Food and Drink

9 Must-Try Burgers in Kansas City

May is National Burger Month—but with these delicious local options, who needs an excuse?

For traditionalists…

The Single Winstead Steak Burger ($2.79) at Winstead’s

This KC-only chain of diners has been grinding U.S. Choice beef for its burgers on a daily basis since 1940. The presentation is simple, with just ketchup, mustard, pickle and onion coming as standard and frills such as cheese, lettuce, tomato and bacon by request for just a few extra coins. It’s nothing fancy, but that hasn’t stopped it from being called “the best burger in the world” by The Wall Street Journal and by former New Yorker editor (and KC native) Calvin Trillin.

Pair it with: What else? A chocolate milkshake or malt.

For bons vivant…

The Bar Hamburger ($11) at Westport Café and Bar

If you want to impress your server, here’s a quick language lesson: The French word for hamburger is “le Hamburger.” They may not be the country’s traditional cuisine, but burgers are growing in popularity in France. Forget baguettes—it was recently reported that burgers have become the best-selling menu item in more than a third of the country’s traditional sit-down restaurants. If Westport Café’s version is typical, it’s easy to see why. Order yours a la Francais, topped with melted gruyere cheese and sautéed onions for a dollar extra.

Pair it with: A glass of bubbly, mais bien sur.

The Bar Hamburger from Westport Café & Bar. Photo by Matt Mooney

For the indecisive…

The Crab Mac and Cheese Burger ($13.45) at Blanc Burgers + Bottles

Can’t decide which comfort food to have for dinner? No need to play favorites. Carb-loving carnivores should head to Blanc for its hearty burger stuffed with mac and cheese. And we’re not talking that stuff made with orange powder—this macaroni is all dressed up with smoked Gouda cheese and lump blue crabmeat. Served with truffle aioli and lettuce on a brioche bun.

Pair it with: Balance the rich flavors of the crab and smoked cheese with a Guinness.

The Crab Mac and Cheese Burger.

For vegetarians…

The Black Bean Burger ($9.50) at Beer Kitchen

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to love this one. Even committed carnivores will be impressed by the hearty texture and smoky flavors—there’s no way you will miss the meat. Served with avocado, chipotle white cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, micro-greens and tomato vinaigrette on potato bun.

Pair it with: The rich chipotle flavors call for the hoppiness of a good IPA.

For healthy eaters…

The Imperial Green Burger Bowl ($9) at Green Room Burgers and Beer

You can opt to have any one of this casual Westport eatery’s burgers served minus the bun on a bed of lettuce, but if you’re looking for the healthiest option, go for the Imperial Green. The restaurant and microbrewery’s signature house-made veggie burger patty comes topped with avocado slices, Dijon mustard, crumbled goat cheese and caramelized onions. It’s like a salad—only better

Pair it with: One of Green Room’s own beers, brewed right on the premises.

For fish fans…

The Salmon Not-So Burger ($10) at BRGR

Even we “Cow Town” folks like to take a break from beef now and then. If you’re in the mood for surf instead of turf, try BRGR’s blackened fillet of salmon served with chipotle aioli, sweet onion marmalade and mixed greens on grilled sourdough.

Pair it with: Cool off with BRGR’s Savannah Sangria made with sauvignon blanc.

The Salmon Not-So Burger.

For late risers…

The Breakfast All Day Burger ($6.97) at BurgerFi

Park Place boasts the first Kansas City-area location of this small Florida-based franchise, which focuses on antibiotic and hormone-free natural Angus beef burgers. There’s no need to wake up early to try this one, topped with American cheese, grilled onions, maple syrup-drizzled hickory bacon, hash browns, and a fried egg—but we wouldn’t blame you if you just can’t wait to taste it.

Pair it with: Stick with the breakfast theme and opt for a coffee mocha shake.

For sharers…

The Jacobson Burger ($13.50) at The Jacobson

Topped with bone marrow butter, short-rib marmalade and crispy fried onion straws, this is one rich and juicy burger. Split the indulgence—and a sweet greens salad—with your dining companion and soak up the atmosphere while you relax on the Crossroads area restaurant’s awesome patio.

Pair it with: As long as you’re sharing, order a flask of one of The Jacobson’s craft cocktails—they’re the perfect size for two.

The Jacobson Burger.

For VIPs…

The Executive Burger with foie gras ($40) at Tannin

An 8-ounce Wagyu beef patty topped with buttered lump crab, bacon, sautéed garlic spinach, frizzled onion and foie gras. If that’s not rich enough for your tastes, you can have them add a fried egg for a buck more.

Pair it with: Something from Tannin’s award-winning wine list.

The Executive Burger from Tannin Wine Bar. Photo by David Allison.