15 Spots for a Great Burger in St. Louis
For a full-flavor, artisan-crafted burger, one need not look far in St. Louis. With über-talented chefs coming to the city in droves, spreading their talents from Downtown to Sunset Hills and beyond, you don’t have to settle for a sub-par burger when seized by a craving. Keep reading for a roundup of spots we love when the hankering strikes.
This former 1980s drive-in, located a stone’s throw from the iconic Amoco sign, has been updated with a truly delectable menu replete with choices for burger lovers. Try the Hi-Pointe Drive-In‘s classic single-burger patty, veggie burger, turkey burger or even the taco burger, served with actual Cool Ranch Doritos and Chili Cheese Fritos, American cheese, lettuce, avocado ranch and Mission Taco Joint sauce. After your meal, catch a movie next door at Hi-Pointe Theatre.
Located in The Grove with a sister location in Webster Groves, hungry diners come to Layla for high-quality burgers made from locally sourced ingredients. You can’t go wrong with The Standard, a beef burger served with cheddar cheese, romaine, tomato, sumac-spiced onions and chartreuse pickles on a brioche bun. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, there’s always the lamb burger with Mediterranean pico, lettuce, feta and tzatziki.
The classic 8-ounce burger turns heads as it passes through this Sunset Hills steakhouse. Although it’s only listed on the lunch menu, plenty of customers prefer it later in the day too, and the hospitality-conscious owners at the Twisted Tree are happy to oblige. Savor it unadorned or make it even more mouthwatering with toppings like mushrooms and Swiss, horseradish cream and fried shallots or smokesauce and bacon for a couple dollars more.
Baileys’ Range is proof you don’t have to spend a fortune at a fancy restaurant with white-gloved doormen for a delicious burger. Helmed by veteran St. Louis restaurateur David Bailey, the restaurant makes each burger with 100 percent grass-fed Missouri beef. You can keep it classic with a double hamburger or cheeseburger or bolster your palate with a special like the Dark Knight burger with whiskey mushrooms, house slab bacon, pepper jack cheese and steak sauce. Baileys’ also lets diners substitute a vegetarian patty or chicken on any burger.
Sub Zero Vodka Bar
It may come as a surprise that a bar offering more than 500 types of vodka and a menu emphasizing sushi would have a terrific burger. Be surprised: Sub Zero has not one, but 11 different types of burgers to choose from, including the World’s Fair Burger: two beef patties made from Midwest-raised black Angus beef, plus bacon, jalapeño-cheese sauce, roasted bell peppers and onions on a pretzel bun.
For a marker of the St. Louis culinary experience, you can bring visitors and non-natives to O’Connell’s without fear of igniting someone’s inevitable hatred of Provel cheese. Several burger-lover options are available at this joint in Southwest Garden—from the traditional hamburger to a cheeseburger with an assortment of toppings and even a veggie burger. You’ll routinely hear diners coming away from this cozy tavern exclaiming, “That was the best burger I’ve ever had!”
5 Star Burgers
If you’re in the mood for a burger, there are perks to picking a restaurant where the entire menu is build around burgers and fries: variety chief among them. Casual eatery 5 Star Burgers, with a location in Clayton and another in Creve Coeur, is one such restaurant. 5 Star favorites include the classic 5 Star Burger, made from an Creekstone Farms Angus burger patty and served with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. Mushroom-swiss-lovers could opt for the Magic Mushroom, and there’s even a terrific lentil-based veggie burger. Don’t forget fried pickles and sweet potato fries on the side—they even come in cute little baskets.
One of St. Louis’ most popular barbecue joints includes a classic burger option—and clearly Sugarfire Smokehouse got the memo on how to do burgers right. At Sugarfire’s St. Charles and Downtown locations, you can choose to deck your burger with a single or double patty crafted from a special mix of chuck, brisket and boneless short rib for extra flavor. Patties are then seared on the griddle, seasoned only with sea salt and cracked pepper, and served on a toasted bun. For toppings, you can add lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cheese and an array of condiments made in-house.
St. Louis’ root beer factory not only serves root beer floats the size of your head, its locations in The Delmar Loop and South County also have a burger menu that’ll satisfy any craving. Try Fitz’s River City burger, a classic beef patty topped with American cheese and applewood-smoked bacon with a toasted sesame-seed bun. Root beer fans can try the Porgy and Beef, topped with house smoked pulled pork, Fitz’s Root Beer BBQ sauce and crispy onion straws.
Brasserie By Niche
You can expect luxury and delicious dining from any venue within the Gerard Craft family of restaurants, and Brasserie By Niche in the Central West End is no exception. Start with a specialty cocktail and then try the Brasserie Burger with American cheese, dijonnaise, dill pickle, onion and fries. For a vegetable-forward side, try the glazed carrots with mint or potato puree with olive oil and chives. If you’re in the mood for Brasserie’s burger but looking for a more casual dining atmosphere, stop by The Grove’s family-friendly brewery Rockwell Beer Co. Rockwell’s food is prepared by Gerard Craft’s venture Brasswell, and the burger is modeled on Brasserie’s.
Three Kings Public House
It’s fitting that Three Kings Public House, one of The Delmar Loop’s best happy-hour spots, also offers an array of delicious burgers to choose from. Try the Pogue Mahone, served with a fried egg, bacon, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, Swiss and cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun. Or sample the Korean burger, prepared with a mixture of barbecue-marinated steak, ground beef and scallions, as well as kimchi and gojuchang glaze.
The Scottish Arms
A traditional Scottish pub with a fully stocked whiskey bar, The Scottish Arms has been a well-loved Central West End bar and restaurant since it launched. Try the 8-ounce prime rib patty or the lamb burger with fennel jam and goat cheese. For a side, you can’t go wrong with Scotch eggs and truffle fries.
Schlafly Bottleworks’ lively Maplewood spot attracts the crowds with artisan-crafted beers and a tasty comfort-food menu. Try the Bottleworks Burger, made with ground eight-ounce chuck, pub cheese and pickles on house-baked bread with a side of potato salad, coleslaw, potato wedges or applesauce. Pair it with a Schlafly beer, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better culinary combination.
This classic Irish pub in Soulard is a definite must-visit spot for a memorable night out. Dine inside and enjoy the cozy pub atmosphere, or sit outside in McGurk’s extensive, lush gardens. We recommend John D. McGurk’s Burger, a char-grilled patty served on a sesame kaiser roll, with the option to add cheese and double-smoked bacon. Pair it with Irish chips, Galway Bay crab cakes or beer-battered onion rings and wash it all down with a Guinness.
Anthonino’s Taverna is a community hot spot on The Hill, a neighborhood in south St. Louis with a strong Italian heritage. Anthonino’s also happens to offer six distinct types of burgers, including the Big Rosario Burger, served with crispy volpi pancetta and sharp cheddar cheese, and the Americano Burger, served with American cheese, pickles, onions, lettuce and Thousand Island dressing. For a Greek twist, try the Feta Burger, served with Kalamata olives, feta and yogurt tzatziki.
Editor’s note: This article updates the original version, published on April 5, 2018. As a bonus, check out two more burger spots we’ve fallen in love with since then.
Mac’s Local Eats
Buzzy carnivore’s delight Mac’s Local Eats sources humanely raised whole animals and produce from local farmers, serving up dry-aged beef smashed burgers, boudin, cracklins and house-made sides and condiments. Choose to add one to three patties to their classic burger with American cheese, or go hog-wild with pork patties or sous vide pork loin. Good news: Mac’s is located within Bluewood Brewing Company on the east end of Cherokee Street, so you can wash it all down with one of Bluewood’s innovative brews.
Utah Station has put down roots in a Benton Park brick-and-mortar location that was once home to an auto-repair shop. A great spot to visit if you’re looking to branch out or cut back on red meat, Utah Station’s menu is 90 percent vegan but 100 percent comfort food. Executive chef Chris Bertke avoids pre-made meat substitutes. Instead, he creates his own versions of late night fast food staples, like the McDonal’s Big Mac. Try Bertke’s version, the Big Mak, and see for yourself if it’s as good as the real thing, or try the Utah Smash Burger with pepperjack cheese.
Featured image courtesy of Robin Stickle.