REVIEW: Zip’s Cafe in Mt. Lookout


If you ask someone from Cincinnati where to go to get a delicious burger, they’ll probably tell you to go to Zip’s Cafe.

Everyone seems to rave about Zip’s Cafe in Cincinnati, so my husband and I decided to go and try it out. Our expectations were high since we saw that the cafe had been featured on one of those food network shows. The show featured their burgers and the host raved about how delicious they were. That was what we were heading there to try – a big, juicy burger.

It’s located in Mt. Lookout near downtown Cincinnati. Mt. Lookout is a beautiful part of Cincinnati and the area where Zip’s is located has several cute shops and a very cute gelato shop nearby. Zip’s is located in the little shopping strip to the left when you head towards downtown. Outside, it’s very welcoming. But, the minute I opened the door to walk in, I was suddenly gasping or breath and wanted to run through the double door system. It’s like entering a death chamber. Very narrow, small, closed in and confined. Not a good thing for someone with claustrophobia. So, if your body is larger than average, handicapped or have a wheelchair or stellar, you might want to check to see if they have another entrance besides the front door.

After surviving the first hurdle, getting through the door, I was hoping the cafe would open up and provide ample, opened room. That, again, was not the case. It’s very small, dark and dingy. We sat next to the window for sunlight and to make the experience less than depressing.

Zip’s is rich in history, like many other Cincinnati restaurants. Established in 1926, it’s been the home of the zipburger since they opened their doors to the public. It’s ownership has been passed down several times, of course, since opening in 1926 and maybe that is part of the problem.

We ordered the zipburgers. My husband ordered fries and I ordered onion rings. The service was fast and we didn’t have to wait very long. But, when the waitress presented our food, I was again disappointed. The burger looked and tasted like any other burger that I’ve had over hundreds of times. The onion rings were delicious- the fries were the same that you get anywhere else. The burger wasn’t very thick, looked prepackaged, the bun was cold. The price was reasonable- just about right for a “just fine” meal.

To add to our disappointment, our table was wobbly and drove us crazy the whole time we were there. Because, if other people love this place, they must have something on the menu that people feel is over-the-top delicious- Right? Or are their standards different than ours?

We might try it again just to find something else to try. But the zipburger will never be on our list again.

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