Lucky’s Burger & Brew – Roswell, GA

When we visited Atlanta for a concert last weekend, we had a chance to have lunch with friends at Lucky’s.  I’ll tell you that after a warm afternoon baseball game, there was no better place in the northern ‘burbs to go!  A family-friendly sports bar with an ample menu and great atmosphere, we loved our visit.  Even mid-afternoon there was a 20-minute wait, but we managed to pass the time with a selection of local craft beers and a few tosses of cornhole bags on the back lawn.  There’s also a large “party pavilion” outside, complete with large-screen TV, that seats as many as 60 people!  You have the option of sitting in the restaurant or on the dog-friendly patio and we opted for the former.

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Surrounded by dog pictures and plenty of TV’s, we perused the large menu.  I was really impressed with the appetizer selection and ordered the fried pickles – my wife never turns them down!  Crispy and hot, they’re served with ranch or blue cheese for dipping and are some of the best I’ve had!  I’d have loved the fried pimento cheese bites and/or chili cheese tots, but I had a burger to get to.  The table ordered a variety of burgers and wings so we could get a good taste of the most important stuff.  The Memphis Blood Hound was cooked to order and topped with pickled red onion, cheddar cheese, bacon and sweet and spicy mango BBQ sauce.  It was awesome in every way and left me with no regrets on my choice.  The signature is the award-winning Georgia Dawg Pounder topped with a fried pimento cheese ball, red pepper jelly and mayo – whoa!  While I would have loved fresh-cut fries, both of their regular and sweet potato fries were pretty good.

An order of wings came out plump, hot and crispy.  They were smothered in medium sauce, but had a serious kick to them as you had a few!  They were really good though and I would definitely get them again as an appetizer or meal again.  The kids were thrilled with their burger and chicken fingers so you know it’s a place everyone can enjoy.  I saw other sandwiches and salads come from the kitchen and everything looked fresh and delicious.  Really, there’s a ton to try and we can’t wait to go back again!

Who doesn’t love great service, tasty food and a fun atmosphere?  You have three locations to visit in the Atlanta area and I suggest you get to one near you ASAP!  You can find out more about their locations, menu and party planning at luckysburgerandbrew.com.  Dig in!

B Spot – Strongsville, OH

There are a lot of places to get a burger around town, but few reach the grand height of deliciousness as Michael Symon’s B Spot!  In a world of frozen patties and fast-minded service, B Spot stands out for their fresh ground burgers, inventive topping combinations and homemade sauces.  On a recent trip to Cleveland for business I had my first taste of B Spot while having lunch with my sister.

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In a busy strip mall you’ll find the warm and inviting atmosphere of B Spot.  It’s decorated with wood and metal and enough TV’s for sports, but not an overwhelming bar feel.  It was busy for a late Sunday lunch, but it’s the holidays and we were near the mall so I expected as such.  I’ve heard it’s busy like this all the time though!  We were seated and immediately greeted by friendly staff.  There’s an ample craft beer selection and a list of made-to-order milkshakes that can be amped up with booze if you so choose – hello!!  I had a blonde ale from Sibling Revelry since it’s a friend’s friend’s new brewery, an excellent choice I might say!

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The place is known for their burgers, but there was a good menu with choices like house-made bratwurst and bologna sandwiches.  I settled on the Fun Guy – sautéed mushrooms and onions and topped with cheese.  My sister had the Fat Doug with pastrami, cole slaw and swiss.  Both were perfectly cooked to order, extremely juicy and had just the right ratio of meat-to-bun-to-toppings that let you get a tasty bite of everything every time!  I love when you can really enjoy a burger without it all falling apart and these hit the nail on the head.  I thought the size was perfect, but you can add a patty if you’re tank is running a little on empty.  We split the rosemary fries which was enough for two to share.  Salty, crispy and perfumed with herbs, they were excellent and not the typical disappointing fries you get in most places.

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You can enhance all of the food with 6 different signature sauces at your table – I love the coffee BBQ and the mustardy relish!  Oh, did I mention there’s a house-made pickle bar??  Honestly, everything was done right here and the attention to detail was really refreshing considering they’re growing quickly.  With 8 locations in Ohio, Detroit and Indianapolis you have no reason to not seek one out and have a great lunch or dinner.  I can’t wait for a chance to try the New School bologna sandwich and a side of pork cracklings!!  Thanks Michael, for putting the ingredients first and keeping the burger game real in middle America!!  You can check out their website here for menu and locations bspotburgers.com. Dig in!

Krueger’s Tavern – Cincinnati

The OTR (Over-The-Rhine) area of Cincinnati continues to draw great restaurant and retail development and has firmly secured itself as “the place to see and be seen” downtown.  Last weekend we tried a new (to us) spot in Krueger’s and it will definitely be one to come back to again and again.  Situated right on Vine Street it’s on the south end of the strip.  And like some of it’s sister establishments it has just enough seating and an open garage-door-front that gives you a great place for lunch, dinner and/or drinks while watching the eclectic mix of people stroll by.  However, what Kruger’s has that the others do not is an awesome rooftop deck that’s perfect for afternoon sunshine or evening dining al fresco.

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With a fairly nondescript modern american interior, there is seating at the bar, a few tables and then a wall of tables with banquette seating.  It’s warm, comfortable and a little dark – which I like!  There’s a diverse drink menu with craft cocktails and two beers on tap.  That’s right, just two.  You also have your choice of an amazing array of 70 canned beers as well – from local faves to classic PBR tall boys.  We grabbed a few cans and started our lunch with the warm pretzels and beer cheese.  Made with Rhinegeist Cougar and sharp cheddar, it was delicious.  I’m kicking myself that we didn’t add sausage to it!  The cheese is kept warm in a cast-iron skillet over a small flame – bonus points for the fresh presentation and beer cheese that stays steamy to the last bite!

Krueger’s is known for their house-ground burgers and sausages so we naturally had to sample both.  The burgers are fresh with full beefy flavor and perfectly crispy edges.  They’re all doubles and the classic was excellent.  There are A LOT of great burger places in Cincy and this one is right up there with the best.  We also tried the Lincolnshire english sausage with colcannon (a scrumptious mixture of whipped potatoes and wilted kale).  It was perfectly spiced and a really hearty dish.

Overall, we were definitely impressed with the menu and the fact that they do just a few things and do them really well.  The team at TRG, founders of The Eagle and Bakersfield, hit another home run with this one.  You can find out more on their website at kruegerstavern.com.