18 S. Clinton St.
Iowa City Iowa 52240United States
Plenty of people put Short's on the short list of Iowa's best burgers, but we didn't quite find it up to the hype.
Folks tell you no visit to Iowa City is complete without a burger at Short's. And when you first enter the small restaurant (five booths, three tables and barstools), it does indeed look promising. It's a narrow brick space once occupied by a shoeshine shop. It's dimly lit, stocked with antiques in lighted niches, and stands across the street from Iowa's Old Capitol and the University of Iowa museum complex. Short's menu of Iowa microbrews is impressive, offering beers from almost every name-brand Iowa brewery. The burger we tried, however, was somewhat disappointing. When we ordered The Essex with mushrooms, green peppers, Brie, roasted red pepper mayo, the server didn't ask how we wanted it cooked. It was fried on a diner-style griddle with dozens of other burgers (you can spy on the tiny kitchen on the way to the restroom). The Angus burger had no seasoning that we could taste, and the Brie on top was completely unnoticeable. The fries were too soggy. The lunch tab for burger and iced tea came to $12.19, not counting tip. Even if it puts us in the minority, we left thinking that Short's didn't quite live up to its reputation for burgers.