Monday, May 29, 2006

Pepper Pod

Review 18 @ Stop 29
Pepper Pod
703 Monmouth St (Newport)

During their quest for burger nirvana, Bucky and Freddie they had yet to visit one important tradition – the family-owned diner; so it was off to the Pepper Pod.

Located in Newport since 1970, this 24-hour restaurant (closed only on a few holidays), is still owned and operated by the same family. 2006 is also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the original Pepper Pod in Cincinnati.

With a centralized counter with stools, booths with jukebox selections around the perimeter, and many old photos decorating the walls, the Pepper Pod offers a large menu with reasonably-priced goodies – even several different burgers.

The Homemade Hamburger is a 6 oz. patty ($3.75); plus customers may add two sides for an additional $2. The friendly server with a good sense of humor didn’t asked the duo how it was to be cooked, meaning it comes one way.

The grilled, medium-sized patty was well done, thus it was on the dry side. Freddie (in the spirit of Wolfy who was unavailable on that day) detected hints of gristle embedded with the handmade, but seasonings-less patty.

This burger was served on a regular bun with onions, tomato, lettuce, mayo, and accompanied with sliced pickles on the side. For those desiring these deluxe trimmings, this sounds great. On the other hand, the trimmings dominated the taste of the sandwich and everyone knows that Bucky doesn’t like eating a garden on a bun.

The guys enjoyed their visit to this long-standing establishment. Although the burger wasn’t a big hit with Freddie, he wants to return for an eggs and goetta breakfast.

Score: 3.0
Rating: Average

Next Review: TBA

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Review 17 @ Stop 24
12191 Montgomery Rd
(Deerfield Township)

Toot’s has a long history compared to many other businesses in the Fields-Ertel/Mason-Montgomery mass of humanity. Recommended by a friend, Bucky, Freddie, and Wolfy arrived at Toot’s not knowing the extent of its franchise.

Opening in 1995, this location was the third in what is now 5 restaurants (the others are clustered together in Kentucky and Tennessee). Due to the long history in this location, the opening the majority of the franchises in the past 3 years, and the fact of both being hungry and already on location, the Burger Guys granted Toot’s a temporary, one-time exemption from the no-chain rule.

With its rustic décor and numerous TVs, Toot’s provides a family-oriented atmosphere. The “best in town” proclamation about the half-pound hamburger sounds like the perfect challenge for the Cincinnati Burger Guys.

One thing for sure, this is may be the only burger in town priced at $4.47 (side items are ala carte). Served on a large, standard bun toasted on the inside with shredded lettuce (nice touch!), tomato, onion, and sliced pickles, the burger is perfectly sized to fit the bun. Such consistency, as well as the smooth edges, appears formed (not hand made) and this automatically activates the “possibly frozen” alarm.

The trio ordered their typical cook-to-order range, but the server immediately balked at Wolfy’s medium rare request, but was willing to but in a good word to the cooks. Upon final delivery, the appearance between the three was only slightly distinguishable – thus concluding “well done” may be standard protocol in the Toot’s kitchen.

The patty, medium size in diameter and thickness, was not juicy. On the plus side, the presence of a definite seasoning inspired Freddie to seek more answers. Lo and behold, the owner/manager disclosed the addition of the same seasoning used on their steaks. Nice touch!

Although various plusses and minuses dawn this burger, the Burger Guys agreed the sandwich as a whole delivered good taste, thus Bucky leads the way with the high score.

Score: 6.5
Rating: A Step Up

PS: Toot’s offers a burger special every Tuesday: burger and fries for $3.95 (about a $2 saving)

Next Review: Pepper Pod

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mansion Hill Tavern

Review 16 @ Stop 26
Mansion Hill Tavern
502 Washington (Newport)

The Mansion Hill Tavern is a local neighborhood tavern located in Newport’s Mansion Hill district. Built before 1900, a bar and grill has been housed at this location since 1944. The warm, friendly atmosphere is also an important spot in the local blues scene with live music Wednesday and Friday through Sunday.

Upon entering, the dark tables and chairs amidst the dark walls provide a definite bar atmosphere. On the other hand, how many places have a large wooden Indian just inside the door? So say hi to Chief on your way in.

The menu offers five burgers, but Bucky, Freddie, and Wolfy settle on the Best I Had All Day burger. This $4.00 burger is served with lettuce, tomato, and onion and accompanied by potato chips and pickle slices.

The hand-made patty appears fresh while perfectly fits the bun. Medium in size and grilled, the trio saw little differences in their cook to order. No doubt, the kitchen does not add any extra flavor to the meat

The Kaiser bun is toasted and topped with a light spread of butter. The guys loved this bun while proclaiming, “It makes this sandwich!” On the other hand, the lettuce and tomato dominated the flavor.

The Mansion Hill Tavern is within walking distance from Newport on the Levee. For those desiring medium size burgers, it’s worth a try. This turned out to be the best burger each of us had that day, however, it was the only burger we had that day. Bucky, Freddie, and Wolf even had identical scores.

Lunch 11:00 am – 2:00 pm (Tuesday through Friday)
Cash only

Score: 5.0
Rating: Average

Next Review: Toot's