Burger Tour 2012: Crabill's Holds the Secret

For the time being, I think I’ve found Ohio’s best burger – trumping all burgers in all categories. And for that reason alone, I’ve decided to ditch the metric for which I was determining how I arrived at a certain (mostly arbitrary) number to rank these burgers. Logic should dictate that if the burger is good, so are the accompaniments, the setting, and need to travel wherever it is you need to go to experience said burger. Crabill’s is certainly off the beaten path, but extremely worth the time it takes to journey to Urbana. For generations, existing in one form or another since 1927, it has been the centerpiece of the small Ohio town. That’s not even including the Mumford Potato Chip Company, who have been making the most delectable kettle cooked chips in the country since 1932 – which by the way are the only extras you get at Crabill’s besides home-baked pie. Oh, and they’ve just added ketchup in 1990. Talk about traditions.

I’ve kept Crabill’s in my back pocket for a while now, and I feel I have to apologize. It’s the go-to for anyone who wants to know the secret to the best Ohio burger. Arguably, the Sidney Maid-Rite may have the taste – but it’s not really a burger. Crabill’s make sliders, but sliders only because they are small. Encountering Crabill’s came at the very end of our Western Ohio, and it was so beyond the competition of the day, I didn’t think it should be included. Plus, at that point we couldn’t truly indulge in Crabill’s earthly delights (the guy who came in directly after us, plopped down and ordered 12 doubles…to start). We were stuffed, in need of exercise and coffee, and about to end with what Matt claimed was the world’s smallest hot fudge sundae (which also exists on the outskirts of Urbana). But what we did indulge in was enough to rule this burger the supreme stop of our trip. It was simple – a eight seat counter, with a grill directly to the left of that, and barely enough room to order if the place was at capacity. No plates or cutlery, just a piece of wax paper and some napkins. You have your choice of single or double – with or without the customary onions and brown mustard. Bliss. Their secret, judging from the link above, is folklore – much like the Maid-Rite (though I’ve seen it duplicated quite well). But it’s the essence of a perfect burger – no frills and no gimmicks – and can challenge anything I’ve tried so far.

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