Fifteen dollars for Poutine? Hoser.

Cincinnati Bites
Blue Ash Chili Pancakes

Posted Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gas Light Cafe is a bar and restaurant located at 6104 Montgomery Road, in the heart of gaslight-infused Pleasant Ridge. It's next door to Everybody's Records and across the street from Molly Malone's.

There is an ample parking lot behind the building, accessible via Orion Ave. We didn't know that at the time, instead parking at one of the metered spaces out front along Montgomery Rd.

I'd been wanting to try Gas Light for quite a while; it was one of the few remaining Pleasant Ridge restaurants I had yet to visit, despite being a former resident. So when a co-worker suggested our three-man crew hit up the place for our weekly lunch road trip, I enthusiastically jumped at the chance.

Stepping into the place was like being transported back in time. I don't know how long Gas Light's been around, but it seemed clear the building has always housed a bar. There was a heavy permanence to the art deco-like, two-tone wood design of the booths, each with its own personal chrome coat rack reaching out at the ceiling like a gleaming claw. At every booth were a set of four narrow mirror panels, each set into the wall at an angle, offering a different perspective of the place for each patron.

Like The Food Hussy, I'd read about Gas Light's burger being rated as the fourth-best in the city, as chosen by Cincinnati Magazine. It seemed like unusually high praise for a place mostly known as a local watering hole. Then again, the success of TV shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives proves some of the best food comes from "dives" like this, prepared with just an extra edge of care and pride.

Regulars at Gas Light Cafe were apparent: at one point, a man sat down and asked our server to pour him a glass of his "usual," the name of which she rattled off immediately. Several LCD TVs hung from behind the bar, offering various sports channels. Hundreds of old photos lined the walls, most with sports-related themes. A photo of Pete Rose flipping the bird was among our favorites.

There was only one sticky menu at our booth to share, but given the abbreviated choices, it didn't take long to scan. It lists typical bar food: wings, nachos and potato skins along with burgers, sandwiches and soups. Most items are ordered a la carte, although burgers and sandwiches do come standard with chips and a pickle spear. Daily lunch and dinner specials are available, regularly updated on Gas Light's sign out front.

The three of us each chose a variation of their burger: I chose the Gas Light Burger, a 1/2-pound cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and mayonnaise. We also split a side of crinkle-cut fries and onion rings. Coke products are sold here, so I chose the increasingly rare-to-find Mello Yellow to drink.

The Gas Light Burger

All food is served in familiar red plastic baskets. When our burgers arrived, the grilled smell hitting my nostrils evoked childhood memories of family cookouts by a charcoal grill. Served in a soft, corn-dusted Kaiser roll, the patties were think, cooked through and juicy, with a pleasing grilled char. The height of the Gas Light Burger made it somewhat of a challenge to eat, but I persevered. The toppings tasted fresh, and the fries and onion rings were hot and crispy, with a pleasing aroma of fresh grease.

Gas Light Cafe easily lived up to our expectations. Its burger's fourth-place ranking is well deserved. I haven't tried all the burger joints in town, but based on what I have, the Gas Light Burger would be number one. To me, it's better than Zips, better than Quatman's, better than City View. And that's saying something.

Gas Light Cafe on Urbanspoon
Gas Light Cafe

Price: Cheap (under $11 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 3.0 out of 43.0 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. A Very 90s Lunch: Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop
    -posted Sunday, November 19, 2017
  2. No-Nonsense Italian: The Spinning Fork
    -posted Monday, October 16, 2017
  3. A Mediocre Lunch at Firehouse Grill
    -posted Sunday, October 8, 2017
  4. Southern Indian Impressions: Udupi Cafe
    -posted Saturday, September 23, 2017
  5. New Downtown Korean Restaurant: Haru
    -posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    Thanks for writing, Heather. I definitely like their other restaurants. Lalo's pazole and fish taco are better than Mazunte's, I think. But I agree they are definitely hit-or-miss. I'm still rooting for them, though. There's talent there. :)

    posted: Mon., Nov 20th, 2017 @ 1:30 PM
  • From Heather JOhnson about Dope! Noodle and Dumpling Shop:
    I tried Huit & Lalo and they were both expensive and so mixed - one thing great - another thing barely mediocre. More of the same it sounds like - hits and misses for a really expensive lunch. Nope on Dope.
    posted: Sun., Nov 19th, 2017 @ 12:41 PM
  • From TJ Jackson about Udupi Cafe:
    I do not know if it is truly a match for the product you remember, but Frostop Root Beer is sold at Jungle Jims and is a personal favorite of mine.
    posted: Fri., Sep 29th, 2017 @ 6:00 PM
  • From Jones about Haru Korean Restaurant:
    As a long time reader, I found this review to be one of your loveliest and most enthusiastically vivid. I can't wait to try this place!
    posted: Tue., Aug 29th, 2017 @ 9:48 AM
  • From Jordan about Grand Central Delicatessen:
    posted: Sat., Jun 3rd, 2017 @ 12:16 PM
  • From Tabitha about Tickle Pickle:
    Haha, love your comment: " If you were deemed "different" in high school, dressed "weird" or regularly got beat up only to go on to have a decidedly higher net worth and confidence level than the rest of your abusive, judgmental peers, Northside is your home away from home." I know I saw a Groupon for Tickle Pickle recently - might have to check if that's still available!
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:33 PM
  • From Tabitha about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    This is definitely going on the list. Thanks for posting. Do they also have margaritas?
    posted: Fri., Apr 14th, 2017 @ 12:23 PM
  • From holly may about Urban Grill on Main:
    This is Israeli couscous, the super tiny stuff is Moroccan. I personally prefer the Israeli (also known as "pearl".)
    posted: Fri., Mar 24th, 2017 @ 4:28 AM
  • From Sommer about Chilango Fresh Mexican:
    We really love having Chilango so close to us in the Kings area!!! We have gone a few times and you are right - the Chicken Tinga is the best chicken taco you can get in Cincinnati!!! Thanks for reviewing this little neighborhood gem!
    posted: Tue., Mar 21st, 2017 @ 9:12 AM
  • From Tabitha about Lalo: they have margaritas?
    posted: Thu., Jan 12th, 2017 @ 12:32 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design