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Walsh's Corner Cocktails
304 West 85th Street, 816-361-7099
Cheeseburger (includes choice of fries, chips, cole slaw
or cottage cheese), $6.75
Bonus: Wednesday is Burger Night, when all burgers are $1.50 off
from 6 to 11 p.m.
This dimly lighted, congenial neighborhood saloon has been serving booze and burgers since 1978. The burgers are discounted on Wednesdays but taste just as good the other six days of the week: always 6 ounces and always cooked well-done (as the menu declares). It's far from fancy but totally satisfying. And an extra 75 cents buys you onion rings instead of fries. Spend the money you save on some extra rounds, because the room can feel like a real-life Cheers.
Green Room Burgers & Beer
4010 Pennsylvania, 816-216-7682
Cheesy Brownfield, $6.50 (includes choice of cole slaw, fruit or cottage cheese)
Bonus: A burger and a half-order of fries go for $6 from 2 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This two-year-old burger venue, in the basement of the Westport Coffee House, puts out a smart selection of custom burgers, with the signature being its Brownfield: pickles, red onion, ketchup and mustard (and, on request, seasonal greens and tomato). The house cheeseburger, the Cheesy Brownfield, gets topped with a slice of that good old American fromage or — for two bits more — Tillamook cheddar, Irish cheddar, goat, swiss or feta. The buns, either a fluffy yeast bun or pumpernickel — pumpernickel! — come from Roma Bakery. It might be the only joint in town where you can eat a burger while playing a board game with strangers.
Westport Flea Market
817 Westport Road, 816-931-1986
Mini Market, $7.99 (includes fries, cottage cheese or cole slaw)
Bonus: "Two for Tuesday" special, dine-in only, offers two Mini Market burgers and curly fries
for $7.99 from 5 to 11 p.m.
The perennial winner of local "Best Burger" competitions, the Flea is a polarizing choice: People either love the food and the ambience at this oddball combination of low-rent saloon and vaguely sordid flea market or complain that it's too loud and inconsistent. There are eccentricities — it's still cash-only, and the service is notoriously inattentive — but the hamburgers really are very good. The ground chuck is from McGonigle's, and the kitchen grills it perfectly. The place has a decent beer selection, and there's air hockey. What more do you need?
320 Southwest Blue Parkway, Lee's Summit, 816-347-9393
Stuffed All-American, $7.50 (includes fries or sweet-potato tots)
Bonus: All burgers are half-price from 4 to 10 p.m. Mondays.
Tony Olson decided that "stuffed" was the next big thing in the burger business, and so he has made this spacious venue, the former Bullfrog bar, into a family-friendly sandwich emporium. The man is not kidding about this whole stuffed thing, either. The burgers are as thick as Stephen King novels, and sometimes just as scary. The fat patties are almost always cooked medium-well, the better to seal in a center that has been augmented with various combinations of cheese, condiments and vegetables. The most basic of the eight choices is the All-American, which has our national shiny orange cheese both in the middle of the patty and on top of it. Pretentious? You bet. Also: pleasing, with a populist price.
7337 West 119th Street, Overland Park, 913-661-9887
Pure (single with cheese), $4.60
Local restaurateur Jim Sheridan is still better-known for his frozen custard than for his sit-down food, but his prototype fast-casual venue cooks some terrific burgers, including the signature Pure, made with NatureSource beef (raised without growth hormones or antibiotics) and dressed up with tomato, fresh greens and the optional — and free — slice of American cheese. It may be the metro's most quietly healthy hamburger, and it's delicious.