***update 2*** In my original review, I said the fries could use a double frying method. Today we visited GB again and agreed the fries are probably indeed double fried. my mistake! ****
***update*** I forgot 3 things in the original review:
1. it can be hard to hear your name called when your order is ready, so be sure your ears are perked up.
2. there were actually vanilla beans in my milkshake. Lots of them.
3. my only beef with Graffiti Burger was the styrofoam takeout box. There was no recycling logo on the bottom of it; I would love to see a simple paper/cardboard box instead. They are about the same price.
When I began the Best burger in Ohio hunt many many months ago, I received tons of great suggestions. Far before Five Guys ever came to Ohio, I had received lots of suggestions for them. I tried to go to the campus location the other day. I walked in the door, and the smell and feeling of grease was so overwhelming I just stood there in shock for a few moments before wandering back out onto High Street and heading across the street to Potbelly.
Friday, when I was on All Sides with Marilyn Smith, everyone was talking about Graffiti Burger and how delicious it was. They got so specific about the shakes, the toppings, the yummy toasted buns, that I was hoping my growling tummy couldn't be heard over the radio waves. I left the studio and headed straight for 5th ave, making an illegal U turn in my haste to get there.
There are 2 Graffiti Burger locations: Sawmill at Hard Rd (Dublin, North of 270) and 5th ave, in the former Starbucks location (don't worry, the other Starbucks right down the street is still open). The building is clean and bright, and appropriately enough, filled with airbrushed, graffiti-style art. The painting was good, but I would have loved it if they had a few different artists do the painting so there was variation.
There was also this painting, which I couldn't decide was disturbing or funny. Of course, those two are rarely mutually exclusive.
The 5th Ave location features a long bar down the center of the restaurant, which is nice for waiting for your order if you are getting carryout. On a Sunday afternoon visit, the bar was full of well-behaved children of all ages. It seemed to be the thing to do for parents to deposit their children at the counter and then sit at nearby tables.
Graffiti burger makes things easy by not providing a million choices. I am quite fond of this sort of eatery, because sometimes it's hard for me to make up my mind and when I'm in a place that does one thing really well then I don't have to think about it.
On my first visit, I ordered the Graffiti burger for myself (which includes a great slaw, pickles, graffiti sauce, and tomatoes) and a burger with mustard, pickle and onions for Husband, who supposedly doesn't like slaw. I also ordered a large basket of fries and a chocolate milkshake. This order was for carryout. I've gotta start by discussing the milkshake.
There are 2 varieties of shakes: chocolate and vanilla. Both have a base of vanilla ice cream and milk, with chocolate syrup thrown in for the chocolate option. The shake comes with real whipped cream (of the RediWhip variety, if I had to put money on it) and a cherry on top. So immediately when you are presented with your shake, you are happy, because whipped cream and a cherry make everything better. The shake was the perfect texture, flavor, everything. It was delicious. It was so good that I sucked down every bit of it on the drive home and then could only eat 2 bites of my burger.
The standard burger ($4.99) is a double patty - hand-formed, tasty, big patties, topped with American cheese and placed atop a very good bun toasted in butter (toasting is very important when it comes to burgers). There is a list of basic toppings which are free and the a few premium toppings available for $1.
We were pretty happy with our carryout burgers. So happy, in fact, that we went back only 2 days later. This time we decided to eat in. Due to the enormity of the regular burger, this time I went for the Jr. burger with all of the toppings included with the regular Graffiti burger (the Jr. version contains only one patty, and costs $3.99). Again we shared a large basket of fries which was perfect for us (some people in our family can really put away some fries). I resisted the shake because well, I had ice cream for breakfast and there just has to be some restraint every once in awhile.
Toppings are very fresh and tasty. Behind the counter is a very clean double cooler filled with fresh topping which are all dated and well organized (probably something only a restaurant veteran would notice, but still very important). The slaw is great; it is not a mayo-based slaw, and has curious additions such as sweet pickled banana peppers. The patties, said to be never-frozen Angus, have a great meaty flavor. We both commented that the meat flavor stood up perfectly to the toppings. The patties don't suffer from over-seasoning, just letting their meat flavor shine. Buns are very nice, maintain decent integrity considering the toppings (the 2 patty Graffiti burger gets a little messy, but it's worth it), and are nicely toasted in butter.
The fries at Graffiti burger are of the very fresh, very potato-y, hand cut daily variety. My only gripe is they aren't too crisp and could benefit from a double fry preparation. They are very tasty; I sprinkled my share with some malt vinegar and extra salt. The fries have such a pronounced potato flavor that you almost feel like you are eating a healthy potato product and not something cooked in a vat of oil.
Halfway through his burger, Husband said a little wistfully "if only they had grilled banana peppers...."
Service was quick both times, especially considering long lines on both visits. Lonely ladies, take note - Graffiti Burger is full of men, especially during lunchtime.
Husband and I both agreed: Graffiti Burger is the best either of us have had in Columbus; as much as I love the Rossi, I have to admit, the Graffiti Burger edges beats the Rossi burger by half a fry. Graffiti Burger does, indeed rule, just like their website says.
A solid 4.5 fries, maybe even 4.75.