On a recent adventure day, we headed to North Canton with Mom and Dad for lunch at Menches Brothers Restaurant and Pub. We met my sister, Julia, there. I have eaten at Menches Brothers many times because it was a convenient place for lunches with church folks. Julia and Tom had been there once or twice and Mom and Dad had never been.
The Menches brothers, Frank and Charles, claim to have invented the hamburger in 1885. The story goes that Frank and Charles Menches sold a ground beef sandwich at the Erie County Fair in 1885 in Hamburg, New York. During the fair, they ran out of pork sausage for their sandwiches and substituted beef. Because they found the beef patty bland compared to the sausage patty, they added coffee, brown sugar, and other secret ingredients. This sandwich became the “Hamburger,” named after the town where it was first served.
The Hamburger wasn’t the Menches brothers only food innovation. They also claimed to have invented the waffle cone and Caramel Coated peanuts and popcorn, now known as Cracker Jacks. Both of those claims are less credible than the invention of the hamburger. The Menches Brothers moved to Akron, Ohio where they ran a premium ice cream and popcorn shop as well as their hamburger restaurant. The three Menches Brothers Restaurants in Green, Canton, and Massillon, claim to descend from that 1885 invention.
We ate at the Menches Brothers Restaurant and Pub in Green. I’m not sure how long this restaurant has been open, but the Menches Brothers Restaurants that are currently open stem from a great-grandson of John and Charles who found the recipe among their great-grandmother’s papers after she died. The recipe was found in 1991 and has been used as the basis for the burgers served at the restaurants since then.
Menches Brothers Restaurant and Pub has over 50 burgers on their menu. Some of them are so similar that it was hard to tell what was different about them. Each of us ordered a different kind of burger. I can’t tell you which one each of us ordered because there were so many. I can’t even tell you which one I ordered because I kept changing my mind. All of the burgers are served with fries, homemade chips, or tater tots. Sweet potato fries are an additional charge.
The burgers were delicious. All of us ate up every bite of our burgers. They weren’t huge burgers but they were certainly filling. The fries and chips were enough to share. The burgers were just the right amount of juicy and meaty. The cheese melted beautifully and the bacon on my burger was crunchy and thick. Our waiter, Brandon, was also very good. He kept our glasses refilled and took a picture of us all enjoying our meal.
Menches Brothers Restaurant and Pub has very good burgers. They serve other things as well, but why would you go there unless you want a burger? 140 years of history have gone into this recipe. Who has the best burger? Menches or Zuzus? With one in Ohio and one in Georgia, I am thankful that I don’t have to decide.