IF YOU GO
What: Lock 24 Restaurant
Where: 42087 State Route 154, Lisbon
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 2 - 10 p.m.; Friday - Saturday 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Menu: 6 burgers ($9-$10)
Facebook: The Lock 24 Restaurant
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
By Anthony M. Fuda
When someone tells you to meet them at an old barn for dinner, the first thing you think is, “What did I get myself in to?
Then, you find out it’s the Lock 24 Restaurant, which was built on one of the locks used for moving ships to and from on the waterways when the waterways were prominently used for travel and trade. The inside of the barn has a cozy rustic setting. A high-class barn, which is a perfect setting to enjoy a meal with any of a large selection of craft beers or Lock 24 table wine.
Located next to the barn is the shortest covered bridge in the United States still standing on a once-used public highway. Just a little history fact that brings you in to Lock 24, and once you are there, you will stay for these amazing burgers.
From the moment we arrived, we were pleasantly greeted by hostess Champayne Russ and then taken care of throughout the evening by manager Megan Fryer.
The barn was eloquently designed and turned in to a beautiful dining room, and one of the walls still has all the original stones from the lock.
After admiring the architecture, we looked over the burger menu and found the structures we came to see, and we were ready to make our choices. The menu offers six tantalizing burgers, all created and handcrafted by chef Brian Lowther:
Classic Burger (topped with American cheese)
Spitfire BBQ & Bacon Burger (topped with homemade spitfire BBQ sauce, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese)
Whiskey Burger (topped with homemade whiskey sauce and cheddar cheese)
Wild Mushroom & Boursin Burger (topped with a blend of wild mushrooms, onions and garlic sauteed with Marsala wine syrup topped with Boursin cheese)
Smokin’ Dante (seasoned with signature marinated hot Hungarian peppers, southwest ranch and smoked Gouda cheese)
Steakhouse Burger (topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions, mozzarella and a creamy horseradish sauce)
The burgers are all cooked to temperature and served with one side, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. You have your choice of sides: hand-cut French fries, garlic mashed potatoes, green bean amandine, chipotle coleslaw, baked potato, four-grain rice pilaf, cottage cheese, mesquite corn or a side salad. Chef Lowther said he locally sources as much as he can to get the freshest ingredients and uses a local butcher for his meats. You could tell the difference just in the burgers. Fresh handmade always tastes so much better.
Chef Lowther added that the Wild Mushroom & Boursin Burger was the restaurant favorite, so I had or give it a try. The flavor was exquisite, and the burger was cooked exactly the way I like. A perfect medium with enough flavor for two burgers all packed just for me. I have to say I am not the biggest fan of mushrooms. I know you’re thinking, “why order a mushroom burger if you aren’t a mushroom fan?” Two words – Boursin cheese. Yes, a delightful creamy cheese that brought every aspect of this burger together. A lightly toasted bun, perfectly cooked beef, fresh lettuce and tomato and the creamy Boursin cheese in each bite. Each bite started with the creamy cheese and ended with a satisfied smile on my face. The mushrooms just added another dimension to this flavor explosion. This burger is rocketing to the top of my all time favorites each time I think of those glorious bites. As an added treat, I opted for the chipotle coleslaw and enjoyed every last morsel. This is definitely a burger I will make the trip from Niles to enjoy.
After looking through the burger section of the menu and deciding between some excellent choices, Scott eventually chose the Spitfire BBQ & Bacon Burger, saying, “The trick to a great burger is the combination of ingredients, and those ingredients should meld together without one topping standing out more than another. This burger had just that, with the thick crispy bacon, tangy barbecue sauce, cheese, red onion, tomato and fresh ground beef. Each bite combined all of its elements, and my taste buds enjoyed. The toppings on this burger combined with the juicy beef almost outlasted the bun, but the bun was able to soak in all those extra flavors until the last bite.”
Eric started looking through the burger part of the menu, then our server suggested a burger with a little heat to it, and he made his choice, saying, “Not wanting to stray from my norm, I elected the Smokin’ Dante as my burger. It’s a burger that keeps things simple, but still comes with some zing. The combination of hot Hungarian peppers, southwest ranch and smoked gouda really meshed well on my perfectly cooked burger. My bun struggled a bit near the end to keep up with the flavor onslaught, but it eked out the victory when all was said and done. Since more is always better, I asked for extra hot sauce on the side that I added to my burger after the first few bites. It made an already amazing burger even better. I look forward to coming back here time and time again to not only have this burger, but try pretty much everything the menu has to offer.
Whether you are heading south on state Route 11 to stop at Roger’s flea market, or just out on a joyride looking for somewhere new to go, make The Lock 24 restaurant your dining spot of choice and get any one of these culinary masterpieces. After you finish your meal, take a walk around back and look at the U.S.’s shortest covered bridge, and imagine that structure as your only port from the other side to a delicious burger. And then you can walk around the little bridge and get a burger. After your meal, you also can take a picture or two while you read all about the shortest covered bridge and enjoy the scenery of the area.
Keep reading the Valley food section each Wednesday for the best food the Valley has to offer.
We still have a number of burgers to try, but if you know of a place we should check out, drop us a line at BurgerGuyz@hotmail.com or on our Facebook page BurgerGuyz.