Mini-Review: Paula’s 7-Minute Burger

Paula'sI don’t work downtown, so I rarely get to enjoy the delicious, lunch-only places that dot the downtown landscape. I had to run downtown from my office to pick up a copy of Cincinnati Magazine, so I decided I’d reward myself with a burger from Paula’s.

Paula’s inhabits the old Graeter’s space on 4th street, and is a classic greasy spoon.  Though they’ve only been in this spot for a few years, I remember their crowds in their old location on the Skywalk at 5th and Vine. [Correction: They were also at Findlay Market prior to this location]  Little has changed in the crowd department, or in the food that brings in those crowds.   They serve up up big slices of homemade cake, sandwiches galore, homemade soups (you can buy them by the gallon) and their locally-famous burger. It is, from what I hear, always crowded, and the Friday I visited was no exception.

The staff has no patience for newbies like me– hey, I didn’t know that there was a form to fill out– but they’re nice anyway. “Fill out the form. Come back.” I filled out the form– I decided on caramelized onions, lettuce, mayo, mustard and American cheese on my burger– and handed it back. “Fries?” That’s a silly question. And I stood back, pulled out my Kindle and read while people-watching.  In about ten minutes (not 7…), I had a greasy bag in my hand and I was on my way back up the highway.   I munched a few crispy, thin fries on the walk to the car, and realized that I really needed to get a picture of the burger pre-20 mile drive, so I pulled off on Dana Avenue, found a parking lot, and grabbed a shot.

The burger is beautiful, as far as burgers go, on a Shadeau bun, but it manages  to taste even better than it looks.  The meat is juicy and just a bit pink on the inside, the toppings flavorful and messy– pick up extra napkins.   This is not a prim and proper burger, but one that bites back.  Don’t wear a white shirt to eat this one.   The fries are delicious as well, if standard, but hey– I have a thing for skinny, crispy fries.

Next time, I’m grabbing some soup and some of what I hear is really good chicken salad.

Paula's Cafe on Urbanspoon

  • Tammy

    The Paula’s Fave salad is also very good.

  • Casey

    Paula’s was previously in the Pho Lang space at Findly Market before moving to this location.

  • rperson

    Hey, no fish on Friday’s? We don’t do that either. (Probably should, though)

    .I think a good fish sandwich for some restaurant to come up with would be called Cincinnati O’Fish, as McDonald’s Filet O’Fish sandwich was invented here in Cincinnati for Lent. Originally using halibut. The inventor is named occasionally in some local newspaper articles and is still living in the Cincinnati area, I believe.

    • http://winemedinemecincinnati.com Julie

      I’ll tell you what, having grown up Catholic (but no longer practicing), I still felt kind of guilty eating that burger on a Friday in Lent!  I made up for it by going to a fish fry the next night (and barely eating the next day– ha).