Category Archives: Burger Review

Review of a Tasty Burger!

Foley’s

Where?

Yeah, it’s one of those kinds of hidden treasures, tucked away at the very end of Sutton in Maplewood, not that far from Manchester’s cornucopia of culinary delights. It’s a bar. An Irish bar, to be specific, which gives them bonus points right off the bat.

There’s a stable of regulars at Foley’s, a motley crew of construction workers and union men, hard-scrabble people with an allegiance to the place. And it might be hard to see why at first. The bar isn’t all that great, but the beers are cheap, the food is cheap and the service is fast and friendly.

The burgers? Oh the burgers. Thick, juicy, meaty and cooked within an inch of their lives. The bun is bigger than most places, which helps you keep eating. Veggies are plentiful and fresh, even the pickles. The cheese selection is limited, but you probably don’t want anything more than a slice of cheddar getting between you and this meaty hunk of burg.

Happy hour is 4-6, with bottled A-B products at $1.50 a pop. The burger will cost you about $3.00 and a side of fries another $1.50. You can get out of there with all that for about $6, but that’s assuming you don’t tip.

And you don’t want to skimp on the tip here, because the service is friendly and personal. The staff knows what they do and they do it well, delivering drinks to a crowded bar and your food to your table with the same speed.

According to St. Louis Magazine, they have the best burgers in town. I might not go that far, but you can see where they’re coming from.

Highly recommended.

Blueberry Hill

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Blueberry Hill? Not much, but I’m going to have a crack at it.

The first thing you notice when you walk in is that Blueberry Hill has Chuck Berry fever. A bad case. Chuck memorabilia plasters the walls, floors, ceilings and nearly every available surface. So does memorabilia dedicated to old vinyl, The Simpsons, Pee Wee’s Playhouse and many many other cultural touchstones.

Think Applebee’s but with a real sense of sincerity. The people at Blueberry Hill aren’t just throwing things on the walls willy-nilly, they have a purpose and a focus. They are true fans of music, TV and comic books – old and new.

The second thing you notice is the smell of burgers cooking. The Blueberry Hill logo that used to appear in their ads featured a pop-art dad, fork and knife in hand, licking his chops over a tasty burger.

And that’s exactly what we found. A juicy slab of meat served piping hot on a bun that could barely contain the overflowing veggies. The tomato slice was a good 1/2 inch thick, the onions freshly cut and the pickles were soaked to perfection. The burg comes cooked to order and the Medium Well was a touch on the pink side, but that was OK with us.

A word of warning : this burger is a jawbreaker. If you try to eat it with all the veggies intact, including the massive tomato slice, you might hurt yourself.
Follow it up with one of the dozens of beers (I recommend the O’Fallon Gold) and you’re good to go.

The burgs here are relatively cheap given their size and deliciousness. $6 burgers are pretty common, but experiences like Blueberry Hill aren’t.

I assume people in St. Louis have been there, but you’d be surprised. So go, strap in and enjoy the ride. After your delicious burg, you can catch a band downstairs in the Duck Room or the Elvis Room, grab a smoothie down the street for desert, browse the racks of Star Clipper … the U. City Loop is full of things to do, places to be, people to see and bizarre sights by the dozen.

(Note : This was written prior to the “tomatoes have salmonella” scare we’re going through right now.)

Seamus McDaniel’s – Mushroom n’ Swiss

Seamus McDaniel’s is right around the corner from me in dogtown, and while getting my bass setup tweaked at Acme Guitars, I dropped in on a whim and a burg binge.

I opted for the Mushroom and Swiss, with Sauteed Onions, and let me tell you, it’s an experience worth writing home about!

First off, the overall quality of the burg is flavorful. The mushrooms and onions, the uber-melty swiss, and the just-charred-enough grade A beef blend perfectly and one bite begs for another. The bun was toasted just right too.

Size? This one is a mother, but it is just right by itself (you won’t care about the fries afterwards anyway)

So there’s a burger worth a visit to Dogtown!

Cruisin’ Route 66

It’s a rare thing that sometimes, on this side of Illinois, you find yourself in a bar that reminds you of the legendary Fast Eddies Bon-Air.

Cruisin’ Route 66 is that bar. Not only do they serve up original, independent St. Louis music 5 days a week, Karaoke on Thursdays, but they also serve up some cheap, delicious food.

Take for instance their Big Ass Burger. (That is its official name, check the menu).

It’s 1/3 lbs of awesome, you can get it cooked to order – always get Medium Rare, just for juicyness’ sake – it comes with steak fries and you get it all for $3.

It used to be $1, but since you now get an order of fries and more veggies with it, I think that’s a fair trade.

The bar itself is rather large, with a total seating capacity in the 500s. You can go see a show, have a beer ($2 you-call-its from 8pm-10pm, including all specialty beers) and order this delicous burg all while having plenty of room.

Another thing of note, is the serving staff. All women, all hot as the sun and all very good at what they do.

So the burg itself is cheap, fast and tastes great, the atmosphere is truly superior, the music is generally top-notch and the beers are cold.

Definitely a must-go experience, from start to finish.

O’Connell’s Pub

Nestled between the Hill and the SHaw neighborhood sits O’Connell’s Pub. When I lived by the Botanical Gardens a few years ago, this was the only cheaply priced refuge for eats. The atmosphere is highly relaxed, the dining room is nearly always packed on the weekends, and stone empty on the weekdays. The place has an antique shop up above it, and that tells the patron volumes about the vibe. It’s part Irish pub that’s about to close, part south city dive (in a good way, like Rosie’s in the CWE, which hasn’t got burgers, sadly. Another sad note is they opted to stop serving Schlafly to replace it with an awful brew called O’Connell’s ale…

But wait, we’re here to talk about burgs!

The O’Connell’s Burger is a real mixed bag. On one hand it’s small, highly greasy, and a leans on the rare side of things. I’ve never had one without a puddle of grease and blood coagulating on my paper plate at the end of the meal. However if you can get past the rarity (and I can, baby) there’s alot to be said for this burg that makes it a contender.

Taste-wise it’s awesome. This tastes like the burgers my Mom used to make, so it always reminds me of being back in the country in Illinois. The burger may be small altogether, but the patty makes up 70% of it’s size – not bad. The cheese sets the standard for meltiness too.

As far as veggies go, I don’t think you get options, other than the amazing sauteed and grilled onions you can get on it. Try em once, at least. They aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they are great to me.

Garnished with fries (add some mayo on the side for dipping, european style) and you have a meal fit for a king or a commoner.

In parting I’ll say one thing – I double dog dare you to walk by the back door (leading to the kitchen) and not succumb to the glorious smell of burnt bovine that’s always wafting out of OConnell’s.

The Royale

Situated right around the corner from the Tin Can, The Royale is another in a series of modern restaurants that believes in kitsch over content. Though their food can be great and their service is usually top-notch, it fills up fast and is often too crowded to get a seat right away.

The menus are converted books, the walls are plastered with stuff, like a hipster Applebees and the waitstaff is invariably tattooed and pierced.

But the real prize is buried in their menu and it goes by the name of The Royale. Original, huh?

What it is : 10oz of Australian Kobe beef and a secret seasoning recipe.

What it tastes like : Imagine riding a meat unicorn to a rainbow of spices.  The beef is the real hero here, juicy and tangy on its own, supplemented by their seasonings.

The veggies were OK, not the freshest, but it’s such a big burg that you’re not really worried about that by the time you sink your teeth in. Additional veggies, like artichoke hearts, red peppers and olives come with an extra cost, but it’s reasonable and the taste is amazing.

The cheese selection was great, but it also cost extra. Though an extra 50 cents for cheddar, bleu cheese, provolone, feta or goat cheese is just fine with me.

People who don’t have $10 to spare on a big ol’ burg can still grab The Kingshighway, an 8oz Angus burger, with the same options as The Royale. It’s still a little high, even for a “boutique” burger, ringing in at $7.

Every burger comes with one side dish, though French Fries are mysteriously absent. Why have a gigantic, delicious burger and not suppliment it with its natural ally? Well, the answer to that is that The Royale serves some interesting choices instead.  You can get sweet potato chips (made at the bar), a salad, black beans, potato salad, tortillas and pico de gayo, as well as a corn salad and a  cucumber salad.

So, all-told, if you can stand the snooty pretentious atmosphere, if you’re ready to try a Kobe beef burger, if you really don’t care for fries with your burger and if you want to pay $4 for a bottle of beer, you could do worse than The Royale.

The Royale burger stands head-and-shoulders above most burgers in the area, mostly because of the Kobe beef and the spices it comes with. The option to put red peppers, artichoke hearts and olives on this big slab of burg makes the difference, as do the inventive side dishes that can help bring out the juicy burger’s taste and compliment it very well.

Missouri Bar & Grill

There’s a certain appeal to walking to get a burger. I can walk from my workplace on Washington right to this bar, Missouri Bar & Grill. Some days I see Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan sitting there, solemnly eating the daily special from the Cafeteria-style lunch menu. (I hear Bill’s got his own Bar & Grill, we will have a review of his burgers coming soon).

But if you stroll into the Bar section of the Bar & Grill, there’s a full menu of greasy-spoon favorites, along with a few surprises – I didn’t think downtown Bar & Grill joints would ever have call for someone ordering a Gyro, but then again, I review burgers for fun, so what do I know?

Back to the subject at hand, Missouri Bar & Grill’s burgers are pitiful. I don’t say that with any kind of malice towards the place, in fact, I have nothing but respect for the downright staunch anti-yuppy atmosphere and unpretentious attitude of everyone from the regulars to the staff.

But it bears repeating. Missouri Bar & Grill’s burgers are awful.

First, for the money, you get next to no meat. A “1/2lb” burger becomes a withered grotesquery once you see it on the bun. Second, the veggies are soggy and nasty, worse than you’d expect. Third, the last one I had tasted like someone had put out their cigar in the meat.

Even at $2.50, you would do well to avoid the burgers at Missouri Bar & Grill. Save yourself the heartache and go for the Cafeteria-style lunch special, which is about $7 and includes a meat, 2 sides and a drink. You end up with a lot of food that’s more satisfying than their burgers, which makes this burger-loving man a sad guy.

If you do go in, say hi to Bill for me.