While in Cincinnati for his Advance Sommelier test, Husband created this dispatch from the road, just for you . . . Thanks Husband!
I love you Rossi, but you’ve met your match.
And its name is Terry’s Turf Club. Fortunately, my test mates were kind enough to invite me for a post-service exam burger and beer and I was smart enough to go along. Terry’s is situated near the Ohio River on the outskirts of Cincinnati. We travelled east from downtown, crossed through a few less-than-savory neighborhoods until we finally reached a small neon-accented restaurant across from a ragged factory. Some garish 80’s-era neon accents the outside (and part of the inside). Kitschy, junk-all-around restaurants are now a dime-a-dozen, but Terry’s junk seems to be come by honestly…and some of it is really wonderful junk.
Take the Bevador for example. It’s a beverage cooler which resembles a small missile or grain silo with a faux beer cap on top. The inside contains multiple round shelves which can rotate and be accessed through a door in the side:
Neither my descriptions nor my pictures can do these imposing shining coolers justice. Two sit behind the bar and one sits in the dining area. All are in use and all occupy an integral part of the “décor.” While the décor is great, it’s the drink list and ultimately the burger that bring the magic. I know of no burger joints where you can get Ommegang Hennepin Ale, old Armagnac and Pear Eau-de-Vie in addition to Rolling Rock and Budweiser. And, while the drink selection is top-notch, it’s the burger…the glorious burger…that is the center piece here.
Following the lead of my classmates, I ordered a burger with everything and grilled banana peppers. Said burger, accompanied by potato chips, arrived on a beautifully glistening bun. According to my classmates, the patties are all hand-formed and the tomatoes are hand-picked for size and overall deliciousness…and delicious it was. The beef was juice and nicely beefy. It was perfectly balanced by thick-sliced ripe tomato, grilled onion and, most importantly, the tangy smoky heat of the grilled banana pepper. I’m not sure who first proposed the idea of the grilled banana pepper, but I’d like to meet them, maybe shake their hand, buy them a beer, put them in my will….it’s a fiery tangy component that takes a great hunk of beef to another level:
In addition to being a delicious hunk of beef, it’s a juicy hunk of beef. I learned that the proper way to tackle the burger was to hold it over the plate, thereby allowing the juices to soak into the accompanying potato chips. The chips take on a little sog but the delicious beefy juices more than make up for the slight sog.
Honestly kitschy atmosphere, excellent drink selection and, most importantly, a burger par-excellence. 5 fries. Thanks Mary & Laura, for taking me along!
Terry’s Turf Club
4618 Eastern Ave
Cincinnati, Oh 45226