Burger

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lew's Bar & Grill Burger Week burger: It comes on sourdough bread

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:49 AM

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I've been trying to lose weight lately, so the prospect of having a burger over lunch meant I had to skip breakfast yesterday.

It also meant I was awfully hungry by the time I could make it to Lew's Bar & Grill in Waldo for a late-afternoon lunch. Hunger pangs and a general aversion to restaurant specials put me in a bad mood. In my experience, special offers mean you get a slimmed-down version of what you want, or something that was made a couple of hours before.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

12 Baltimore's Burger Week burger: spicy, classy, cheap

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 7:29 AM

Five bucks.
  • Five bucks.
Generally speaking, I don't like a lot of fuss on my burgers. An avocado or a pineapple on a burger sounds good, but in practice I usually end up picking those things off and eating them separately (if at all). What I really want out of the deal is about as simple as it gets: a juicy patty, cheese, ketchup and mustard. I eat the pickles first, usually. I don't even want the lettuce and tomato, which I scrape off the bun like a barber wielding a straight razor. Call me what you will. This is who I am. I'm done apologizing. 

I will make exceptions for burger toppings lacking in nutritional value, though. Bacon, for example. Also: jalapenos and onion straws, both of which are found on 12 Baltimore's "Hot Phillips," which also crams a half-pound beef patty, cheddar, chipotle aioli, and lettuce and tomato between its buns. I stopped by during the Royals game last night, and damn, son, that thing is tight! It's also only $5, as part of The Pitch's Burger Week. (More on that here.)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Reserve is serving up a great Burger Week burger

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 1:45 PM

The featured Burger Week burger at the Reserve is so big, you probably will have to take half of it home. - DAVID HUDNALL
  • David Hudnall
  • The featured Burger Week burger at the Reserve is so big, you probably will have to take half of it home.

There are hamburgers and there are Pitch Burger Week hamburgers: fabulous $5 burgers available at 14 different metro restaurants through October 26.

If you haven't already made plans to sample at least one or, more likely, three of these special burgers, you might want to take a look at the particulars of this event, which runs the ground-beef gamut, from super-fancy to home-style — and all for a five spot.

French fries are included in some but not all the featured $5 meals. At the Reserve, in the Ambassador Hotel (1111 Grand), an extra side of fries — truffle fries or sweet-potato fries — cost an extra $4. But they are very good fries and appropriately stylish for the hefty sandwich that Irish-born chef Shawn Brady created for Burger Week. It's made from a blend of Creekstone Farms ground chuck and brisket, mixed with chopped portobello mushrooms and grated Swiss cheese. The fluffy brioche bun is flecked with chopped peppercorns, but it's not too peppery, and the mushroom and Dijon cream sauce is deliciously subtle. It's almost too big to eat at one sitting: I took half of mine home for dinner.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Harold's Drive-In: Alive and kicking after 56 years

Posted By on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Mary Moore has been an employee at Harold's Drive-In since 1985. The menu hasn't really changed since then either.
  • Mary Moore has been an employee at Harold's Drive-In since 1985. The menu hasn't really changed since then either.

Every six months or so, we get a phone call or an e-mail at The Pitch wondering if the iconic Harold's Drive-In at 1337 Admiral Boulevard has closed. The answer is always no.

Those rumors drive owner Nancy Smith nearly apoplectic: "If we close early or take a day off, the rumors start up that we're closed forever. But we've been here for over a half-century and will probably be around for another 50 years."

Nancy Smith was a former employee of the drive-in's namesake, Harold McBain, when she bought the business from him in 1998. "I worked here from 1983 to 1986. But my sisters have been working here forever."

Smith's sister, Mary Moore, has been tending the flattop grill — where breakfast sandwiches, big burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches are served five days a week from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. — for 30 years; another sister, Caramae, has been behind the counter nearly as long. It really is a family affair; if you didn't know that the trio were siblings, their good-natured squabbling might not be so funny. But the interaction among the sisters is part of the fun in sitting on benches in the waiting lobby on the customer side of the counter.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Ubuntu is closed, but the cook has moved to 4th Down Grill

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM

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When Troost Avenue had a streetcar line, in the first half of the last century, it had dozens of small, independently owned restaurants, cafes and cafeterias. Now, if you don't count the fast-food outlets, the pickings for any dining venue are pretty spartan. And recently, another culinary entrepreneur on the city's historic dividing line has called it quits: Ubuntu Cafe at 4327 Troost closed a few weeks ago.

Ubuntu Cafe — ubuntu is Swahili for "humanity to others" — was a carry-out cafe offering a variety of home-style meals and side dishes operated by cook Leland Thomas and his mother, Ann Thomas. It was open for only four months.

"The building was sold," Leland Thomas says, "and the new owners didn't want us to stay on."

Leland Thomas may have left Troost, but not the restaurant business. He's currently working for another family member, Charles Henderson, who hosted an opening-night shindig last Saturday for his new Kansas City, Kansas, restaurant called 4th Down Grill, at 6607 Parallel Parkway. The restaurant is closed on Mondays but will be open tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bleu Burger on Blue Parkway wants to stuff you

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 2:53 PM

The All-American Burger at Bleu Burger has a beef patty filled with ketchup, mustard, pickles and American cheese before it goes on the grill. It's topped with more cheese and lettuce before it goes on the egg bun.
  • The All-American Burger at Bleu Burger has a beef patty filled with ketchup, mustard, pickles and American cheese before it goes on the grill. It's topped with more cheese and lettuce before it goes on the egg bun.


The servers at the four-month-old Bleu Burger at 320 S.W. Blue Parkway in Lee's Summit wear T-shirts printed with the words "Get Stuffed." And they mean it. You can really do some dietary damage at this saloon, particularly on Monday nights when the signature sandwich here, stuffed hamburgers, are half-price.

It's a really good deal. I was there last night, enjoying an oversized All-American Burger with a center already filled up with cheese and condiments (ketchup, mustard, pickles) before it even hit the grill.

The servers don't ask for directions on the temperature of the burger because, says general manager Jen Miles, they're all supposed to be cooked at medium well - the better to hold all that stuffing inside the burger. That's the concept anyway. My burger was undeniably on the rare side of the spectrum, and my friend's Black and Bleu Burger (stuffed with bleu cheese and blackened in a spicy Cajun rub) was actually cooked until it was medium well.

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Dorothy D's Cafe sells burgers, chili dogs and memories

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Seven weeks ago, former administrative assistant Kim Dickens reopened her grandmother's tiny cafe in Kansas City, Kansas. This time, however, the restaurant has a name: Dorothy D's Cafe.
  • Seven weeks ago, former administrative assistant Kim Dickens reopened her grandmother's tiny cafe in Kansas City, Kansas. This time, however, the restaurant has a name: Dorothy D's Cafe.


The long mustard-colored building at the corner of Fifth Street and Troup in Kansas City, Kansas, has had one hell of a life. At least three businesses owned by the Dickens family have come and gone from this location, and a new venue has just opened. It's still all in the family.

In the 1950s, one part of the building was the location of the John E. Dickens & Sons barbershop. The venue closest to the corner was operated as a tiny cafe - with a counter and a few stools - by his wife Dorothy. In the 1960s, their daughter Mary Hollingshead had opened her own little business in the back.

"It was a juke joint," says Kim Dickens, the granddaughter of the late John and Dorothy Dickens. "In those days, Fifth Street was filled with bars and clubs. My Aunt Mary had The Place. It had a jukebox, a pool table, and I think she only sold beer. But everyone knew about it."

The building at 2001 North Fifth Street had been empty for quite a while when Kim Dickens decided to reopen the little grill operated by her grandmother Dorothy from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s. 

"I'm serving all the same things that my grandmother served," Dickens says. "Except breakfast. And I'd like to start offering that, too."

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Town Topic, Winstead's ... 'Best Burgers'? Really?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 3:10 PM

The signature burger at the Jacobson in Kansas City is a lot more costly than a Winstead's burger, but has a lot more class. - ANGELA C. BOND
  • Angela C. Bond
  • The signature burger at the Jacobson in Kansas City is a lot more costly than a Winstead's burger, but has a lot more class.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the cheeseburgers at Town Topic and Winstead's, two of Kansas City's most beloved and iconic burger joints. But I'm not sure that I would go so far as to name their signature burgers to the roster of the "best burgers in the United States," as the website The Daily Meal did on Tuesday.

One of my personal burger favorites in the metro is LC's Hamburgers at 7612 N.W. Prairieview Road in the Northland, which is, I'm sorry to report, temporarily closed after a fire last night. It would rank high on my list of great burgers in Greater Kansas City. In fact, I'm craving one right now.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ariana Restaurant is a little bit country, a little bit Afghan

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 11:06 AM

The new Ariana restaurant on 103rd Street serves both spicy chicken karayee -- sauteed with onion, tomato and green pepper -- and Midwestern fried chicken with fries or chickpea korma.
  • The new Ariana restaurant on 103rd Street serves both spicy chicken karayee -- sauteed with onion, tomato and green pepper -- and Midwestern fried chicken with fries or chickpea korma.


Ariana, the restaurant that replaced the old Waid's at 1130 West 103rd Street in Watts Mill Plaza, started serving a $10.99 all-you-can-eat dinner buffet this week that included several Afghan dishes (chicken korma, kabuli with beef) and that longtime staple of Kansas City cafes: deep-fried chicken.

Our server explained that the new restaurant didn't want to lose the patrons who had been regular customers at the former diner-style venue, so owner Shaheen Shah Gul created a menu that combined some familiar dishes from the venerable Waid's repertoire (fried shrimp, liver and onions, burgers and a patty melt) with traditional dishes from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - the ancient nation bordered by Pakistan on the south and the east, and Iran on the west.

The name of the restaurant is a variation on the Aryan tribes that occupied this landlocked area in its pre-Islamic past (the earliest rulers included the Persian Darius I and Alexander the Great), and the cuisine is strongly influenced by the countries neighboring Afghanistan (Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and the Middle East). The other half of the Ariana menu is influenced by classic American farm cooking: biscuits and gravy, corned beef and hash, and fried chicken and potatoes.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Burgers & Chicks in the Northland: The Fast (Food) and the Furious

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

The double Angus cheeseburger at Burgers & Chicks at 5018 N.E. Parvin Road is much more memorable than the fried chicken and fish.
  • The double Angus cheeseburger at Burgers & Chicks at 5018 N.E. Parvin Road is much more memorable than the fried chicken and fish.


A friend of mine was almost desperate to make a pilgrimage to the new fast-food mecca in the Northland: Burgers & Chicks at 5018 N.E. Parvin Road, a locally owned restaurant that offers the greatest hits of the American fast-food repertoire, including fried chicken, fried fish, burgers, shakes and onion rings, matchstick fries and fried okra.

"It has everything I love on one menu," he said.

The owners recently remodeled a former Kentucky Fried Chicken venue in the Holiday Hills Shopping Center to create a prototype fast-food restaurant that could easily be expanded into other markets.

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