No neighborhood in Kansas City can resist the burger craze, so it's no surprise that the avalanche of grilled patties has finally reached 39th Street. And KC Smoke Burgers (1610 West 39th Street), in the former Jerusalem Cafe location, hasn't just dipped a toe into the waters. With half-pound burgers and branding that begins with an actual brand seared into the bun, this is a serious burger stand.
It's clear that you're not in an average burger joint as soon as you walk in the front door. The slightly elevated ramp takes you beneath a faux-brick archway and into a dining room that is under a motley collection of classic movie-star pictures, football-player cutouts and Nascar ephemera. It's a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episode waiting to happen.
The burgers are pressed patties with charred edges ($7.95 to $9.95) that come with a double handful of handmade, curly fries. For sheer patty variety, KC Smoke Burgers has to be commended. You can get a chicken, turkey, lamb, beef or gyro burger.