Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ms. Helen's Grille @ Findlay Market


The Vanessa!

the patty 3.9
the bun 5.4
the fixin's 5.7
the sides 6.8
total package 5.0

accessibility 5.7
the service 8.9
cleanliness 7.4
the price 8.1
"it" factor 7.0


Findlay Market (Map It!) is one of the coolest attractions Cincinnati has to offer. If you have never been, go immediately. Ms. Helen's Grille has been a fixture of Findlay Market for years, and she supplies the Queen City with amazing soul food—ribs, collard greens, cornbread, etc. The Cirque team thought it would be fun to spend an afternoon at Findlay Market, and we were right. As far as burgers go, Ms. Helen's Grille is a nice place to stop if you are buying meats and produce and need a quick snack. The fries were pretty good, and it was a very inexpensive meal (six bucks for a double cheeseburger, fries, and a drink!), but she would never claim to serve the best burger in Cincinnati. It definitely wasn't, but we knew that going in. Findlay Market has something for everyone, so don't let the Vanessa score scare you away.

Findlay Market is a pretty cool place and we took a chance on the burger hoping to be rewarded for our open mindedness. We were not. I'm not going to go into the many reasons that the burger was less than ok, but I will say that it was still a fun experience. Honestly the place was just a booth in the market, and based on the crowd and wait time I really thought it was going to be good. Looking for the best burger in town? Keep on moving.

I give this burger the honorary title of "The Dolorean." Biting into that grey patty instantly took me back in time to the front porch of my college house sophomore year. We used sit out there with our cheap beer and tiny Coleman Grill cooking equally grey, beef-like burgers. For three bucks I got a huge bite of nostalgia on Sunday. If Cirque goes on a rib tour we're heading back to Ms. Helen's. They looked money.

Love sitting in the Beer Garden...Love hanging out with friends....Love Ms. Helen. Do not love the burgers that Ms. Helen produces. This burger may obtain the most feared Cousin Pam rating.

Findlay Market is one of my favorite places in the city. There are incredible vendors (the cheese man is a must!), and there are some really great places to eat. Ms. Helen's was not one of them. I found the burger inedible - after three bites it was in the trash. However, Liz and I stopped down at Angelina Fine Italian Foods for perhaps the best Italian hot panini of my life. That is the beauty of Findlay Market - there is something for everyone.

The only good thing about Ms. Helen's is that it was cheap so I didn't feel so bad replacing it with a delicious Italian panini from Angelina's Fine Italian Foods. Now THAT sandwich was something to write about.

If we ever do a soul food tour then this is the only time that I might stop back at Ms. Helen's. Besides that I'll check out some of the other awesome places Findley Market has to offer.

If someone would have served this meal during a picnic, people would have raved. I think our expectations are so high that we are distorting the scores when they don't live up to the hype. Findlay Market is great. Ms. Helen is a Cincinnati tradition. It is a sad day when Cirque gives her a Vanessa.


  1. I didn't know that Ms. Helen's served burgers-- I always think of her for breakfast sandwiches and ribs. And I will continue to think of her for those things.

  2. the breakfast sandwich looked amazing!! i think that's more her specialty :)

  3. I invite you to Wilkat tavern in Florence www.wilkattavern.com we have recieved a Momback but could be a super momback had all 5 guys been in attendance..........www.wilkattavern.com