Led Zeppelin sings there is one stairway to heaven, but at Burger Bar 419 in Sylvania Township there are many paths that can lead to burger bliss.
At Burger Bar 419, 5215 Monroe St., the grass-fed beef patty slipped between two halves of lightly toasted bun is given the VIP treatment. Let me count the ways it's glorified. Toppings include tangy coleslaw, fried green tomatoes, crunchy onion rings, portobello mushrooms, short ribs, crispy bacon, hot sauce, buttery butter, sautéed onions … I could go on and on, but I fear the more I write the more tempted I would be to leave this article and head over there now for a flippin' piece of that juicy beef, which is locally sourced from Tank's Meats in Elmore, Ohio.
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Last spring, the location of the former Star Bar and Grille was transformed into a full-blown eatery that places the all American classic at center stage, making it the second Burger Bar location in Toledo. The atmosphere is fun and lively. The long bar at the center of the room serves as a great social piece.
★ ★ ★ ★
Address: 5125 Monroe St.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with extended bar hours Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 2:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average Price: $$
Credit Cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: burgerbar419.com
There are eight flat screen TVs and a giant one. Local modern and abstract art claim the walls. The contemporary vibe is strengthened by the two garage doors that line one wall and in the summer open up to a large patio complete with a full service bar.
When we visited for lunch I ordered the Flintstones-sized roasted marrow bones ($8) topped with roasted onions and garlic. Once I broke the marrow's gelatinous seal a river of golden-hued juice freely flowed. This juice tastes like the prized liquid that seeps from a steak when it's just off the grill. However, I could not fully grasp it because it was served with flat pita bread. The bone marrow deserves a spongy, airy bread to sop up the fatty goodness — hint, hint. We also had large batter-fried onion petals ($5.50), which were curved just enough to scoop out a house made chipotle mayonnaise.
I thought the pâté melt ($10) would be some froufrou burger. I stand corrected. My burger was a sandwich beast with grilled onions and mushrooms spilling over the sides. The slab of pâté melted into a creamy topping that deepened the beef flavor. It was served with a side of hand cut fries large enough to be a dish on its own. My friend chose the Carolina BBQ ($10), slathered in coleslaw and BBQ sauce. It had a sweet surprise in the middle — a giant crunchy fried onion ring.
Two friends ordered from the right side of the menu dubbed the Unusual Suspects. The Cuban burger ($9) consists of pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, and sweet pineapple layered between a long, herbed bun. The Three Little Pigs ($10) takes pork to the third power. The sandwich is stacked with a ground pork patty, followed by barbecued pulled pork, with crispy bacon on top. My companion chose a side of baked cheddar-bacon mac and cheese, cheesy macaroni dotted with bits of smoky bacon.
For dinner, we started off with chipotle pickled pineapple and goat cheese crostini ($5). The pineapple was roasted for sweetness that balanced the tangy goat cheese. We thought the bread was over toasted. It took a hard chomp to break off a piece of it. With perfectly pink-orange flesh a bowl of steamed mussels ($8) was served in a delicate white wine broth, spiced with chorizo sausage, onions, and tomatoes. I had to stop myself from devouring the entire appetizer and asking for a spoon to ladle up the infused broth.
For the main course I ordered the Heater ($10). The burger is hot, hot, hot, just the way I like it. It derives its triple heat punch from green chile sauce that covers the bun, grilled jalapenos and serrano chili peppers that spill over the sides, and melted pepper jack cheese. My friend ordered the Mother and Child sandwich ($10), from the Unusual Suspects side, a chicken patty married with an egg sunny side up.
Another companion stayed with the burger tradition, ordering the Budda Burger ($8). The dish spotlight's the joy in simplicity. The burger has only three toppings: American cheese, grilled onions, and a pat of butter. The ingredients brought out the succulent tender beef.
We finished the meal with milkshakes. I chose the PB&J shake ($5), which I enjoyed except for the glob of squishy jelly at the bottom of the tall glass. The jelly's texture and flavor disturbed the smoothness and delight of the milk chocolate peanut butter blend. The restaurant also creates cool concoctions for adults, such as the Bourbon and Bacon Shakedown ($8) that blends Kentucky bourbon with vanilla bean ice cream and bacon and a Brown Cow Float ($8).
There are also a variety of beers on tap and an extensive martini list.
The restaurant also caters to vegetarians, dedicating a small section of the menu to meat-free foods including a bean-based burger. For those counting calories there are a handful of salads available and each can be ordered with grilled chicken or steak.
The restaurant offers customers the opportunity to personalize their dishes. Beef burgers can be switched out for ground pork or chicken at no extra charge. Gluten free bread is available for wheat weary tummies.
In-house mayonnaise ranges in flavors from anchovy-caper, garlic, and tarragon. Mustard varieties go beyond Dijon and spicy, with whole grain and hot German flavors. Ketchup is spiced with berries, mango, curry, and more.
In my experience the service is slow and the waitresses are not attentive, but the customers don't seem to mind.
While some new-wave burger joints take the burger and add numerous fixings it turns into an unrecognizable monster that can't fit into your mouth, Burger Bar 419 knows that the beef patty is the heavenly ingredient and all the other ingredients must bow down to its holiness.
Contact Bill of Fare at email@example.com.
Star ratings are based on comparisons of similar restaurants. The Blade pays for critics' meals.41.70019 -83.64867
Burger Bar 419's second location just as juicy as first.