Tag Archives: cheap

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.)

Hammerstone’s

After seeing the amazing Chuck Palahniuk at Mad Art Gallery last night, there were few options for a good burg. I knew that Venice Cafe would have funky food, but I was looking for something a little more substantial. 

Someone reminded me about Hammerstone’s, a bar only 3 blocks from the most popular bar in Soulard, McGurk’s. 

So off we went. Parking was hard to find, but the bar was nearly empty on a Tuesday night.

The burgers here come in 2 varieties : 1/2lb and 1/4lb. Being a man of significant hunger, I chose the former. 

The 1/2lb burg comes with your standard array of veggies, an onion slice, some soggy pickles, some limp lettuce and a gross tomato. 

The burg itself was good, but nothing extraordinary. It was on the dry side, the bun was so Plain-Jane and the fries were nothing to write home about. 

That’s not to say it wasn’t good. It was a serviceable burg with everything you’d expect. Workmanlike, generic. Which is not what we’re after here. 

That said, the place is a sports bar at heart, with drunk Cards fans filtering in post-game to listen to the wonky singer/songwriters mangle Beatles tunes. If you enjoy that sort of thing and can withstand a mediocre burg, have at it. 

Also : draft beers are relatively cheap, with PBR starting at $2. So, if you drink enough of those, maybe the burger gets better?

 

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.

Veggie Burger Showdown

Yes, this site is dedicated to the beefy, delicious King of Sandwiches, but for those of you who are trying to eat healthy, or trying to cut back on your red meat consumption, Veggie or Vegan burgers can be a good substitute for “the real deal”.

The two most popular Veggie/Vegan brands are Boca, who have the copyright on the name “Boca Burger”, and Morningstar Farms, a young upstart company whose website is seeveggiesdifferently.com .

Each company has a great selection of burgers, but Morningstar’s beats all comers with its huge variety.

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll select the Morningstar Cheddar Burger and the Boca Cheeseburger.

Since both start off on equal footing, judging can be more objective. At least, that’s the idea.

In the size department, Boca has a slight 1oz advantage – Morningstar’s burg is about 9oz and Boca’s is 10.

Their nutritional values are close enough to be identical, as is their ingredient list.

So the showdown begins.

Once you heat them up, the difference becomes clear.

Boca’s burger oozes the cheese-substitute, which coats the burg in a film that’s very unpleasant to look at. It tastes OK, but is lacking the appropriate flavoring to trick this burger-loving fool into thinking it’s real meat. You can taste the artificialness of the Boca, as well as the distinct flavor of awful soy by-product.

Morningstar Farms’ burger, on the other hand, stays firm and non-greasy after being heated. When served on a bun, as all burgers should be, it more closely resembles its meaty counterpart in both texture and smell, which is about 1/2 of the eating experience. The taste, if expressed in musical terms, is the Usher to Boca’s Milli Vanilli. To take that metaphor further, the burg sings off the plate, dances around the Boca burger and steals its Grammy. That said, it’s still a veggie burger. It lacks some of the greasy goodness that meat-based burgs tend to have, but it’s easy to miss it when the veggie burg tastes as close as humanly possible to genuine article.

The clear victor in this case is Morningstar Farms. I love meaty, greasy burgers, but I’d be willing to stock my fridge with Morningstar Farms. That says a lot.

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.

The Tin Can

No one in this town knows more about being both cheap and good like the fine folks at the Tin Can. There’s two locations in St. Louis, one of which is downtown on Locust and the other is on Morganford, right off Tower Grove Park.

For the purposes of this review, we’re sticking close to my house in Tower Grove and reviewing their ultimate tribute to the King, the Tin Can Ten.

First, a note about the place itself. Tin Can focuses on beer in cans. They have drafts and bottles and wine and mixed drinks, too, but the place is adorned with canned beers. Cans line the walls, can-holders (coozies to some) take up the remaining space and everywhere you look there’s a beer sign, a beer mirror, a beer chair & table set… It’s a loving tribute to cheap canned beer and it makes this North County boy proud to say I know almost all the brands on the list. You have the majestic Strohs, the stout Olympia, brisk Old Style, meaty Hamms and many many many more.

But we’re here to talk about “dat burg”… The Tin Can Ten.

What we have here is two 5oz patties crammed under a bun, with melted cheese (I recommend the Pepper Jack) and sauteed onions.

Heed this warning, this burger might kill you. It’s big. I mean, really big. It’s so big, I had to stop because my jaw hurt. It’s so big, after eating the whole thing my four-beer buzz was gone like it never happened.

The burgers and all the sandwiches at the Tin Can don’t come with sides. In the case of the Tin Can Ten, you won’t need them, although an extra $2 for an order of fries is annoying, whether you need them or not.

On the menu, it gives you the option to wuss out and go with a single 5oz patty. On a seperate trip, we tried this option, to give this review a more full sense of the burg in question. The Tin Can Five is just as good, just as delicious and just as thick as the Ten.

After all that, we get to the negatives. First, the burger is not consistent. From one visit to the next, I was never sure of whether the burg would end up super-greasy or kinda dry. The cheese would come out un-melted on occasion, though this is not a deal-breaker. The onions can make or break the burger, either complimenting the cheese flavor or overpowering it altogether. And the damn thing’s HUGE. I felt ten pounds heavier walking out than I did walking in, though the beer could have added to that effect.

All-told, it’s a solid burg with a few quality-control issues, but one that is worth every penny. Heck, you can even skimp down to the Tin Can Five and save a couple of bucks, which you can use to buy another Old Milwaukee.

Also recommended : Though we try to focus strictly on burgers here at AMAMB, if you’re going to Tin Can, you would be remiss if you didn’t try a few additional things like the Bottom Feeder – a catfish filet sandwich – the Backyard Bomber – a Pork Rib sandwich – and their amazing Chili.