Basmati rice. Dirty Rice. Sticky Rice.

Cincinnati Bites
Mushroom and Swiss Burger from Main Street Cafe from

Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I was looking forward to experiencing Bru Burger Bar in Cincinnati after it had recently opened in what's become a rather doomed location cater-corner to Nada. The interior is vastly different (read: improved) from the former Cadillac Ranch and El Coyote location: it's smaller and cozier, with smooth contemporary lines, dark wood throughout and a striking lack of a mechanical bull...

The menu is chock full of about two dozen burger and sandwich varieties offering several proteins. Beyond beef, there's pulled pork, mahi-mahi, ahi tuna, cod, lamb and even several vegetarian options like portobello mushroom, quinoa and garbanzo bean-based burgers. Sides include fresh cut fries, onion rings and a very delectable-looking roasted jalapeno mac-n-cheese.

I chose the signature "Bru Burger" and a side of onion rings ($14). The burger was a cooked-to-order beef patty topped with pungent taleggio cheese, bacon, mayo, "tomato jam" (i.e. Bru's homemade ketchup), lettuce and caramelized onions on an oversized bun.

I've seen some very impressive photos of meals from the other three locations this Indianapolis-based chain offers (it's the same company that runs the superior Moerlein House), but I found my meal a bit underwhelming given the price. The onion rings were greasy and one "ring" actually lacked onion --it was just a strip of empty fried batter.

Bru Burger Bru Burger w/onion rings

Wait times were rather long, which can be somewhat forgiven for a freshly opened business. We finally received our plates twenty minutes later and were about to dive in only to be immediately interrupted by our server, who wanted to sell us on VIP cards. He droned through his spiel as I tried to focus on the food before me. My co-worker, who happened to be paying for the business meal this time around, was offered the VIP card, and then the server strangely made a point to deny me one because he claimed only "paying customers" were eligible (That's great, buddy, but I hadn't even asked for a card). Interestingly, their website reads, "Becoming a VIP is fast, easy, and - best of all - free."

In any case, the long wait, passable burgers, steep prices and disjointed service left me wanting. There are plenty of good burger places in town, and this one must really step up its game if it hopes to break the 6th St. curse.

Bru Burger Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Bru Burger Bar

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Fair
Rating: 2.5 out of 42.5 stars

Other Recent Reviews

  1. A Mediocre Lunch at Firehouse Grill
    -posted Sunday, October 8, 2017
  2. Southern Indian Impressions: Udupi Cafe
    -posted Saturday, September 23, 2017
  3. New Downtown Korean Restaurant: Haru
    -posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017
  4. Pleasant Ridge Impressions: Nine Giant Brewing
    -posted Monday, August 7, 2017
  5. Mediterranean Musings at Milya Cafe
    -posted Sunday, July 16, 2017
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • 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
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Swad Indian:
    @MJ: I heard family members of those who'd run Dusmesh now work out of the former Amol India in Clifton. It's called, Grill of India (
    posted: Thu., Dec 29th, 2016 @ 11:45 PM
  • From mj about Swad Indian:
    It seems Swad has changed hands. Have not see the former Dusmesh owners in my last visit (10/1/2016) and the food is just ok. Wonder where they went this time?
    posted: Wed., Dec 28th, 2016 @ 8:22 AM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design