From my column in TASTEBUD Magazine
Table Hopping - May 2008
“Flippin’ over Burgers!”
Blanc Burgers + Bottles
419 Westport Road
Kansas City, MO 64108
Eddie Crane, Ernesto Peralta and Jenifer Price, along with new partner Chef Josh Eans, also owners of The Drop on Martini Corner, are working their magic again. This time in Westport, capitalizing on the red hot trend of the gourmet burger bar. A sleek, all white interior with exposed brick walls are a comforting contrast, making this a hot place to eat or a cool bar to have a drink. With handcrafted ½ lb. tenderloin burgers and a 150 bottled beer list, you will want to do both. Splurge, order the American Kobe Burger with port onions, mustard aioli, truffle butter, watercress on a buttery brioche bun by Farm to Market Bread for $12. ENJOY: Custard milkshakes made from creamy hometown Foo’s custard and Shatto Milk for the most delicious “local” shake around.
1350 Walnut Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
Superstar Chef/Owner Rob Dalzell continues to amaze with his fourth concept chefBurger, one of the few local haunts in the KCP&L District. Dalzell worked for the famous Taylor’s Automatic in Napa Valley when he was a culinary student, and there learned the art of making the perfect burger. You can expect nothing less than that level of taste and quality when you visit his 60’s retro cool burger joint. Light and bright, Dalzell is serving wine and beer along with a tempting list of spiked milkshakes, but this place is less of a watering hole and more of a dining hall. Start basic with the Chef Burger with your choice of cheese for $5.99 and wonder how he cuts perfectly square iceberg lettuce for your burger. CHOOSE: unusual sides over regular choices, with sweet potato fries and fried green beans topping the list.
Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill
817 Westport Road
Kansas City, MO 64111
Voted KC’s best burger 22 years in a row, “The Flea” was once at risk of being destroyed for a Hooter’s. Enter our hero, Joe Zwillenberg, owner of Joe Joe’s Italian Eatery and Joe’s Burgers both on Main Street, who bought and saved this funky outpost. He hasn’t changed a thing, and when you taste their famous burgers you will know why. A Flea Market Burger is 10 oz. of ground chuck from McGonigle’s, only $7.49 including curly fries. Dress it your way at their toppings bar. VISIT: on “Two for Tuesdays” when the regulars pack the place for “two for the price of one” on Mini (um, made with 5 ½ oz. of meat) Market Burgers and curly fries, 5 pm to close.
Max’s Burgers & Gyros
8240 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64114
The original owner of Max’s Auto Diner passed away in 2005, leaving his restaurant to carry forward in name, but now with a Greek twist. Max’s Burgers & Gyros is a tiny testament to how good meat grilled over an open flame can be. Blame it on the original Greek souvlaki, or the British who visited the islands, but people of Greek descent typically can cook a mean hamburger. Max’s is no exception, if you like more of a flame-broiled burger. Get the Big Max Burger with cheese, only $5.40, with shredded lettuce, red onion, tomato and dill pickle. TAKE: it to-go, place your order then hit the road, the inside dining area is really only big enough to hold the people coming to get their food.
3424 Blue Ridge Cut Off
Independence, MO 64055
When Larry and Cheryl Comer bought two of the Hi-Boy locations in 1991, with Jim Messick buying the third on Blue Ridge Cut Off from the original owner, they promised to carry on the tradition of making great burgers and sponsoring local baseball teams. Today, they still deliver on both. Thin patty style burgers are some of the best in KC and the most famous player to have worn the Hi-Boy uniform is St. Louis Cardinal, Albert Pujols. Order the ¼ lb. Hi-Boy Burger with their cravable Hi-Boy sauce, pickle, onion, lettuce, tomato and cheese for only $3.89. Onion Rings must sit on the side here. ORDER: between 2 pm to 4 pm and get your soft drinks for half price, during their version of Happy Hour.
Jenny Vergara is a full time Foodie and a woman on quest to develop her palate and herself through cooking, eating, drinking, traveling and writing. She has spent the last 5 years documenting all the restaurants she found along the way in a series of personal restaurant journals she keeps for her own enjoyment. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or keep up with her Foodie adventures at http://www.makingafoodie.com.