I have long confessed my love of Preston’s Burgers, writing about them profusely nearly three years ago when they inhabited the upstairs kitchen at the now-shuttered Three Sheets bar. I proudly sung their praises, and we found any excuse to visit the upstairs bar to grab a beer and dig into burgers, cheese curds, hot chicken sandwiches, and fries.
Since that time, Preston’s has been in a bit of flux, pulling out of Three Sheets and establishing kitchens inside Woodland’s Backyard and Woodland’s Tavern, briefly popping up in the short-lived Eugene’s Canteen, and converting the old Challah food truck into a Preston’s-mobile.
But then the pandemic hit, and the Woodland’s kitchens closed up, the truck stopped making the rounds at Seventh Son and Columbus Commons (fun fact: my birthday dinner last year, just before shutdown, was Preston’s at Seventh Son).
I was growing worried about the future of Preston’s when we got a delightful bit of news last October: Preston’s would be moving into North Market, in the recently vacated Little Eater space.
I basically showed up the first weekend they were open, happy to taste their burgers and fries once again.
They made minimal modifications to the old Little Eater set up, near the northeast corner of the market between Firdous Express and American Nut Company.
If you’ve never heard me talk about Preston’s burgers before, know that they’re my favorite burger in Columbus. I even helped write the 2019 Columbus Monthly feature on Best Burgers in Columbus, wherein we crowned Preston’s – after extensive, delicious research – the best burger in the city.
Matt Heaggans, the chef and co-owner of Preston’s (the place is named for his grandfather) once shared his thoughts about ideal burger construction with me, and it’s helped me appreciate burgers – especially his – all the more. Preston’s features an expert creation of a crusty, savory smashburger topped with cheese, special house sauce, and the right amount of crisp from lettuce and shaved onions, plus an acidic bite from pickles.
I’m glad to see they’re on the top of their game at the new stall, and even more excited to learn they have a few tricks up their sleeves. We do miss some of the old features – the cheese curds, the house funyon, the jalapeno poppers, the hot chicken sandwich, the salt and vinegar fries – but they’re growing the menu with some interesting (and tasty) new features.
On the burger menu, they still feature the single and double classics, but have added a mushroom and Swiss burger, a Spicy Boi with sambal jam and pimento cheese, and this: the pastrami bacon burger.
This delightful heart attack of a meal layers a patty with American cheese, shaved onion, the zesty sambal jam, and pimento cheese plus generous slices of house-made pastrami bacon. It’s everything you think it is.
Another new addition, one that we’re simply in love with, are the fried pimento cheese dumplings. Think of it as breaded and deep fried crab rangoon, but stuffed instead with gooey pimento cheese. I mean, what’s not to like?!
The move to North Market also includes the introduction of a new sister concept, Honey’s Fried Chicken. You’ll see a separate menu listed on the wall behind the counter.
Like the new Preston’s menu, the Honey’s offerings are small but focused, from a fried chicken sandwich with lemon thyme mayo to a fried lion’s mane mushroom sandwich, to offerings of white meat tenders and dark meat nuggets – plus biscuits, of course.
The chicken we’ve had is wonderfully succulent, with a crispy, salty, peppery breading. It’s an easy sell to everyone, from the picky-eating kiddos in your bunch to any adult who, frankly, enjoys some great fried chicken.
Preston’s also stocks their cooler with Topo Chico and selections from locally made Ohio Pop Co. Their pops (not sodas!) are made with Midwestern-grown beet sugar, and range in flavors like cola and root beer to grape, orange, and apple.
(P.S. You can read more about Ohio Pop Co. in my story on them for Columbus Monthly.)
If you’ve already followed me in my obsession with Preston’s… well, you know what to do. Go find them in North Market and try some of the new additions. If you’ve never experienced them, it’s time to rectify that and get to know the city’s best burgers.
59 Spruce St. (inside North Market)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Tues-Sat, 11a-6:30p; Sun, 11a-4:30p (with extended hours through delivery apps)
Follow them on Instagram @prestonsburgers and on Facebook