Food Critics: The best burgers Kansas City has to offer | KCUR 89.3

“We really like our burgers in Kansas City,” says IN Kansas City food columnist Jenny Vergara. From partners like Town Topic to fine-dining establishments like The Savoy, the humble hamburger is on menus everywhere.

“We can’t just say ‘burgers,'” says food blogger Mary Bloch. “We have to be a little more specific about this,” he says, noting that smash burgers are the big hit restaurants right now.

Then there are the pub burgers and veggie burgers, with a number of places offering all three options.

For those who think veggie burgers can’t cut the mustard, Carlton Logan, former chef and manager of Facebook Group Kansas City Eats, wants a word.


“I think with the new innovations, you can hardly tell it’s a veggie burger,” he says.

Below Vergara, Bloch and Carlson offers their picks for good, medium and rare burgers.

Jenny Vergara:

smash the burgers

  • Town on Broadway Avenue Single with cheese. For over 85 years, Town Topic on Broadway Avenue has been open 24/7 under its famous neon sign. Spot for smash burgers and breakfast plates. A little-known secret: Town Topic offers both shakes and Golden Boy pies. Just ask for a “pie shake” and they’ll make such a good treat by mixing a slice of pie into chocolate or vanilla ice cream, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.
  • Camping area Double Smash Burger. This burger comes with American cheese, aioli, pickles, and red onion on an egg bun. One of my two favorite burgers in this city, stopping by on my way home.
  • Kitty’s CageDouble Cheese Burger. While the pork tenderloin sandwich at Kitty’s is legendary (and a must try if you haven’t), the burger here is absolutely delicious. Get a single, double or triple cheeseburger with pickles, onions and American cheese on a soft white bun.
  • Chixen Kansas City Little Chef Chicken Burger. Looking for an alternative to beef patties? Look no further than the shredded half-pound Little Chief Chicken Burger, which uses seasoned, seasoned ground chicken for flavor before it crumbles on the flat-top grill. Once it has a well caramelized crust, it’s topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, American Cheese, bacon, and house dressing.
  • cosmo burger Double Burger. There’s a reason this place is on everyone’s list! Now opening with its second location inside the Lenexa Public Market, Cosmo Burger is a pandemic success story. This is another well-traveled burger, and my fixed order is the double burger with cheese, grilled onions, burger sauce, and pickles on a soft potato bun—the extra crunchy side of Tater Tots.
  • Snack Shack on Johnson Drive Bob or Bobby Burger. Recently relocated from downtown Overland Park to Johnson Drive, the burgers remind me of old school food from the 1950s. Try the Bob or Bobby burger (quarter or half pound burger, respectively) with American cheese, grilled onions, and 50/50 grilled jalapeños, with half hand-cut fries on one side, half an onion ring.

bar burgers

  • Walsh’s Corner Cocktails Bacon Cheddar Burger. This quiet little corner bar in Waldo opened in 1978 and has remained frozen ever since. Still a popular neighborhood spot to stop by for a strong drink, some chat, and a burger at a fair price. Head to the bar and order the world-famous bacon cheddar burger and hand-cut fries.
  • Burger Stand in Lawrence Black and Blue Burger. I have a hard time finding a thicker burger than the ones at The Burger Stand in Lawrence. The Black & Blue Burger features blue cheese, Granny Smith chutney, and a selection of seasonal greens. The hot juicy burger, soft bun, and rich blue cheese crumbs and sweet chutney make my mouth water.
  • acre House Burger. Chef Andrew Longres’ restaurant has finally opened in Parkville, with an eight-ounce dry-aged black angus burger topped with aged cheddar cheese, red onion marmalade, and spicy aioli on a homemade bun. Served with garlic fries, all for one price. Where good steaks are served, excellent burgers are found.
  • Earl’s Premier Cheeseburger. If the rest of the seafood-soaked menu at Earl’s Premier isn’t rocking your world, there’s always chef Todd Schulte’s famous burger – I promise – it’ll hit the spot. It’s made with certified Angus beef on a soft golden egg bun topped with shredded lettuce, thinly sliced ​​onions, American cheese, and flavorful hot sauce.
  • Lunchbox Liquor and Deli Double Me Up Burger. Lunchbox can be found inside a liquor and convenience store in the West Bottoms. Although they do a wide variety of toasted sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, you should try their Double Me Up Burger, a two-thirds-pound thick patty hand-created from freshly ground beef on a soft brioche bun. It is served with ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles and any cheese of your choice.
  • Cafe Europa Gourmet Market and Bakery Burgers. With a new location in a former firehouse on Main Street just south of the Country Club Plaza, Cafe Europa has expanded its market and bakery offerings and now serves lunch daily. Get the thick and juicy, perfectly seasoned beef burger served on a freshly baked bun and top it off with your choice of fries, soup, or side salad, along with your choice of cheddar or blue cheese.
  • bell tower Burgers. After leaving The American, chef Celina Tio served gourmet burgers on the patio at Julian’s before opening The Belfry. Now, you can find the same burger as an eternal hero item on the menu of the downtown bar and restaurant. It’s grilled and topped with homemade beef and brisket, topped with homemade ketchup, homemade chips and pickles, and any cheese you like. Chef Celina recommends her smoked gouda – I would do whatever she says.

Veggie burger

  • Type Food Inc. Bac’N Mushroom Meta Burger. Their signature veggie burger is so good you won’t miss the meat. They come from a brand called Meta, which has been called one of the tastiest plant-based burgers in the country. The Bac’N Mushroom Burger is grilled, then topped with grilled mushrooms, crispy coconut bacon, fresh lettuce, tomato, red onion and wonderful gravy, and served with waffle fries. The burger is dairy-free and 100% plant-based, and gluten-free buns are available.
  • Pirate Bone Burgers Beet Burger. Having recently closed its Midtown location, Pirate’s Bone Burgers continues to operate from its restaurants in Crossroads and offers 100% plant-based burgers and some of the best fries in town. Try the beetroot burger, home-made and grilled, then garnish with sesame sauerkraut, house aioli, and greens sprinkled with avocado.

Mary Bloch:

  • room 39 It answers the James Beard Foundation’s call years ago for chefs to make a more sustainable burger using 30% less beef. Chef Ted Habiger has created a blended burger with mushrooms, beef and beets. So well received, it’s still on the menu. It’s a little purple in color, has a great texture and taste.
  • Beer Kitchen‘s regional beef is ground fresh daily, they offer great sauces and – most importantly – they cook the burgers to the exact temperature I ordered. I love the Drunken Cheeseburger with homemade ketchup and mustard (both made with beer), lettuce, tomato, and a touch of mayo.
  • on Savoy 21cChef Joe West perfected the smash burger while he was in the kitchen in Savoy. When Jackson Hole went to Wyoming a few years ago, fans feared it would be taken off the menu or changed. But while Brandon Brumback made the menu his own when he got on board, he didn’t touch the burger. Addictive as always.
  • Tailor It is a relatively new restaurant. Owner Heather White said they’re sticking with the burger to come in the current iteration – it’s outstanding. Arugula is thick, medium-rare on a brioche with honeyed cider onions, truffle aioli, and Brie. What is not love? A great combination served with pencil thin french fries.
  • Meat Mitch‘s smash burger is the perfect answer to the age-old question: Who gets a burger at the barbecue restaurant? Brisket is mixed with chuck, giving it a richer flavor.
  • Boulevard Tavern‘s eponymous burger has always been one of my favourites, with fries equally good. Served on a brioche with red wine shallot jam, bacon, truffle aioli, and cheddar, it’s a constant winner.
  • Westport Cafe He has a thick burger called Royale. With Herb de Provence buns, raclette cheese, balsamic mayonnaise sauce, white onions, boston lettuce, cornichon, and locally grown tomatoes, there’s plenty to blow your mind over, but give it a try.
  • Canary‘s smash burger seems to have been overlooked, but maybe this shout-out will change that. French onions are among the best with curd cheese, horseradish aioli.
  • Corvino Dinner Club He has a special burger with homemade buns, charred onions, homemade pickles and Münster cheese. Vegetarians can order it with Maitake mushrooms instead of beef and everything is satisfying.

Carlton LoganKansas City Food:

  • Corvino Dinner Club It has one of my favorite cheeseburgers with a homemade bun, charred onions, and one of my favorite cheeses for burgers: Münster.
  • Chixen K.C. – Chicken burger. Located near Southwest Avenue, this ghost kitchen now offers 100% chicken piece burgers with no preservatives. My favorite is the Mini Chief, a quarter-pound Chixen burger with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, beef or turkey bacon, American cheese, and Chixen sauce.
  • Strip’s Chicken – Pork Burger. Strip’s serves chicken strips and the like, but they also have a pork burger. The Ribwich Burger is modeled after a famous chain’s rib sandwich. It is prepared with pork or Angus beef with strawberry barbecue sauce, cheese, pickles and red onions on a fried potato bun.
  • UNK Burgers makes me feel like I’m at home eating with my family. There are quarter-pound burgers with simple sauces and funny names like Basement Boy, Judy, and my favorite Sweet Auntie with bread and butter pickles. Turkey and veggie burgers are also available.

Audience recommendations:

  • Dave’s Bakery It serves their burgers on homemade buns in Independence’s historic square.
  • Easy Inn It’s where KCUR announcer Paul Nyakatura goes for smash burgers. If you go on a Thursday they get one, one free.
  • Classic Mug Tillamook offers a pound of Kansas wagyu beef on a brioche with cheddar, tomatoes, and onions.
  • Bizz and Weezy’s Candies now has a cafe menu that offers two burgers: The Weezy and a cheeseburger.
  • Leeway Franks Lawrence is better known for its hot dogs, but its burgers are two-quarter-pound patties with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and secret sauce on a Kaiser bun, a side of your choice.
  • Miss R’s Cage allows you to choose a single, double or triple burger and cheeseburger. You can also get single or double turkey burgers at this family owned soul food restaurant.
  • Portia’s Cage’cheeseburger is recommended and they will make french fries to your order. Mary Bloch says they should always be extra crunchy.