Monday, August 31, 2020

Stevenson's Bar + Grill

Named the No. 1 best burger in Cleveland by Thrillist in 2019, Stevenson’s Bar & Grill had to make it onto my 2020 To Dine Challenge list. Did the burger live up to the hype?

Around since the 1920s (moved to current location), it's everything you want a classic dive bar to be: nondescript and even ugly from the outside, but charming with its obvious "regulars", an acceptable amount of grit everywhere, and features like a bar bowling machine. A good-sized parking lot is just to the left of the building and we had no trouble finding a spot even though the bar appeared busy. 

We called in a takeout order because we're not comfortable dining in anywhere yet, and I'm glad we did because this wasn't exactly COVID compliant. Spacing issues and no barriers in sight, some staff wearing masks but others not, and most masks worn were wearing them incorrectly. I watched patrons come out for a smoke and head back in, all while never putting a mask on. So clearly they are letting things slide there.

We took our "Lil Fella" ($6.50) of a single patty with lettuce, pickle, and a secret special white sauce to the park for a picnic. I also had Onion Rings ($4.75), and Mr. H had Jalapeno Poppers ($6).

The onion rings were perfect and even traveled the two miles in a Styrofoam container well. The poppers were cheddar cheese stuffed and a little small, but pretty standard and enjoyable for a frozen product. 

So...the burger. First, that bun was a really darn good bun. Buttered and toasted, it's exactly the type of bun I want with my burger. The patty was clearly not made in-house, as it was too perfectly formed. At 1/3 lb. per patty as the menu states, I thought the "Big Guy" double would be too large, but I'd order that next time. The meat was a little thin. The secret white sauce had no distinct flavor, so even with our best attempt to figure it out, we couldn't. I even asked a couple of folks that eat the burger regularly, and it's still a mystery. Overall, I'd say this burger is much better than your average dive bar burger. I can see why there's a loyal following. 

But "best burger" titles and awards in Cleveland? Not for me, at least. Those claims lie with Tremont Tap House, The Black Pig, and Tinman. It doesn't feel apples to apples in comparison. This one may fall closer to a Swenson's-style burger, but they'll always reign supreme in my book. However, I'd recommend this one. Who has your favorite burger in Northeast Ohio?

Stevenson's Bar & Grill
800 E 200th Street
Cleveland, OH 44119
(216) 999-7156


Lenaia said...

My favorite Cleveland proper burger is at Toast. Cory loves Gunselmans in Fairview (they also have a mind blowing ramen soup although I think that's a cool weather menu option). Mike's bar in Berea also has great burgers and food in general. My favorite from childhood burger is Midway Oh Boy in Elyria.

Bite Buff said...

A few there I haven’t tried, so thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Great place, great food, great staff. Burgers are fantastic! Cleveland staple. What more could you ask for? Love it!!