Food is often a centerpiece of any travel itinerary.
But eating well during a trip doesn’t always mean fine dining. Sometimes life calls for biting into a juicy burger and washing it down with a cold beverage. The Bend is just your kind of destination with if you’re looking for casual burger joints.
The View Tavern reigns supreme in The Bend’s burger scene. One of its options, the Becky Burger, was named “Best Burger in Northern Indiana” in 2014 following a 7-county competition.
That’s not to say it’s the only burger place worth mentioning. Every finalist from the St. Joseph County Burger Wars bring something mouth watering to the table. Keep scrolling for more details on each.
Located at University Park Mall in Mishawaka, this casual chain leans heavy on burgers in its menu. And they come in quite a variety. You can go basic (cheeseburger), vegetarian (The Impossible Burger), big on cheese (Cheddar Crunch Burger) or anywhere in between.
Make sure to come to CJ’s hungry, although there’s no requirement that you must order the 20-ounce burger. We’re just saying it’s an option. CJ’s, on Michigan Street in downtown South Bend, specializes in a laid-back atmosphere with several televisions for watching whatever game is on. They’re dialed in to Notre Dame games on fall Saturdays.
Jeannie’s House Café
Just down the road from the Potawatomi Zoo, this local diner packs quite the one-two punch. Jeannie’s landed on this list thanks to its burgers. Residents and visitors also voted it one of The Bend’s best breakfast spots during 2017’s Breakfast Wars. Guess what we’re saying is, start with breakfast then come back for lunch.
Hensell’s Oaken Bucket
Come for the burgers, stay for the view. “The Bucket” makes great use of its location next to the St. Joseph River by featuring one The Bend’s best patios. It’s also home to the King Burger Challenge, where participants must down a four-pound Angus beef burger in 45 minutes for a free meal, a t-shirt and a spot on the wall of fame.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Known as a fine dining steak house, Ruth’s Chris doesn’t mess around when it comes to burgers. Dine in the bar and order the Ruth’s Prime Burger – prime ground beef with your choice of cheese and the usual toppings, plus hand-cut fries. The location is a combination of elegant and trendy, much like the menu.
The View Tavern
Northern Indiana’s best burger resides here. No need to peruse the menu if you want to try it. Order the Becky Burger. It comes with grilled onions, barbecue sauce, bacon, and Swiss and American cheese, no substitutions. Other burgers in the lineup are strong, like the spicy Homicide Burger. Wash them down with something off the great craft beer list.
Insider tip: Food competitions have been a thing in The Bend for awhile. Other editions have featured tacos, pizza and breakfast. We linked breakfast above in the section about Jeannie’s. You should also read about the best tacos and best pizza in The Bend. You’ll be hungry afterward.