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Chef Zach’s Take on 5 Mouthwatering Henderson Burgers

Chef Zachary Overfield is a born and raised Hendersonian, having grown up in the East End and still residing in the neighborhood. He’s successfully managed multiple kitchens and is currently head chef and culinary instructor at Earle C. Clements Job Corps. Join us each month for Chef Zach’s culinary adventures around Henderson!


Chef Zach’s Take on 5 Mouthwatering Henderson Burgers
By Zach Overfield

Visitors around Henderson are always amazed when I tell them of the wonderful culinary creations in our town. Everyone enjoys a great burger, and Henderson is home to some of the best. Join me as I visit five locally owned and operated restaurants in Henderson that know how to throw down when it comes to burgers.

Metzger’s Tavern: 1000 Powell Street

First up, I visited Metzger’s Tavern where they’re known for a friendly staff, cold beverages, a historic building and delicious bar food. The second oldest tavern in Kentucky, most would consider this a dive bar. When it comes to a good old fashioned cheeseburger and a cold drink, you can’t beat it. The atmosphere is traditionally a working class joint and the characters you’ll meet are die-hard regulars that have been frequenting the tavern for decades. For myself, a born and bred East End kid, it’s a staple. You’ve gotta try it—and if you’re feeling froggy, make it a double! The average setup on one of their flattop griddled, thin patty burgers includes chopped onion and pickle. In my eyes, simple is sometimes the best way—but if you’re up for a culinary adventure, try the spicy mustard. These classic thin burgers have been a mainstay in Henderson for decades.

Double patty burger at Metzger’s Tavern

Commonwealth Kitchen & Bar: 108 2nd Street

The second stop on my burger tour through Henderson is Commonwealth Kitchen & Bar, known to the locals as CKB. In the few years CKB has called Henderson home, this gastropub’s fan base has expanded throughout the region thanks to its unique cocktail and craft beer selection and unexpected twist on culinary favorites. The fried green tomato burger is a juicy burger patty cooked to your liking and topped with fried green tomato cooked to a crispy perfection with a spicy fruit chutney, finished off with a toasted brioche bun. This burger has a lot of flavors, and each and every one hits a high note on your pallet. Each and every ingredient can be detected with each bite. CKB and its fried green tomato burger is a must for your visit to downtown Henderson.

Fried Tomato Burger from CKB

Rookies Sports Bar & Restaurant: 117 2nd Street

Moving across the street, Rookies Sports Bar and Restaurant has been a staple in downtown Henderson for more than 30 years. Many locals view Rookies as our own version of Cheers—a great place to watch a game or grab a drink after work. My recommendation is the half pound burger. This treat is a standalone, let the meat speak for itself kind of sandwich. They start with an eight-ounce beef patty hand formed and grill cooked to your liking, topped with your choice of cheese. All Rookies burgers come with your burger staples—lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion set atop a perfectly toasted soft bun. While visiting the downtown area, be sure to pop in Rookies and try one of these delicious burgers.

Rookie’s half pound burger

John Earl’s: 733 Martin Luther King Blvd.

John Earl’s is new to the restaurant scene here in Henderson, but don’t let that fool you. This mom and pop joint is a pleasant surprise hidden on the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Alvasia. This classic burger joint is a throwback to when you could just walk up to a service window and be greeted with a smile and a hello from the friendly staff. A John Earl burger is a flat griddle press type of patty packed full of flavor, cooked until the edges are just the right amount of crisp. The all-beef patties are then placed atop a soft toasty bun with your choice of condiments and toppings. If you’re looking for a burger that reminds you of a nice summer day behind the grill, look no further. John Earl’s wraps this burger experience up with the dining experience. With family picnic tables out front, you can sit and watch the world pass you by as you enjoy one of these delicious cheeseburgers.

John Earl’s Ice House & Fine Foods has a wide menu selection

The Dairiette: 711 Atkinson Street

Last up on our burger tour is The Dairiette, an East End staple. I remember growing up in the East End and just having to have a Dairiette double bacon cheeseburger and a chocolate shake. That was how you knew it was summer in Henderson. This double cheeseburger is a flat patty with great seasoning and cooked to order, topped with crisply slices of bacon, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mustard, placed atop a soft toasted bun.

The Dairette Cheeseburger

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