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Blanc Burgers + Bottles: The Trendiest Burger Joint in Kansas City

Blanc Burgers + Bottles: The Trendiest Burger Joint in Kansas City

Blanc Burgers and Bottles is a burger joint of the future. Although there are now two locations of this hip burger joint, the original located in Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri started the trend.

Their menu is made up of 19 different burgers with some standouts such as the bison burger with a fried egg, pepper Jack cheese, red onion, peppadew jam, mayo, and bibb lettuce on a salt and pepper brioche bun; the American kobe burger with port wine onions, truffle butter, mustard aoli, and watercress on a salt and pepper brioche bun; the “100 dollar” with a red wine braised short rib stuffed burger, foie gras butter, onion marmalade, balsamic glaze, and watercress on a rosemary bun; and the inside out burger stuffed with blue cheese and topped with applewood smoked bacon, onion rings, house-made ketchup and mustard, and butter lettuce on an onion brioche bun. For those who don’t prefer beef, there are chicken, pork, turkey, salmon, and grilled mahi mahi burgers, and for vegetarians, there is a black bean burger and a spiced lentil burger.

If you come in for lunch during the week (Monday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 3p.m.), you can get a burger and a side or a salad and soup for $9.25. Also available are salads, the soup of the day, and starters such as hot wings, pretzel twists, and Gouda cheese fries. There is also a basic wine list, an array of cocktails, and a beer selection.

Blanc Burgers and Bottles is open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.

Skyler Bouchard is a junior writer at the Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter at @skylerbouchard.


Kansas City Chiefs: Spicy Lentil Burger Recipe

So far the NFL Recipe Series has been primarily a homage to meat…and for most people there is nothing wrong with that. In fact when a non-meat recipe has been posted, my brother-in-law berates me for posting something that is “unmanly” and anti-football. Well, today’s post certainly isn’t going to win me any brownie points.

The Kansas City Chiefs and a recipe for Spicy Lentil Burgers kick off the AFC West. I know what you’re saying…Kansas City and veggie burgers? Kansas City, one of the meat/bbq capitals in the country and this is what you come up with? Calm down (that means you Rob), there is a logic to this madness.

Last season a gourmet burger joint in the Kansas City area called Blanc Burgers + Bottles started serving burgers at Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Chiefs). From my readings in the Blog-o-sphere, while pricy, the burgers at Blanc’s are pretty tasty. Even though their menu looked similar to other gourmet burger joints I have visited in America, I was intrigued by Blanc’s Spiced Lentil Burger. And while I’m by no means a veggie burger guy I thought to myself…that might actually be good.

So the following is our gluttonous take on a Spicy Lentil Burger, inspired by Blanc Burgers + Bottles, which sells their burgers at Arrowhead Stadium, making a veggie burger manly football food…maybe.

Be sure to check back in tomorrow for the continuation of the NFL Recipe Series with the San Diego Chargers and something fishy.

The Necessities:*

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 carrot (finely chopped/diced)
  • 1/2 sweet onion (yellow)
  • 1/2 cup dry barley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4-1 cup of Breadcrumbs
  • Wheat hamburger buns
  • Vegetable oil
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

Cucumber/yogurt garnish:

  • 1/2 english cucumber (grated)
  • 1/2 tsp garmasala
  • 1/2 sour cream/yogurt
  • 7 leaves of mint (roughly chopped)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Salt and pepper

*Should make around 6 veggie burgers

  • Make the garnish first by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl. Salt and pepper to taste, then place in refrigerator to keep cool.
  • Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a pot, add the lentils, reduce heat and cook for around 10 minutes or until tender. Drain the lentils of any remaining water.

  • Pour around a 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat over medium.
  • When the oil is hot, add one veggie patty and brown each side. Repeat for each patty.

  • Serve on a toasted hamburger bun, topped with the garnish and any other preferred condiments/toppings.

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9 Responses to “Kansas City Chiefs: Spicy Lentil Burger Recipe”

It’s not like it’s pink or has fuzzy in the title, oh… anyway. I like lentils and I like burgers, football I’m not crazy about, but hey two out of three. I like the sauce and the spice. I think I know what tomorrow’s post is!

Thanks and I guess there really isn’t any drama when I say San Diego and a fish recipe…but what fish will it be.

I’m so intrigued…I’ve never made/tasted a lentil burger, but it looks delicious. I’ve had my share of pricy burgers (especially here in LA) and often feel ripped off. But the burger at this place called Father’s Office is up there on my list of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted and yes, worth the $12. Yours would definitely be worth the money too.

Thanks for the compliment Caroline and I know what you mean about the prices at gourmet burger joints. Even though I might really appreciate the quality of the burger I usually end up thinking to myself…was it worth it (?) and I probablly could have done better for less.

Lentil burger? this is a first for me but I am assuming wont be the last because based on the pic and the way you described it they sound amazing! I can’t wait to give them a try! Thanks for visiting! You have a great blog and I love that you combine food with sports!

Thank you for the compliment and for visiting! You hooked me with the smashed potatoes recipe and I’m looking forward to your future posts/recipes. Cheers!

Another thing that I havent tried, the only vegetarian burgers I had was mushroom burgers and it was so good.

Veggie mushroom burger…I like it. Sounds another recipe to experiment with. Cheers!

[…] Kansas City Chiefs: Spicy Lentil Burger Recipe Inspired by Blanc Burgers and Bottles in Kansas City, here is our vegetarian option for a carnivorous city. […]


Burger renaissance: Lawrence restaurants reinvent American classic

Henry T’s will expand its burger menu in upcoming months to satisfy customer cravings for gourmet sandwiches. The restaurant, 3520 W. Sixth St., is part of a “burger renaissance” in Lawrence and Kansas City as new venues serve the American classic.

The folks over at Henry T’s have been in the burger business for 18 years.

As a sports bar, a good quarter of its overall sales go to the American favorite, which typically plays second fiddle to the restaurant’s chicken wings.

But these days, the burger is having a bit of a renaissance, if you will — just in time for grilling season.

Co-owner Sean Gerrity says that interest started picking up six months ago when customers begin asking about more than just the specials when visiting the restaurant, 3520 W. Sixth St.

“They not only want a larger burger, but they also are looking for a better quality burger, too,” Gerrity says. “Consumers are just more … concerned and more aware of what it is they’re being served. And so they’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary.”

So, what’s a restaurateur to do but comply? First Gerrity introduced a larger burger, then Henry T’s burgers went from 100 percent beef to 100 percent Angus beef. And in June he will go even further for his customers.

“We’re actually adapting to the market,” Gerrity says. “And we’re actually going to start running another gourmet burger line, that we’re going to start in about a month. … That’s the nature of the market right now, is that people are interested in them.”

No kidding. Bigger, better burgers are all over the place. Gourmet burger restaurants are popping up locally, from The Burger Stand at Dempsey’s, 623 Vt., and Local Burger at 714 Vt. to Blanc Burgers and Bottles in Kansas City. Mid-range restaurants are in the mix, too, with Five Guys Burgers and Fries, 2040 31st St., adding a restaurant in Lawrence, and Kansas City-based Applebee’s introducing “Realburgers.” And for the economy set, fast-food competitors Hardee’s and Burger King have blasted the airwaves with commercials for new large-scale burgers, the Western Bacon Thickburger (sold by “Top Chef’s” Padma Lakshmi) and the Steakhouse XT Burger.

Old meets new

So, why the renewed interest in the something that has been a restaurant staple for what seems like eternity? Gerrity guesses food celebrities like Burger King cover girl Lakshmi and the growing popularity of food shows have quite a bit to do with it.

“I’d bet $100 on that,” Gerrity says, laughing. “Absolutely. And it’s on every Web site, too.”

Josh Mochel, owner of Jo Shmo’s, 724 Mass., agrees, but hints that food television only mimics what’s really going on. He says that if one looks back years rather than months, the burger’s renaissance is a long time coming.

“Honestly, I think it has to do with social things, not with the actual product itself. In the late 󈨞s, early 2000s, you saw a huge (surge) of upscale restaurants around the country. Everybody had a lot of money, and they didn’t want a four-course meal necessarily or a two-hour dinner,” Mochel says. “You’d have great chefs who would do four- and five-star dining opening up a smaller place, doing burgers, where you can have the same kind of love, only with a hamburger, you know? It’s kind of the old-meets-new type deal.”

Renaissance art, er, food

So, what kind of artistic new offerings are showing up on the menus of restaurants that are not hamburger joints but rather joints that just happen to have hamburgers?

Gerrity says Henry T’s new line of burgers will be all over the culinary map.

“They’re going to be a little different,” he says. “They’re going to be like Kobe burgers and salmon burgers and tuna burgers, and we’re going to do a buffalo burger too.”

Those will be on top of the restaurant’s eight “styles” of burgers, where folks can play gourmet chef from a corner booth. The styles include Burgundy style (onions, mushrooms, Burgundy wine sauce and provolone), a pepperjack and bacon style (pepperjack cheese and bacon with a side of jalapeño mayo) and the restaurant’s most popular: the “Fat Tuesday” (a burger dipped in wing sauce and topped with cheddar and bacon). He expects to go through 2,500 burgers of all styles this week during the restaurant’s 18th anniversary celebration, which means two-for-one burgers.

Over at Jo Shmo’s, Mochel has no current plans to change his burgers. He says that while he admires the hamburger joints he’s been in during his time living in New York and Chicago, his restaurant isn’t meant to be a joint nor a gourmet burger destination.

“We’re a sports bar where you can always get a quality hamburger, a hamburger that stands the test of time,” Mochel says. “There’s no frills about it. It’s not four-star burgers, it’s not McDonald’s, it’s just one of those hamburgers that you can make in your backyard, except you get all the great things that go along with Jo Shmo’s.”

Up the street, Rick Martin, executive chef at Free State Brewery, 636 Mass., says the restaurant’s burger has always been a big seller, in the summer months especially. He welcomes the burger’s new found celebrity status with an open griddle.

“It’s one of our highest-selling items, for sure. It’s Americana,” Martin says. “I think we’re in love with the burger.”

Gourmet inspiration

Impress your guests at your next grill-out with some whiz-bang burger topping ideas from the Texas Beef Council:

The Brie Burger: Top each patty with a slice of brie or herbed brie cheese, Granny Smith apple (sliced into rings, onion-style) and spicy mustard.

The Caesar Burger: Whip up Caesar dressing with a package mix. Top each patty with a slice of avocado and the Caesar dressing, then serve on sourdough bread.

The Brew Burger: Two minutes before patties are finished grilling, brush liberally with a mix of equal parts steak sauce and beer. Top with Swiss cheese and slice of sweet onion (such as vidalia).

The Bruschetta Burger: Top patties with tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and mozzarella cheese serve on toasted French garlic bread.


Great Burgers, Original Kansas City

One reason I made the month-long trip to Kansas City was to road-test spending a month in an unknown city. Of course, Kansas City is not unknown to me, since I grew up there, but I hardly ever ventured north of the Plaza. Much of the territory I explored this past month has been new.

One thing I learned: trying to cover 6 major neighborhoods, from downtown to the edge of suburbia (79th Street) is too much. Also, I’m writing this post from Denver. I haven’t restored the original title of this blog because I still have several Kansas City and driving-across-Kansas posts to write. The next time I spend a month in another city, I’m going to force myself to explore only as much as I can write about while I’m there. I dislike having an exploration lag. Just doesn’t seem right.

One of the neighborhoods I neglected is Westport, founded in 1833 and intended to be the eastern terminus of the Santa Fe Trail. (The California, Oregon, and Santa Fe trails all run through this area and meet up along Antioch at Santa Fe in Kansas.) There’s a “Westport Landing” sign in the neighborhood along Westport Road (about 39th Street), but the real landing is downtown, where Grand Avenue runs into the Missouri River.

I spent a few hours in Westport while I was staying way the hell out in Kansas with my best friend from high school (having given my sister a break after three weeks of putting me up). I found one block of Westport Road west of Main with restaurants all in a row: Papa Keno’s Pizzeria, Blanc Burgers + Bottles, Blayney’s Irish Tavern and Blues Cavern, Matsu Sushi, Jerusalem Cafe and Hookah Room, and 180. Just across the intersection were Kelly’s Westport Inn (which claims to be the oldest business in Westport) and McCoy’s, a brewpub.

(Note: Blanc Burgers has moved to the Plaza. There is also a location in Leawood, Kansas.)

When I sat in front of the window at Blanc Burgers at 5 o’clock, the long, narrow restaurant was nearly empty. By the time I left at 6, it was full. I was more interested in the wine list than the 150 beers available, partly because it offered varietals I didn’t know, such as Nero d’Avola (Sicily), Spatburgunder (Germany), Magnificat (a California Meritage), and Monestrell (I swear that was the spelling, but Google has Monastrell/Mourvedre). I tasted the Nero (tannic and a bit sour) but ultimately settled on the Juan Gil 2008 from Jumilla, Spain, which reminded me of a Pietraluna Negramaro I had at the now-closed Pulcinella in Lafayette, Colorado.

The Kobe burger, which I guess is a cliché these days, didn’t remind me of anything. It was scrumptious: greasy and juicy, crisp on the outside and pink inside. Although I couldn’t taste the mustard aioli, I did enjoy the truffle butter and watercress and port wine onions. I even ate the entire pickle.

Blanc Burgers offers many burgers: bison, pig + bull, pork, turkey, mahi mahi, lentil, and portabella. They make their own ketchup and use locally roasted coffee and Christopher Elbow chocolate.

As I waddled down the street afterward, I noticed that the other restaurants on this strip weren’t as full. For once, I picked the most popular joint on the block.


50 States 50 Burgers

Food Network Magazine hit the road to find one burger you absolutely have to try in every state.

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©Steve Butman Photography 1065 South First Street, Abilene TX 79602 [email protected] 325-672-2341

Creek Bank Restaurant, Wagerville, Alabama

Until recently, this roadside eatery didn't have an address. People relied on word-of-mouth directions to head an hour north of Mobile for one thing: the burger. The seven-ounce chuck patty is nothing fancy, just plain delicious. At first bite, a secret ketchup-mayo sauce drips down the side.
21711 Hwy. 43, Wagarville 251-246-9396

Long Branch Saloon, Anchorage, Alaska

Patties and toppings usually get all the attention, but at this dive bar, the buns push the burgers over the top: The famously light rolls, baked on-site daily, taste like a cross between ciabatta and sourdough — and they never crumble. But fans say the fresh-beef patties are darned tasty too.
1737 E. Dimond Blvd., Anchorage 907-349-4142

Carlsbad Tavern, Scottsdale, Arizona

The menu warns diners this burger may cause temporary blindness or loss of hearing. We found no reported cases, but beware: The Angus patty includes two ounces of habanero pepper (60 times hotter than a jalapeño). The burger is grilled over pecan wood.
3313 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale carlsbadtavern.com

Cotham's in the City, Little Rock, Arkansas

This jumbo burger, once shipped to the White House during the Clinton years, is a smoky, garlicky, 16-ounce stack of flavor held together by a 7-inch-wide bun made with olive oil. The Hubcap comes with loads of toppings and a challenge: Eat two and the owner picks up the tab for the second.
1401 W. 3rd St., Little Rock cothams.com

In-N-Out Burger, California

Yeah, California has lots of highfalutin farm-to-table burgers, but ask locals where to find a good, simple burger, and the answer is In-N-Out. To order in the lingo of the chain's cult followers, ask for fries "well-done" and burgers "animal style" (fried with mustard, topped with grilled onion).
multiple locations www.in-n-out.com

Jack-N-Grill, Denver, Colorado

Former chile pepper salesman Jack Martinez used to haul a grill around town on weekends, serving food at car dealerships, until customers demanded he open his own place. The specialty at his restaurant is the Juarez burger, topped with ham, a hot dog, guacamole and, yes, chile peppers.
2524 N. Federal Blvd., Denver 303-964-9544 jackngrill.com

Ted's Restaurant, Meriden, Connecticut

We know it&rsquos old news &mdash really old, like 50 years, actually &mdash but the steamed burger gets all the love because it&rsquos probably the juiciest one you&rsquoll eat all year. The secret: Each patty is steamed, not grilled, rendering an ugly but delicious lump of ground beef smothered with melted cheddar and served on a big, soft bun.

1046 Broad St., Meriden 203-237-6660

Nage, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

This strip-mall bistro, in Delaware’s popular vacation spot, is packed with tourists and year-round residents — always a good sign.
1970 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach nagerestaurant.com

El Rey De Las Fritas, Miami, Florida

The small Miami chain's name means "King of the Fried Burgers," a fair claim: It reportedly has family ties to Havana's first restaurant specializing in the frita, Cuba's take on a slider. The thin beef-and-chorizo patties are fried and topped with shoestring fries and a secret tomato-based sauce.
six locations around Miami 305-223-9944

Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta, Georgia

The cheeseburger isn't on the menu at this pub, for fear that it's all anyone would order. Two cheese-smothered chuck-and-brisket patties are topped with house-made bread-and-butter pickles and served on a brioche bun. Only 24 are available nightly at Burger Time, 10 p.m., announced by megaphone.
2277 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta holeman-finch.com

Hukilau Cafe, Laie, Hawaii

A loco moco is Hawaii's take on a burger: a beef patty and fried egg on a bed of rice, smothered in gravy. Fans of the state specialty know the gravy is critical, which is why this loco moco is so popular. At the hidden eatery on Oahu's North Shore, the rich, beefy stock is the best around.
55-662 Wahinepee St., Laie 808-293-8616

Big Juds, Boise, Idaho

Anyone who polishes off this one-pound cheeseburger plus the side of fries is immortalized with a picture on the wall, and more than 1,000 have won the honor. The enormous burger, super-juicy but not too messy, is so popular that Big Juds gets 20 to 25 orders a day. A two-pounder is $3 extra.
1289 Protest Rd., Boise 208-343-4439 bigjudsboise.com

Kuma's Corner, Chicago, Illinois

When this bar opened, it was all about beer and heavy metal, but soon the burgers (almost all named for bands) got Chicago talking — particularly the Slayer: a bunless patty on a pile of fries, topped with chili, andouille sausage, cherry peppers, onion, cheese and, according to the menu, "anger."
2900 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago 773-604-8769

Farm Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana

Senator Richard Lugar has served this espresso-chili-rubbed bison burger on Capitol Hill to show off his state's lean, grass-fed buffalo meat. The burger comes on an "everything" bun with artisanal cheese and thick-cut peppered bacon. The meat is from a ranch 10 miles away.
108 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington farm-bloomington.com

Hickory Park Restaurant Co., Ames, Iowa

Diners often line up for an hour for a seat in one of the church pews at this Iowa institution. For barbecue fans, the burgers are worth the wait: The beef or pork patties are hickory-smoked. The menu has fifteen burgers, but the Garbage, topped with ham and sauerkraut, is by far the most popular.
1404 S. Duff Ave., Ames hickoryparkames.com

Winstead's, Kansas

Conventional wisdom says that one should never crush a burger with a spatula, but that technique is exactly what has drawn crowds to this small Midwestern chain for nearly 70 years. Razor-thin patties made from ground steak are seared on a flattop grill until the edges are crisp.
10 locations in Kansas and Missouri winsteadssteakburger.com

W.W. Cousins, Louisville, Kentucky

Some people can't have enough options. This Louisville landmark is for them: At the center of the restaurant is a 40-item burger toppings bar that's so complex, there's a map above it to guide you to the tartar sauce, sliced green olives, parmesan and whatever else suits your fancy.
900 Dupont Rd., Louisville ilovecousins.com

Mason's Grill, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The owner here spent two years searching for the perfect finishing touch to this surf-and-turf burger: a sourdough bun from a Houston bakery. The patty in between is stuffed with jalapeños before being sautéed and blanketed with even more jalapeños, Gulf shrimp and a half-cup of jack cheese.
13556 Jefferson Hwy., Baton Rouge 225-756-8815

Owls Head General Store, Owls Head, Maine

Owners of this old general store won't reveal their secret burger-assembly process, but the loosely packed burgers are insanely juicy — they literally fall apart in your hands (yes, they require all seven of those napkins). You can get one to go and eat it at Owls Head lighthouse, just down the road.
2 S. Shore Dr., Owls Head 207-596-6038

Mother's Federal Hill Grille, Baltimore, Maryland

Cardiologists may disagree, but burger lovers think this 8-ounce beef patty — stuffed with cheddar, dipped in an ale batter and deep-fried — is worth the obvious health risks. On the upside, there are a few veggies involved: The patty is topped with lettuce, tomato and onions, plus chipotle mayo.
1113 S. Charles St., Baltimore mothersgrille.com

Christopher's Restaurant & Bar, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The burgers are soaked in a bath of Sam Adams lager, garlic, Montreal steak seasoning, salt and dry mustard, then charred on the grill and served on an English muffin with white cheddar and Applewood smoked bacon.
1920 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge christopherscambridge.com

Hunter House Hamburgers, Birmingham, Michigan

Everyone in Detroit can tell if you've just come from Hunter House: A trip to this throwback burger joint leaves you smelling like grilled onions for the rest of the day. The place sells only one thing: sliders topped with pickles, mustard and tons of grilled onions.
35075 Woodward Ave., Birmingham hunterhousehamburgers.com

Vincent - A Restaurant, Minneapolis, Minnesota

For the uninitiated, a Juicy Lucy is a Minneapolis specialty: a burger with a surprise stash of Velveeta in the center. At his white-tablecloth restaurant, chef Vincent Francoual upgrades the sandwich for fancier palates, stuffing Angus beef patties with smoked gouda and braised short ribs.
1100 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis vincentarestaurant.com

White Trolley Cafe, Corinth, Mississippi

Back in the day, slugburgers, a local specialty, sold for a slug, or a nickel. They're still only 85 cents, and are made the same way: by mixing ground beef with fillers (at White Trolley, pork, soybeans and flour) and deep-frying the patties twice. They're smallish, so most people order two.
1215 Hwy. 72 E., Corinth 662-287-4593

Blanc Burgers + Bottles, Kansas City, Missouri

This winner is the burger equivalent of the tunnel-of-fudge cake: a rich patty — with tenderloin, rib eye and New York strip — stuffed with blue cheese that oozes out when you bite in. The chef at this modern joint serves the thick patty with bacon and an onion ring on a soft onion-brioche bun.
4710 Jefferson St., Kansas City 816-931-6200

Ford's Drive-In, Great Falls, Montana

Visiting this 1954 drive-in reminds you of what a burger should be: reasonably sized (3-ounce patties), reasonably priced, and paired with a big milkshake (Ford's makes 50 kinds). Follow the lead of some regulars and get peanut butter as a topping.
1301 Central Ave. W., Great Falls 406-452-7972

Twisted Cork Bistro, Omaha, Nebraska

The chef at this bistro takes full advantage of tasty Midwestern meat, building patties from all-natural local ingredients: pork shoulder and flat-iron steak from nearby Hollenbeck Farms. No one needs fancy toppings here — the good stuff is all inside the patty: paprika, fennel and aged white cheddar.
10730 Pacific St., Omaha twistedcorkbistro.com

Kilroy's, Las Vegas, Nevada

CLOSED-This off-the-strip joint is famous for its burgers, but locals go for the patty melt instead: a grilled-cheese sandwich with a burger in the middle. The patty is an 85/15 blend of fresh ground chuck topped with grilled onions, jack and cheddar, wedged between two slices of grilled, well-buttered rye.
4340 S. Grand Canyon Dr., Las Vegas 702-367-3184

Gilley's PM Lunch, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

This little red 1940s diner started as a lunch truck, but it's rooted in place now and customers line up until 2:30 a.m., hoping for one of the 10 counter seats. The lure: juicy, loosely packed burgers with a side of poutine, a French-Canadian specialty of fries covered with gravy and cheese curds.
175 Fleet St., Portsmouth gilleyspmlunch.com

Stage Left, New Brunswick, New Jersey

The brazenly named burger at this Jersey bar, housed in a swank restaurant, draws skeptics but in 18 years has yet to disappoint. Scraps of pricey steak from the fancy side of the restaurant are mixed into Angus beef patties they're charred over a wood grill and topped with aged cheddar.
5 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick stageleft.com

Clancy's Irish Cantina, Farmington, New Mexico

This Irish bar got its unlikely name when the owners moved here from Colorado and reopened it in an adobe building. The burgers are as quirky — they're served between tortillas with a sauce of local hatch green chiles boiled with pork shoulder, potatoes, garlic and cumin, then smothered with cheese.
2703 E. 20th St., Farmington clancys.net

Burger Joint, New York, New York

Be warned: This place is tiny, crowded, hard to find and ruthless about burgers. You'll have ground beef on a squishy bun, and you'll like it. The charred patties taste like they were made on a backyard grill. So, in a city without yards, everyone keeps coming back for more.
Le Parker Meridien, 119 W. 56th St., New York City 212-708-7414

Raleigh Times Bar, Raleigh, North Carolina

North Carolina is no place for a burger lover: State law demands restaurants cook burgers to at least medium — no pink allowed. But at this bar in a century-old building, the chef grinds his own meat daily, so you can get deliciously simple half-pound patties medium-rare, just as nature intended.
14 E. Hargett St., Raleigh raleightimesbar.com

Hi-Ho South, Fargo, North Dakota

Ask anyone in Fargo for a great burger spot and they'll most likely recommend this downtown favorite. The just-greasy-enough burgers, served on a buttered bun with fried onions, are the result of over half a century of practice: The Cariveau family has been slinging them since 1960.
3051 25th St. S.W., Fargo 701-280-9505

Terry's Turf Club, Cincinnati, Ohio

This raucous bar is full of contradictions — there are peanut shells on the floor, for example, but filet mignon on the menu. And the super-popular burgers come on paper plates, yet the toppings are straight off a fine-dining menu, including foie gras, scallops with lychees, and Iberian ham.
4618 Eastern Ave., Cincinnati 513-533-4222

Johnnie's Grill, El Reno, Oklahoma

During the Depression, thrifty Oklahomans stretched their meat by making half-beef, half-onion burgers. Johnnie's is more generous with the meat now, but the tradition lives on: Onions are pressed onto burgers and caramelize as they cook. The thin patties are topped with mustard and a warm bun.
301 S. Rock Island, El Reno 405-262-4721

Skyline Restaurant, Portland, Oregon

The burger at this former drive-in overlooking Portland is nothing fancy it's just plain good — so delicious that renowned food writer James Beard declared it one of the best he'd ever tasted. The quarter-pounder comes on a buttered, toasted bun with tomato, pickles and mayo.
1313 N.W. Skyline Blvd., Portland 503-292-6727

Royal Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philly's famous cheesesteak joints are only blocks away, but many beef lovers flock to this laid-back bar instead. Regulars have nicknamed the addictive burger "the royal." The thick patty comes on a brioche bun with caramelized onions, bacon, gouda, chili mayo and pickled hot peppers.
937 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia royaltavern.com

Haven Brothers, Providence, Rhode Island

This place doesn't exist at lunchtime — the silver trailer pulls up next to City Hall at 5 p.m. daily, as it has since 1893, when it was a horse-drawn cart. Customers line up until 4 a.m. for the double-decker Murder Burger, with chili, cheese, bacon and mushrooms.
Fulton St. and Dorrance St., Providence 401-861-7777

Nu-Way Lounge & Restaurant, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Pimento cheese, a cheddar-and-sweet-pepper spread, is a common burger topping in the South, but many places just slap on a premade version. Here, real-deal, house-made pimento cheese, piled between the patty and a big, soft sesame bun, sets the burger apart — and draws crowds at lunchtime.
373 E. Kennedy St., Spartanburg 864-582-9685

Hemmer Brothers, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

CLOSED-Fed up with the lack of fresh-ground burgers in Sioux Falls, three brothers set up shop a couple of years ago selling simple, quality burgers with wacky names. The best-seller? The Squealer: Bacon ground right into the patties, so it's in every bite — with all the more room for other toppings.
230 S. Phillips Ave., Sioux Falls 605-334-3301

Rotier's, Nashville, Tennessee

At this family-owned joint, a Vanderbilt favorite, cooks don't bother with salt or pepper in the beef patties: Legend has it that the burgers get all their flavor from a big old piece of steel — the restaurant's 64-year-old flattop grill. The seared patties land on poppy-studded French bread.
2413 Elliston Place, Nashville 615-327-9892

Perini Ranch Steakhouse, Buffalo Gap, Texas

This ranch is a long way from anywhere, but that hasn't stopped serious carnivores from driving (and hiring private jets) to try chef Tom Perini's cowboy cuisine. His Angus beef burgers are topped with mushrooms, chiles and cheese and served with a knife and fork, just like a steak.
3002 Hwy. 89, Buffalo Gap periniranch.com

Acme Burger Company, Salt Lake City, Utah

CLOSED-Until recently, small, regional fast-food chains (each known for its own "fry sauce") ruled the burger scene in Utah. But this new high-end restaurant is shaking things up with patties like this spicy lamb with harissa sauce on a sweet-potato bun.
275 S. 200 W., Salt Lake City 801-257-5700

The Shopping Bag, Burlington, Vermont

The $5 half-pound burger at this corner grocery — made with Montreal steak seasoning and meat fresh from the butcher counter — was created and named for a police officer who stops in often. When word first got out about it a few years ago, the deli was barely able to keep up with demand.
166 North St., Burlington

Ray's Hell-Burger, Arlington, Virginia

Ray's has no advertising. There's no need — the strip-mall spot, marked by a tiny sign, is always mobbed. Regulars don't mind the lack of fries — they come for serious burgers: beef patties served blackened, with a peppercorn crust, or "Diablo," doused with chipotle pepper sauce.
1725 Wilson Blvd., Arlington 703-841-0001

Lunchbox Laboratory, Seattle, Washington

Customers kill time in line by admiring an old lunch-box collection and deciding which of eight patties and 50 toppings to get. Some take the easy route and pick one of the chef's daily combos, like the Dork Burger: 40% duck, 40% pork and 20% "secret." Rumor has it, the last bit is cured meat.
1253 Thomas St., Seattle lunchboxlaboratory.com

Hillbilly Hot Dogs, Lesage, West Virginia

This roadside eatery started as a hot dog stand in 1999 but later expanded to table seating (in old school buses) and massive burgers. The famous 10-pounder, which feeds 40, arrives on a 25-inch bun with 35 slices of cheese, 35 slices of tomato, two heads of lettuce, three onions and a pound of pickles. Cooking time: 45 minutes.
6951 Ohio River Rd., Lesage 304-762-2458.

Great Dane Pub, Madison, Wisconsin

A brewer here dreamed up the ultimate beer-lover's burger: two patties (beef and bratwurst) topped with cheddar, stout-caramelized onions, Applewood smoked bacon and pilsner mustard, and served on — here's the kicker — a soft pretzel bun. It's Wisconsin in sandwich form.
Five locations around Madison 608-284-0000 greatdanepub.com

Terry Bison Ranch, Cheyenne, Wyoming

This may be the only burger in America that comes with a train ride. Every Sunday at this working ranch, diners board an old-fashioned locomotive to visit the herd while eating, you guessed it, bison burgers for lunch. The freshly ground meat is served straight up, with no seasoning.
51 I-25 Service Rd. E., Cheyenne 307-634-4171


Tony's Kansas City

It was a big night at Blanc Burgers + Bottles. The first of three opening events featured a lot of local movers and shakers so of course TKC was there and eating for free. Natch.

With a hushed invite I was surprised to see so many people at the new location on The Plaza. It's really quite a classy joint and I don't know if it's the newness of the establishment or just the style but I was impressed with the really clean design and feel of the restaurant.

Of course these really weren't "TKC people" but the crowd was pleasant enough and it was nice to share a bite with new friends.

Because I know TKC reading bastards don't care about anybody's well being I won't go into too much detail regarding the fact that TKC buddy Hearne Christopher took a tumble outside the place on some ice. He cut his head on the ground but don't worry, he's okay and he'll be back in a few moments with a much better description of his experience at the place.

I ordered "The Classic" and for a really thick, tasty burger the veggies piled on top were a nice touch (I think I noticed an avocado and cucumbers). Executive Chef Josh Eans was widely sought after before he decided to go with Blanc but it's obvious he was given a lot of creative leeway with the menu. The fries delivered in a mini-grocery cart was an interesting choice as well.

Along with Eans, even more of Kansas City's culinary heavy hitters were in the house last night.

Here's just a quick listing of local chefs hanging out, some of them can be seen in the photo above:

Marshall Roth, Ophelia's
Josh McClure, Starker's
Charles d'Abliang, Webster House
Debbie Gold, The American
Colby Garrelts, Bluestem

Once again, because the food was free it tasted better to me . . . Nevertheless, I liked the ambiance of the place and when the day comes that I'm not wearing 3 day old clothes and have a few extra coins in my pocket. I'll definitely go back.


Tips on improving your Tips

“It was the best of burgers, it was the worst of burgers, it was the burger of value, it was the burger of expense, it was the burger of service, it was the burger of incredulity, it was the burger of quality, it was the burger of waste, it was the burger of hope, it was the burger of despair, we had condiments before us, we had ketchup packets before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the burger was so far like the present meal, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being eaten, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

I am almost certain that I eat more burgers than the average person. I am certain that I eat more burgers than I should. Health concerns aside, I find a great deal of variety in the burger realm. Burgers are hip again and boutique burger joints seem to be popping up all around me. A burger war has broken out in Kansas City and I live right in the middle. The two finest burger places in town (and probably the world) happen to be blocks away from my home. Even when I have decided on having a burger, there are distinct reasons for choosing between burger joints based on quality, service, and value.


Toellner Tells it

Blanc Burgers & Bottles Continues getting praise

Draft magazine just issued its list of Best Burger and Beer spots in the country -- and Blanc Burgers and Bottles is one of the 11 restaurants listed.

Kansas City, Mo.

Blanc Burgers & Bottles 

There’s a sense of whimsy about this little burger joint in Kansas City’s Westport neighborhood. It’s in the vintage architecture, originally built to house a White Castle restaurant in the 1930s. It’s in the sweets on offer, including a handful of “grown-up milkshakes” and 28 bottled sodas. And it’s certainly on the menu, with inventive burgers like Au Poivre, a pepper-crusted burger with green peppercorn sauce, or the $100 Burger, topped with foie gras butter and stuffed with red wine-braised short ribs (and which will not, in fact, cost you $100). Complementing such playful dishes is a list of 110 beers that’s heavy on old standbys like Guinness and Harp, as well as out-there picks like Boulevard Long Strange Tripel and Hitachino Nest Sweet Stout. 4710 Jefferson St. 

Their fact-checker missed a few things -- like that they're no longer in Westport (the address is correct though) and I don't think the White Castle note is right either (Westport Flea Market maybe?) but they at least were right in that it is a great burger and beer place.

It's great to see Kansas City noted for its great batch of local restaurants. and beer too for that matter.


72 Hours In Kansas City, Day 1: The Greatest Burger?

I needed to get out of town for a weekend getaway and decided to catch up with two friends in Kansas City. I arrived there last Friday afternoon and figured I'd tour the city until my friends arrived the next day. By chance, I ran into California Zinfandel maker Pete Seghesio at the hotel I'd booked as I was about to take the elevator up to my room. He was in town to host a dinner Saturday night, showcasing his wines at Jasper's restaurant. He asked if I'd like to join him for dinner Friday at "the best hamburger joint in America."

Pete is a regular visitor to KC, both to sell wine, but also study barbecue, one of his cooking passions. On our drive to Blanc Burgers & Bottles for hamburgers, we talked about perhaps hitting a few BBQs spots on Saturday. I could tell Pete was going no matter what.

Depending on the source, Blanc (www.blancburgers.com) makes either the best, or one of the best hamburgers in KC, or Missouri, or the United States. Take your pick.

The small bistro was filling up as we arrived. We were fortunate to get a seat before a line of customers formed outside.

We ordered three of the burgers – the Classic, the Inside Out and the Au Poivre, along with French fries and a bottle of 2007 Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha, a charming wine from Spain with wonderful floral and berry aromas and a smooth texture (about $27 on the list). We took a few bites of each burger, since Pete had a grander agenda. After Blanc, he wanted to visit at least two more restaurants that night to check out some other cuisines and see what people were drinking. It's what a lot of wine marketers do: hit the ground running and cover as much territory as possible.

All three of the burgers were great, but the Inside Out (seen in the video below), stuffed with blue cheese and topped with applewood-smoked bacon, edged the pepper-crusted Au Poivre and the Classic (made with aged New York white cheddar cheese and served on a sesame seed brioche bun with homemade pickles, red onion, lettuce and tomato).


Next stop: Extra Virgin (www.extravirginkc.com), Michael Smith's classy tapas bar, a fancier restaurant on Main Street in the Crossroads Art District. There we sat at the bar next to the kitchen where we watched the entrées being prepared and plated. We ordered a half bottle of the 2007 Siduri Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella's Vineyard, which was smooth, with complex floral, smoke and berry notes, but it didn't have quite the depth it had shown when I reviewed it in a blind tasting. At Extra Virgin, we nibbled on three or four starters prepared by the chef, including a spring asparagus salad, a fava bean and escarole salad and a gratin of fresh gulf shrimp.

We agreed to one more stop, at Starker's Restaurant, another upscale spot on the Plaza with a fine wine list. Owner-chef John McClure prepared a menu of specialties. First, though, I ordered a 2007 Carlisle Russian River Syrah, a richly layered, expansive wine with gobs of dark berry fruit. The menu included stinging nettle soup with tempura Missouri morels grilled La Belle Farms foie gras with Creole beignets and an orange and almond salad and ravioli stuffed with Louisiana crawfish and ricotta cheese and served with English peas. There were also herb-crusted lamb chops with nettle flan, black trumpet mushrooms, fava beans and salsa verde.

Having heard of our earlier hamburger taste-off, he insisted on entering, and whipped us up a Shatto Milk Company cheese curd and bacon-stuffed burger with fried pickles and remoulade. It, too, was excellent.

For dessert, we nibbled at his chocolate pecan pie with pecan praline ice cream and lemon pound cake with macerated berries and cream. (Just to note, I paid my share of the bills for the day.)


The Burger Joint: 3212 Merriam Ln (KCK) – CLOSED


It’s getting to the point where I am seriously considering finding an apartment somewhere along this delectable strip of Merriam Lane. Fortunately, I think I’ve been to nearly every restaurant this humble culinary hotspot has to offer.

The latest installment was brought to my attention by lunch enthusiast and blog commenter Hazrdus last week. I’d noticed the cute little diner establishment on previous trips but kept forgetting about it because my mind was on the restaurant at hand. Thanks to Mr. Hazrdus however, I made a trip and thoroughly enjoyed it.

As the name promises, The Burger Joint features delectable hamburgers at a good price with few frills. You can get a single or a double, cheese or no cheese, bacon or whatever you want (as long as it’s not a vegetable).

I ordered a single (3.50), since I’m trying to preserve my dainty figure. Also I saw a double coming out of the kitchen as i sat down, and there was no way that thing was going anywhere near my colon.

Anyhow, the single turned out to be quite substantial, easily 1/2 lb or more. The patty was about 3/4 inch thick, that magical dreamspace between thick and thin. It was also perfectly flat. I do not like “humps” in my burgers or burgers the size and shape of tennis balls. It leads to a condiment/toppings problem that I just cannot abide.

The menu at the burger joint promises that they use only black angus, Iowa beef that is never frozen. In seeming confirmation of this I saw a cook in the back forming patties from a fresh 20lb log of delicious beef wrapped in clear plastic. No Sysco frozen patties here folks.

The burger tastes very good. I don’t think they season their meat at all which I appreciate. A simple application of iceberg lettuce (not shredded!) American (hail freedom!) cheese, and a thick slab of white onion (a la Winstead’s) rounds out the affair very nicely.

The onion rings were passable, well cooked but obviously not handmade. I wouldn’t really expect them to be handmade but they have the darker, crustier breading and not the light, yeasty type of batter (like beer batter) that I far prefer.

The vibe at this place is very friendly and very blue collar (for lack of a better term). There were a number of “working men” with big appetites (and bellies to match) downing those doubles. The woman who takes the orders is great. She makes sure that you enjoy your food and refills your drink before you leave the place. Incidentally she used to help run the Skillet Licker which got the Ferruzza treatment in this week’s Pitch. The owner who does the cooking chatted idly with me for a few minutes as well. He told me about apartment buildings he owns in downtown KCK, where he was on 9/11, and the beautiful women at a Wiccan bar in Strawberry Hill. Unfortunately he has yet to be invited to one of their Wiccan naked-dancing Solstice parties.

It’s an all around good time at the Burger Joint. The place only has 3-4 tables and a small lunch counter. While more or less full, I could still get a chair at the height of lunch hour. It’s a great place for a lone diner which (sob) I am most of the time because people actually talk to you.

The Burger Joint also has daily specials (being Friday it was a fish sandwich), Philly cheesesteaks, burritos and a few other weird items.

They serve breakfast as well. There is a small menu featuring eggs, omelets, french toast and the like.

This is a perfect place to hit up for a burger almost as good as Grandstand, with a little less hassle, a few more mustaches and a little more hospitality.


Watch the video: The secrets of the Georgia Burger revealed for Le Burger Week (December 2021).