Battle of the Burgers



by Luke Glaser

Hamburgers. They are the quintessential American food and a long-time staple of the college student’s diet. This year, UK students returned to find their campus aglow with new restaurants devoted solely to this, arguably the greatest invention of the dietary world.

The Kernel set out to discover each campus hamburger venue, what it claims to offer to the college student and what exactly makes each the best burger joint at UK.

Smashburger, located on Upper Street, is still new to the campus scene after opening last year. Smashburger offers fast-food hamburgers without the look of a fast-food restaurant.

Modern lighting and outdoor seating give students a place to sit back, relax and enjoy an array of menu items. While Smashburger offers hot dogs, shakes and salads (for healthy eaters), most prefer the item that gives Smashburger its name.

“Best burger I’ve ever had,” said early elementary education sophomore Jillian Seiler. Smashburger’s unique menu item is the Bluegrass Burger, a zesty option with a local twist. Wild Turkey Bourbon barbecue sauce and fried banana pepper rings make it a distinctive choice for the Smashburger novice.

Hugh Jass burgers, located on the corner of Limestone and Winslow, came roaring onto campus this year as the newest burger restaurant with plenty of flair. Outdoor seating and live music during the evenings make Hugh Jass a unique venue.

Hugh Jass has a build-your-own-burger option, but its original items are as unique as its name. The #4, a breakfast burger complete with egg and bacon, is one of the restaurant’s most popular choices.

“The burger itself is handmade and 10 ounces,” said manager John Sanders. “The atmosphere is also geared toward the student crowd.”

Marketing junior June Thomas agreed with Sanders.

“It was delicious, a great atmosphere and the sweet potato fries are like a dessert,” Thomas said.

Although it’s farther away on Nicholasville Road, many students think Five Guys makes the drive worthwhile. The restaurant’s pride is in its simplicity.

“Our menu is largely the same at it was since the first store opened in 1986,” said manager Tyler Barton. “Five Guys is still family-owned, and we make each and every burger to order.”

The four burger menu items, hamburgers and cheeseburgers with the option of bacon on both, make Five Guys the place to be for the indecisive. They also offer hot dogs, veggie burgers and spicy Cajun fries.

No words are needed to describe the atmosphere at Tolly Ho, a campus legend for years.

The only venue to offer service 24 hours a day, you know you are on a college campus when you walk within its famed walls. While Tolly Ho offers the most variety, with everything from club sandwiches to fried mushrooms and breakfast whenever you want, the restaurant’s pride and joy is the “Ho Burger.”

“It’s really good, and it’s hard to find a sandwich with ‘Ho’ at the end of it,” said undergraduate studies freshman Molly Starks.

“We have a unique atmosphere, we are a campus and Lexington tradition, we’re a hole in the wall, and we offer whatever you want,” said manager Matt Salyer.

At $7 for a burger, fries and a drink, the “Ho Burger” is easily the least expensive of the bunch. To avoid crowds, do not go late on weekend nights.

With so many options and so many hamburger-crazed students, these four burger joints seem to have a hopeful future, each offering a different setting and menu for their patrons. In the end, it’s not so much who has the best burger as it is what you’re looking for. No doubt, at one of these venues, you’ll be sure to find it.