Okay. I like to eat. I like to eat burgers. I eat a LOT of burgers. Occasionally, I’ll talk about burgers (usually with other guys—ladies don’t seem as interested, for some reason) and someone will ask me what my favorite burger in St. Louis is. So…I’m putting it on my blog. I was going to do a top-five…but there are seven I want to talk about…so let’s go. Screw McDonald’s and Burger King and all those conveyor belt places (though I certainly eat those, too)…these are some of the best burgers you’ll get within a reasonable amount of time from where I live. (I know I’m probably not listing someone’s favorite…sorry. Either I haven’t had it yet, or maybe it’s in my top 10, but not my top 5…err…7.) 🙂
7. White Barn
White Barn has long been a St. Louis “hangover” staple. It’s kind of car-hop-ish in that you can’t go into the place and sit down to eat—you either grab a picnic table or take it home. A lot of people declare White Barn to be the best burger they’ve ever had…and although I like it, I think people are mostly just overjoyed at the price. Earlier today, I got a burger, fries, and a can of cream soda for like $4.50. That’s pretty cool.
The burgers are thick–like something you’d pull off of your own grill. That’s pretty cool, too. They talk about the meat being “spiced” their way…but I’ve never tasted any spices… It may be that I’ve killed all of the heat sensors in my mouth over the years with hot wings and chilli…but all I’m tasting is meat. Forunately, the meat is good.
Recently, White Barn opened up a new location close to my house. Honestly, it tastes about the same, but somehow it just doesn’t match up to the original location. Probably because they take a LOOOOOONG time to get you your food and they just don’t have the same aesthetic charm as the old place (which is actually shaped like a barn…whereas this one clearly used to be a Rally’s).
In all…worth the money. Worth the trip to the original location. Not worth the wait at the new one…and for about a buck and a half more, you can get a burger with a little more flavor at…
Best burger (and fries) you’re going to get for $6. They differ from White Barn in that they’re an actual bar and grill. Tables and everything. They also differ in that there is NOTHING home-made-feeling about this burger—which is probably about 80% of White Barn’s charm. J&A’s provides a sloppy, greasy, filthy, heart-clogging, made-from-a-patty-we-just-thawed burger. It should suck…but it doesn’t.
For some reason this one is quickly rising up my scale. It’s definitely got more flavor than a White Barn burger (and even some that are higher up on the list), even though it’s got a lot less meat. I actually taste spice in this one…and with a little Tabasco, you’ve got a seriously good burger…this time for $6.
5. Culpepper’s Bison Burger
Yeah…it’s a chain. I’m surprized too. But the bison burger is REALLY good…when you get a good one. Sometimes, you’ll get one that is overdone or…well…just plain weird… But when they do a GOOD one, it’s one of the best chain-burgers out there. There’s something extra flavorful about bison that you just don’t get outta Angus. Done right, it’s still a little juicy, but not so much that it’ll get on your shirt. They serve it with a rice pilaf…but I recommend substituting steak fries…and while you’re at it, get some wings. Probably my favorite wings in St. Louis…but that’s a whole other post.
4. Culver’s Butter Burger
What?!? Another chain?!? This time one that’s all over the country (or at least midwest)?!? Yeah. Sorry…but that’s a great burger. It feels a little more toward the mass-produced end, yet doesn’t quite drift into “fast food” crappiness. Plus, it’s got a really unique taste. You don’t get a butter-burger everywhere you go. In fact, I’ve only ever had one at Culver’s. (I can only speak for the “original” butter burger by the way…never had any of the others.) The thing is, I’ve been to Culver’s during different times of day, and at different locations and they always deliver the same quality—which speaks VERY well of the chain. They manage to feel like your hometown burger joint, but they’re nationwide. That’s pretty impressive.
3. Five Guys
Okay…this one’s a little controversial. There are burgers below this one on the list that are actually a little bit better. If you go to Five Guys, you’ll get a burger made from a patty with ingredients out of a jar. Nothing too special. But where they SHINE is in their customization. You can tailor-make a burger to your mood in ways that other places just don’t offer. (White Barn doesn’t even offer LETTUCE, for God’s sake!)
Here’s your list of toppings: Mayo, Relish, Onions, Lettuce, Pickles, Tomatoes, Grilled Onions, Grilled Mushrooms, Ketchup, Mustard, Jalapeno Peppers, Green Peppers, A-1 Sauce, Bar-B-Q Sauce, Hot Sauce. You can build QUITE a taste out of that (I really dig the mushrooms and green peppers together). Not many other places in the area do that. Plus, their fries are really good, and you get a buttload of them…like WAY more than you’ll ever need.
So it’s not just the meat that earns you a place in my heart (…ladies…).
2. Fast Eddie’s Fat Eddie Burger
I know what you’re thinking… Yes, it’s an area cliché. Yes, it’s a grease-trap of a burger. Yes, you have to listen to really TERRIBLE cover bands while you eat…and the only toppings you can get are cheese, ketchup, mustard, and whatever else you can find and hand-apply around the place. But, it’s a thick, juicy, shockingly good burger. And it’s $1. Let me put periods after every word and italicize them, in order to emphasize those words. It’s. One. Dollar. (There…that should do it.) You CAN NOT beat that price, and it’s a pretty freaking good burger, too. I know. I’ve eaten a LOT of these. (Though, if I’m honest, I much prefer their kabobs to the burgers…but nonetheless…)
1. Blueberry Hill’s 7oz Burger
Hands down, my FAVORITE burger in St. Louis. For some reason, though, it’s better at night when table service has closed and they’re just whipping them out of the window at you as fast as they can. I recommend the full complement of lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and cheese. Then eat that thing. You’ll thank me. (Seriously…people have thanked me. Which is kind of weird, because it’s not like I made it or anything…) It has the “home-made” feel…no pre-made patties here. I don’t know what they do to spice it or cook it…or if they just get really awesome cows…but it’s got a flavor like no other burger I’ve had in town. I recommend that you order it medium.
…so there you go. Order one of those up soon and think of me while you’re eating it. And I’ll think of you, too. It’ll be weird…but we’ll get through it.
The Hold Steady – “Heaven is Whenever” — Since the last time we spoke about it, I’ve fallen in love with this record. I said before that it’ll definitely make my top 10 of the year…but barring any unforeseen releases…it’ll definitely be in the top FIVE.