The original Wheel Inn Drive-In in Sedalia, Missouri, had come and gone by the time I knew to go there from Kansas City.
A guber-man still sits on the sign (Sedalia's version of Mr. Peanut) and windows and T-shirts, while the interior feels like a remodeled diner. There are red, white and black checkerboard vinyl floors and a U-shaped counter with cherry-red vinyl stools. The shakes are thick, and the fries are curly-cued. But the menu begins and ends with the guberburger.
It's a thin patty of lean chuck topped with hot, creamy, melted peanut butter, lettuce, tomato and Miracle Whip. The peanut butter hits your tongue on the first bite and guides you through the rest of the burger. It's kept in check by the crunchy lettuce and perfectly ripe tomato slice -- meaning that it's the only condiment you need, and the thin patty is surprisingly filling.
This isn't an extreme-eating challenge or a novelty burger. It's just not a common burger-joint ingredient. But the guberburger has the simple balance and care that seem to elude the recent rash of burger joints that have come to Kansas City. If you're headed to the Lake of the Ozarks or next month's Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, the Wheel Inn's guberburger won't make the road trip, but it will keep you going.