“Buns, pickles, ketchup, cheese, put a patty in between, it’s burgers, yeah, yeah, its burgers.”

We all have our own happy dance when we’re about to sink our teeth into that juicy mound of beef (get your head out of the gutter, I’m talking about hamburgers). More to the point, we’re talking about the best burgers in Cleveland. Here are Pressure Life’s Top 5 Best Burger Joints in Cleveland…


Payne Tavern (3528 Payne Ave): A little place you’d pass right by if you didn’t know what you were looking for, Payne Tavern, located in heart of Chinatown, looks pretty bleak from the outside. Inside, however, the griddle sizzles with Ruby’s patented over-sized burgers that are really worth the trip.


The Coffee Pot (12415 Madison Ave): This is a great throwback restaurant. From the oversized, but welcoming, neon sign in the window, to the vinyl upholstered malt shop bar stools, visiting the Coffee Pot is like stepping out of a time machine in all the best ways. True to its name, the Coffee Pot is a breakfast and lunch diner that closes before most people can punch out for the day. So stop by on a lunch break. Better yet, just call in sick and take your time noshing.

coffee pot

Academy Tavern (12800 Larchmere Blvd): There’s not much to catch the eye as one passes the corner of Larchmere and W.128th. That is by design. They don’t have a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, or an Instagram account. I don’t even think they have a website, and that’s by design. Academy is an unadorned, time-tested restaurant that carries with it a traditional American pub vibe that let’s burgers and beer do the talking for them. Go for the eponymous Academy burger. If you’re feeling frisky give the Santa Fe a spin.


Flying Fig (2523 Market Ave) While at first glance, Flying Fig may appear like any of the other over-thought hipster locales trying so hard to be unique that they all blur together. That would be a foolish mistake. A clever blend of gourmet foods with enough panache to count it as going out for the night. There’s much more going on here than just burgers, but that’s definitely a good place to start.


Heck’s Café (2927 Bridge Ave) Stepping into a renovated 18th century townhouse may offer a little cognitive dissonance for those looking for a burger and a beer, but spoils are earned only to the courageous. Around since 1974, Heck’s knows a thing or two, or even three, about making a good burger. Better yet, all of their patties are local Ohio farm grass-fed cattle. With a wide array of toppings like jalapeno bacon jam, balsamic candied onions, spicy aioli, you’ll be able to mix and match for any possible taste.


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    Content Strategist, novelist and prolific roustabout who drinks entirely too much coffee. You can find him on Twitter @therealadamdodd