Annual Food Fest Focuses on Local Restaurants & Breweries

AKRON, Ohio (Aug. 2, 2017) – If it weren’t for Akron, there’d be no hamburger. And, if it weren’t for the hamburger, there’d be no National Hamburger Festival.

That being said, the National Hamburger Festival is paying homage to its Akron roots by welcoming only those restaurants, eateries and food trucks located in Northeast Ohio.

Drew Cerza, founder and organizer of the National Hamburger Festival, which returns to Akron’s Lock 3 for its twelfth year on Aug. 12–13, knows the importance of showcasing the city.

“Akron is a special place with a rich history, invigorated attractions, fantastic people and, most importantly, GREAT BURGERS! Our job at the National Hamburger Festival is to ensure our attendees get a true (and delicious) taste of this incredible city.”

“The City of Akron is pleased to be hosting the National Hamburger Festival again this year,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “It’s wonderful to see so many of our beloved local eateries and breweries featured during this great weekend of food and fun.”

The 12th Annual National Hamburger Festival, presented by the City of Akron, will feature more than 50 different kinds of hamburgers served by more than 15 local restaurants, eateries and food trucks.

Additionally, Sunday’s portion of the festival will debut the Second Annual Buckeye Brewfest, an event that will bring festivalgoers dozens of craft beers from several Ohio-based breweries.

2017 Hamburger Vendors

  • Arnie’s Public House
  • Coaches Burger Bar
  • Dave’s Dinners
  • Driftwood Modern
  • George’s Lounge
  • Hatfield’s Good Grub
  • The Main Street Saloon
  • Manna Food Truck
  • Martini Brother’s
  • Menches Brothers
  • Sammie’s Bar and Grill
  • Smoke the Burger Joint
  • Southern Thangs Truck
  • The Stray Dog Cart
  • S.W.A.T. Food Truck
  • A Twist of Leona
  • The New Manhattan
  • Uptown Grille

2017 Buckeye Brewfest’s Ohio-Based Breweries

  • Thirsty Dog Brewing Company (Akron)
  • Mucky Duck Brewery (Akron)
  • Royal Docks Brewing Company (Canton)
  • Market Garden Brewery (Cleveland)
  • Christian Moerlein (Cincinnati)
  • BrewDog Brewery (Columbus)
  • Lager Heads Brewing (Medina)
  • Columbus Brewing Co. (Columbus)

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About Some of the Hamburger Vendors

Dave’s Dinners

When it comes to little guys making a big name for themselves, Dave’s Dinner has made an art of it. The family-owned business started making their famous soul food delicacies at home in West Akron, but today have their own restaurant on Copley Road in Akron. Better still, they’re known for their stuffed burgers.

Menches Brothers Restaurant

Everyone knows the story of how Charles and Frank Menches created the hamburger. But not many know the story of how the restaurants became a reality.

After the passing of his mother in 1989, John Menches and his siblings were going through some of her trinkets and keepsakes that she’d kept over the years. As it turned out, she had several items from her grandmother who also had some things saved from her mother-in-law, the wife of Charles Menches.

One important item: A recipe for the original “hamburg.”

“We thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty cool.’ Inside the recipe was the coffee and brown sugar,” said John. “So we tested it out. And, truly it was a remarkable sandwich.”

The family used the recipe on the local fair circuit from 1992-1993. And, in 1994, they made the decision to open a brick and mortar location.

Today, the Menches family operates two Akron-area burger restaurants – one in Green and the other in Massillon – and has done so for the past 22 years. And, they still use the original recipe.

Sammie’s Bar & Grill

When Tallmadge resident David DeLapa and his wife thought about retirement, they knew they needed a plan. The couple had been working in restaurants for years, so they knew their future was in food service.

Little did they know, however, that they’d end up using their life savings to open a restaurant from scratch. Thankfully, Sammie’s Bar & Grilled (named after their daughter) was the ticket. “People pushing 60 years old don’t open up restaurants,” David laughs. “But we took a leap of faith.”

Smoke the Burger Joint

If you think that Brian Bailey, owner of Smoke The Burger Joint, ever thought he’d find himself at the National Hamburger Festival – think again.

Bailey is the co-owner of a popular restaurant concept in Ohio and Michigan called Old Carolina Barbeque Company. The specialty? NOT burgers.

As it turned out, Old Carolina was not just a great restaurant, but a popular barbeque caterer throughout Northeast Ohio. And, as Bailey explains, they were occasionally met with clients who wanted catered events with hamburgers.

“When a 450-person catering event came to us wanting hamburgers, we had to review our equipment,” Bailey said. “So, since we had a smoker, we decided to try smoking our burgers. And, they were amazing!”

S.W.A.T. Food Truck

Dan Molnar spent a good amount of his career working construction in the Akron area. The gig eventually led to a position as the catering director for a local restaurant. But, after driving past a huge, for-sale mobile command center truck, he came up with a cool idea. A massive food truck. The rest is history.

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ABOUT BUCKEYE BREWFEST: The 2nd Annual Buckeye Brewfest takes place during the National Hamburger Festival held at Lock 3 Park in Akron, Ohio on Sunday, Aug. 13. Included in the price of admission to the hamburger festival, Buckeye Brewfest offers sampling opportunities and events featuring dozens of beers from many Ohio-based brewers. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/BuckeyeBrewFest.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HAMBURGER FESTIVAL: Featuring more than 15 eateries serving up 50 different styles of burgers, the National Hamburger Festival takes place at Lock 3 Park in Akron, Ohio Aug. 12-13. The event also features activities and live entertainment. To learn more about the National Hamburger Festival, visit www.hamburgerfestival.com. Or, follow along at @HamburgerFest and www.facebook.com/NationalHamburgerFestival.

 The Hamburger’s Hometown: Legend has it that it was two brothers from Akron, Ohio who created the hamburger back in 1885. On the final day of the New York State Fair in Hamburg, NY, Akron natives Frank and Charles Menches ran out of pork for the sandwiches they were vending from their concession booth. Thankfully, the pair found some ground beef, as well as a myriad of other ingredients, to create one of America’s most iconic foods – the hamburger.