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Eating at Bobby Flay’s Cincinnati restaurant

The celeb chef talks about his burgers.

When Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino opened on March 4 it wasn’t just a celebration for gamblers looking to try their luck at the tables, it was also a celebration for foodies looking for new tables at which to dine.

The new casino has five locations to grab something to eat, most notably the upscale Jack Binion’s Steak, the relaxed Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace.

It’s the 14th Burger Palace location opened by the award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author.

“I’m a burger guy at the core. It’s just something I always crave. I especially love cheeseburgers,” Flay said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel America three or four times over, and I know that this country has so many great regional specialties. Bobby’s Burger Palace is a tribute to all of these different flavors, styles and cultures surrounding this classic staple. Our focus is doing specialty burgers, made with great ingredients and served at a great price.”

Located next to the gaming floor, the 3,500 square-foot Burger Palace — the first Midwest location — serves up thick, flavorful burgers and shakes quickly to those looking for a snappy, satisfying meal.

The menu features 10 signature burgers that are priced between $6.75-$7.75. Each of the sandwiches can be ordered with ground beef, turkey or chicken breast.

“It’s hard for me to pick a favorite burger, but I would definitely say, you have to get your burger ‘crunchified!’ We add a thin layer of crispy potato chips on top of any burger, for no additional cost — that’s my signature style. And no burger is complete without fries and a milkshake,” Flay said. “At Bobby’s Burger Palace, we do hand-cut fries made from real potatoes, never frozen. The Pistachio Milkshake has also become kind of a cult favorite. … The overall experience is fun and casual.”

Flay’s signature burgers all come with a flavorful twist. Selections include the L.A. Burger, dressed with avocado relish, watercress, cheddar cheese and tomato ($7.75), the Napa Valley Burger topped with fresh goat cheese, watercress, Meyer lemon honey mustard ($7.75) and the Crunchburger made with a double serving of American cheese and potato chips ($6.75). There’s also a Burger of the Month selection that rotates out.

Casino general manager Kevin Kline said unique restaurants such as Flay’s are a key ingredient to attracting visitors.

As for Flay, he’s ready to continue opening locations with restaurants slated to open in Potomac, Va.; Bethesda, Md.; and Miami, Fla., later this year.

“I definitely have a few opinions on what makes the best burger. First, the type of meat is important. Don’t use anything too lean. My preference is meat that’s 80 percent meat and 20 percent fat,” Flay said. “I use a thumb press technique when I’m making burgers — the indention in the burger ensures that it will plump up and be nice and juicy. When you’re cooking, make sure not to overflip the patty. Only flip the burger once to make sure you get a nice crust on each side. Lastly, there’s nothing worse than a burger with half-melted cheese. If you’re cooking outside, trap the heat by closing the grill over the patties. If cooking indoors, place a metal bowl over the burgers to properly melt the cheese.”

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