Master of the Burger

 Master of the Burger

Great food, affordable prices help keep Benjamin’s The Burger Master a packed place

Ginny McCabe

For nearly four decades, Benjamin’s The Burger Master has been serving locals with some of the best food around—including ribs, chicken and burgers—in a family friendly atmosphere with affordable prices. That’s why you can expect to see a crowd gather during lunch or dinner.

“Our mission is to bring comfort to the neighborhood and a lot of people like to come here because they know they are going to get a solid meal, something that’s going to fill them up, and it’s going to be delightful,” says Carrie Johnson White, co-owner, who runs the establishment with founder and co-owner John Riley. “We have people from all walks of life that come here. We also have a lot of schools, churches, businesses and other organizations that come in to order.”

Riley opened the restaurant in the early 1980s. Johnson White, a Cleveland, Ohio native, started working at Benjamin’s The Burger Master in 1997. She served as the general manager for 12 years before becoming the co-owner last August. Prior to that, she was the assistant manager for 15 years. She currently lives in Huber Heights with her husband.

“This is where I feel good. Any time you wake up in the morning and you’re happy to come to work this is where you should be,” says Johnson White, “I’m dedicated to this place. This is my heart, this is my livelihood and this is where I need to be.”

Benjamin’s The Burger Master offers good, old-fashioned southern cooking. It cooks everything on site from scratch and there’s a homey atmosphere. There’s one recipe book with all of the recipes in it. A lot of repeat customers come in, but there’s also a steady stream of newcomers. People often comment, “This is something like my mother used to make, or I haven’t seen that corn bread since my grandparents.”

The bottom line, people love the place.

Introduced to Benjamin’s The Burger Master by his brother-in-law, James Haley, of Huber Heights, has been a regular customer for a little over a year. He comes in every Saturday for lunch and often on Sunday’s. Haley says he has two favorites, “The hamburger and the macaroni and cheese.”

“I like the people. It’s unusual when you go to a place today that they know you by name and greet you when you come in,” Haley says “And, the cash-only is a nice touch. To me, it’s like don’t go beyond your means.”

When it comes to encouraging others to give it a try, Haley says, “The food is absolutely delicious and the people are lovely. You can’t get any better than that. It makes me feel like I’m home. I hope to be back tomorrow for some yams.”

Of course, the signature made-to-order burger is served with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and onion for $3.19. (or $3.39 with cheese.) Other stand-out burger options include a double hamburger or cheeseburger, a mushroom Swiss, a bacon cheeseburger and a pizza burger. Plus, there are more sandwich choices like the fish or chicken fillet and barbecue beef. Make it a combo meal and save more money.

I tried a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato with a side of baked macaroni and cheese and a soft drink. I have to say it’s one of the most delicious burgers I’ve tasted in recent history. The meal definitely had a homemade appeal versus another standard offering from a fast-food chain. I stopped in on a Saturday and the place had a line forming before 11 a.m.

In addition to the famous burgers at Benjamin’s The Burger Master, beans and corn bread (possibly the biggest seller), chicken dinners, wing dinners, the BBQ rib dinner are also in demand with regulars. Dinners include two sides and a roll. A two-piece chicken dinner starts at $6.29.

Daily lunch specials offered throughout the week include comfort-food favorites like lasagna, meatloaf and chopped steak for $7.29. Popular sides for any meal include French fries, onion chips, okra, cole slaw, greens, corn, green beans and baked macaroni and cheese. There are also dessert selections on hand such as old-fashioned peach cobbler, pecan pie, sweet potato pie and German chocolate cake.

“I enjoy meeting new people. That’s the most important thing is getting to know your customers,” says Renita Mitchell, night manager. “It’s mainly about them, because without them we wouldn’t be here. It’s always about the customers,” says Mitchell, who shares management responsibilities with her sister, Sheiara Wright. “This is the best place in town.”

The restaurant staffs about 12 full and part-time employees. The dining room offers a sense of nostalgia in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. It’s a clean, comfortable and friendly environment.

Located at 1000 N. Main St. in Dayton, Benjamin’s The Burger Master is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.