18 May 2013

The best veggie burgers in Central Ohio

Columbus is one of the best cities in Ohio for vegetarian and vegan diners. The large college age population combined with an ethnically diverse culture supports an environment rich with meatless dining options built from fresh local produce. Few cities in Ohio, or even the U.S., cater to vegetarian diners as well as Columbus.

The fresh produce in the region also provides fantastic raw ingredients, and these ingredients are key to creating great veggie burgers, a staple of vegetarian restaurant-goers.  Columbus has a variety of different veggie burgers served by a myriad of different restaurants. Here is a rundown of some of some of what the best veggie burgers to be found in and around the city.

Best haute burger

Sure, a patty served on a bun with potatoes as a side is hardly anybody's idea of four-star dining. But the veggie burger with avocado and corn elote from Third & Hollywood elevates a house made vegetable patty into a fine art.

There is definitely brown rice, black beans, onions and a pinch of garlic in the patty, and the avocado adds umami to the veggie burger. It picks up smoky notes from the grill top, and the seasoned corn gives it a nice Southwestern flavor. It is served on a soft, organic bun.

The patty is the same as the Northstar Cafe veggie burger, but the toppings and sides are elevated at Third & Hollywood. At $15, this is an expensive veggie burger, but it is fresh and satisfying - can you really put a price on that?

Honorable mentions: Worthington Inn, Northstar Cafe, J. Alexander's

Best pub burger

A veggie burger is usually enjoyed in a casual environment. The sporty/casual Barley's Brewing Company, which serves veggie burgers at its High Street location as well as the Smokehouse in Dublin, also makes great beer that is a perfect complement to the house-made patty.

The soft patty is fashioned from chopped portabella mushrooms, black beans, rice, garlic and a variety of vegetables. The burger is even better when accompanied by one of Barley's brews, and it becomes nearly perfect when served with a side of pierogi. 

Honorable mentions: Matt the Miller's, Hal & Al's Smokehouse BBQ Luna Burger

Best mobile burger

The food truck and cart craze exploded nationally, and that trend is evident in Columbus. Almost any cuisine can be sampled from mobile kitchens that set up all around the 614 area code. While there are many veggie burgers at these mobile food operations, the High Street Herbivore from Street Thyme is the best of the bunch.
Steven Zeppetella, the proprietor of Street Thyme, formerly was a sous chef at the Elevator Brewing Company. His culinary pedigree shows in the double burger, which is made from chickpeas, lentils and corn and topped with a curried yogurt sauce.

The burger goes well with the delicious milkshakes from Street Thyme, as well as the house made tater tots. In order to chase Street Thyme down, check out their location on Twitter and Facebook.

Honorable mentions: OH! Burgers sliders

Best burger you can make at home

Sure getting a veggie burger from a restaurant is nice. But when you want to exercise your culinary muscles while saving a little time, nothing beats firing up the grill, tossing on veggie burgers and choosing your own toppings in the comfort of your own home. If you take this approach to eating veggie burgers, it's hard to beat the delicious patties from Luna Burger

The vegan patties come in multiple flavors. My favorite is the Farmhouse Chili, made from black beans, spelt, kale, cumin, garlic and pepper. It is delicately spicy with a deep flavor that can support a variety of Southwestern, Tex-Mex or Mexican ingredients as well as typical Yankee condiments.

Many restaurants around Columbus sell Luna Burgers too if you don't feel like cooking. 

Honorable mentions: Original Luna Burger, Peanut Cilantro Luna Burger

Best veggie burger alchemy

Whole World Natural Cafe and Bakery is the dean of Columbus vegetarian restaurants. When the other meatless restaurants in the area were merely a dream of their creators, the Whole World Cafe had already been around the block and back again. It has been feeding vegetarians in Clintonville for almost 35 years now. 

While the broccoli burger sounds innocuous, the ingredients seem more incompatible upon closer examination. The patty is made from broccoli, peanut butter, brown rice, garlic, onions and bread crumbs, mashed into a uniform consistency and grilled. If broccoli and peanut butter sound like a horrible match, imagine that the burger is made from truffles and fairy dust and let the ingredients do the rest of the work. The rich peanut butter holds the patty's impossibly harmonious elements together.

The restaurant in Clintonville is fun. Whole World sometimes sells broccoli burgers at Com Fest and a few other summer festivals.

Best fast food burger

While the variety of restaurants in the area offering veggie burgers as well as the armada of food trucks selling them, after a busy work day, sometimes it's best to eat quickly and go home. Columbus-based Graffiti Burger makes a veggie burger that is almost too good to call fast food.

The black bean veggie burger is studded with beets, giving it a medium rare beef color that could fool some carnivores. Toppings are fully customizable, allowing you to just about build your perfect burger.

Honorable mentions: Smashburger


Kaylie McPherson said...

Sounds incredible I'm always in search of the perfect veggie burger!

Kaylie McPherson said...

Sounds amazing! Im always in search of the perfect veggie burger!