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‘The Local Traveler’ visits Covington’s best burger places, Herb & Thelma’s and Bard’s, to show on KET

Covington favorites, Herb & Thelma’s Tavern and Bard’s Burgers & Chili, will be featured on the Kentucky Educational Television (KET) program “The Local Traveler.”

The program episode is titled “Burgers in the Bluegrass” and will showcase some of the best hamburgers in the state of Kentucky, first airing on Saturday, May 20 at 12:30 p.m.

Joe Fessler is behind the bar at Herb & Thelma’s

Located at 718 Pike Street, Herb & Thelma’s Tavern is known for its state-of-the-art burgers and welcoming atmosphere. Burgers are made on the tavern’s original grill and served with pickles, onions and a slice of cheese if requested. Guests can accompany their burger with a bag of chips or a bowl of homemade chili. Menu items are served and made fresh.

Co-owner Joe Fessler stated, “People come in for our burgers, but stay because of the friendly environment. It’s just a good, neighborhood tavern where people can stop in for a meal in a laid back atmosphere.

“We’ve stayed true to what we’ve always been since the beginning, and have been able to hold onto the tavern’s original charm and character.”

Established in 1939, Henry “Heine” Boehmker opened the doors to Heine’s Tavern in the Lewisburg neighborhood. The tavern was then sold to his son Herb and wife Thelma, transitioning the tavern into “Herb & Thelma’s Tavern.” The tavern is now co-owned and operated by Joe & Suzanne Fessler.

The mural

In recent years, Herb & Thelma’s Tavern has been featured several times in Cincinnati Magazine and was ranked number 18 on “The 45 Best Burgers in Cincinnati” list. Additionally, the tavern has been featured in CityBeat’s “Best of Cincinnati” awards, earning the title of “Best Burger Dive” in the area.

Thanks to the Center for Great Neighborhoods’ Creative Community grant program, the tavern will be adding a mural to its pre-Civil War building exterior. Painted by artist Bret Schulte, the mural design combines elements from a Shoenling Beer advertisement with a photo of the original Heine Tavern, both from the 1950’s.

Another Covington favorite, Bard’s Burgers & Chili will also be featured on the episode.

Located at 3620 Decoursey Avenue in the heart of Latonia, Bard’s Burgers & Chili re-opened its doors in 2015 with a variety of diner classics such as handmade burger patties, Cincinnati style chili, fresh cheese curds and fried oreos.

Owner/General Manager of Bard’s Burgers & Chili Jordan Stephenson said, “We love burgers and the state of Kentucky, so we are definitely excited to be a part of this show.”

A Bard’s burger

Guests can take the restaurant’s “Bardzilla” challenge by eating the colossal meal which includes 11 one-third of a pound patties, extra cheese, lettuce, pickles, one pound of homemade fries and a 16 ounce shake. Those able to conquer the feat earn a free t-shirt and the honor of having their photograph featured on the Bardzilla wall of fame.

Bard’s Burgers & Chill received national recognition and was recently featured on the Food Networks’ program “Ginormous Food” with Josh Denny.

KET’s Local Traveler program is hosted by Amy Hess and allows viewers to take part in virtual day trips uncovering the people, places and products that make Kentucky and the surrounding region unique.

Click here for additional “Burgers in the Bluegrass” air times.

City of Covington

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