger Master on North Main Street. It’s sign bills itself as “a family eatery” selling ribs, chicken and burgers. It’s like a museum of what fast casual food used to be back in the day, perfectly preserved with decor that is a fine, kitchy compliment to the homemade dishes being served up. There are plenty of choices and sides. When my body and mind say it’s burger time, this is one of my go-to spots for a greasy, delicious ooey-gooey burger.

Coco’s Bistro

250 Warren St., Dayton

937-228-2626

228coco.com

Coco’s Bistro Burger ($20) is a savory, creamy dream. The 7-ounce angus beef patty is topped with Boursin cheese, caramelized onion, applewood bacon, roasted garlic aioli delivered in a challah bun with house-cut fries.

The Hamburger Wagon

12 E. Central Ave., Miamisburg

937-847-2442

hamburgerwagon.com

This icon of Dayton hamburgers, recently featured on CNN Travel, has been serving up it’s signature crispy flattened burgers since 1913. It’s a simple recipe — crispy burger, salt, pepper, pickle and onion, and it’s perfect. They have two mottos: “No stinkin’ cheese or sloppy sauce” and “step back in time for that taste you’ll crave in the future.” It’s as accurate as it comes and you’ve never seen a smaller menu when dining out. Get a single for $1.50 or a double for $3.00. Two menu choices with optional chips and a drink for $1.25 each. That’s it. Simple as it comes.

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Oakwood Club

2414 Far Hills Ave., Oakwood

(937)-293-6973

theoakwoodclub.com

Oakwood Club burgers are made from the trimmings from the restaurants steaks and filets. They are some of the tastiest in town. There’s also a grilled prime rib sandwich, but for me that burger is where it’s at when it comes to casual dining at the OC.

Lucky’s Taproom

520 E. Fifth St., Dayton

937-222-6800

luckystaproom.com

Lucky’s has 10 signature burgers to choose from, as well as a build-your-own model. The burgers made with Keener grass-fed beef use some of the best ingredients around. My personal favorite is The Cobra ($16.50) slathered in a Thai-style marinade, with peanut butter, fresh cilantro, cucumbers, pickled carrots, jalapeños and sriracha sauce.

Mudlick Tap House

135 E. Second St., Dayton

937-895-4066

mudlicktaphouse.com

The white bean tabbouleh burger ($13) from Mudlick hits all the right notes for vegetarians or those looking to cut down on their meat consumption. The white bean and quinoa tabbouleh patty is slathered with hummus and topped with a sliced tomato, field greens, and red onions on brioche. It’s not a “hamburger,” but for those that don’t eat meat it’s a great way to celebrate the day. Bonus: It’s a vegan-friendly dish.

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Slyder's Swiss bacon cheeseburger with fries. FILE

Slyder's Swiss bacon cheeseburger with fries. FILE

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Slyder's Swiss bacon cheeseburger with fries. FILE

Slyder’s Tavern

836 Watervliet Ave., Dayton

937-258-1222

slyderstavern.com

No burger list in town is complete without listing Slyder’s Tavern. If you want to talk about the best burger in Dayton, this is definitely one of them. Don’t take our word for it. This has consistently won first place for Best Burger in the Dayton Daily News and Dayton.com Best of Dayton competition over the years. Not only is it one of the tastiest burgers in town. It’s also one of the most affordable. This is a modest little neighborhood bar that puts out really great food and has been one of my go-to spots for years.

Watermark

20 S. 1st St., Miamisburg

937-802-0891

eatdrinkwatermark.com

Watermark’s signature (Great) Miami Burger ($15.95) is an all-prime 8 oz. grilled burger, topped with house-made bacon and Bourbon jam, house dill pickles, pickled red onion and your choice of blue cheese or cheddar, on a brioche bun. Served with your choice of house-cut fries or dressed greens. It’s as good as it sounds.

Wheat Penny Oven and Bar

515 Wayne Ave., Dayton

937-496-5268

wheatpennydayton.com

Wheat Penny does a consistently great job with their burgers. There’s the Wheat Penny Burger ($14) made with a special blend of 70% chuck, 15% short rib and 15% brisket, resulting in a juicy, nicely textured and flavorful burger. A crispy cauliflower patty can always be subbed for for the beef patty for vegetarians or those looking to cut down on meat. There’s also a rotating burger of the week ($15) that are always creative, interesting and tasty.

There’s always Five Guys and Red Robin and other burger experts around town, but when you can support local and find something that’s one of a kind that’s always the way to go in my opinion.

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Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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