Welcome to the The K.C., bitch! Now slide those sliders over, and join us for some super-thin, perfect-in-your-palm burgers whose size and taste would make Wimpy weak in the knees. Slice fans will remember Adam K.'s pizza expedition through the Heartland earlier this year, but that just wasn't enough. After getting punched in the face by bad pizza, the same way Ryan did when Luke famously welcomed him to that other initialled town, I knew justice had to be served. Maybe they can't get that New Yorkstyle slice right, but if there's one thing the Kansas City knows, it's beef.
And they've got a local chain there that's refreshingly simple, sweet, and so damn special that I just had to get me a burger from Winstead's over this past Memorial Day weekend.
On learning of my indulgent plan, our resident Hamburglar, Hadley, who, despite his fabulous taste in burgers has off-putting stalkerlike tendencies, decided to show up for my date with a "single Winstead" and medium cherry limeade. (You'll get his take on Winstead's when his entry posts later today.) Being the polite and generous soul that I am and knowing that H.H. just loves a partner in crime, even during the most sinless act of eating hamburgers, I kindly welcomed him to my little slice of burger heaven. Silently, I lamented the private moment me and my Winstead might have shared.
Now don't get it twisted (as my lil' sis, "Money P.," would say), I am not proclaiming this the best burger in the K.C. metro area. Although, you should know that K.C. Citysearch readers have voted this the best burger countless years in a row. I'm just sharing a burger treat with y'all that I find delicious and worth the trip. And, Winstead's has been operating since 1940, when the chain issued its simple mission statement, which still rings true today: "We grind U.S. Choice Steak daily for the sandwich." Hence the name "Steakburger," which you'll see all over the mellow green menu.
This is not your thick-cut, juices-dripping-down-your-hands, char-grilled giant of a burger. Like I said before, think Wimpya cartoonish version that he could polish off in a few giant bites. This is the fresh and flavorful direction McDonald's should have taken. The composition, a soft golden bun and meat so thin that its outer edges cook to a nearly deep-fried crispness, is a winning combo.
I chose mine with "everything," which includes mustard, ketchup, raw onion slices, and pickles of the Vlasic kind rather than Klausen brand, sliced lengthwise to cover the span of the patty. However, Winstead's aims to please, which is why it also offers cheese, lettuce, tomato, and bacon for a few extra cents and mayo or grilled onion at no extra charge. Make it a "double" or "triple" and you're still under $4.
I'll let H.H. get into the sides and soda fountain drinks, but before I leave you with a craving, you should also know that no burger here is complete without an order of onion rings. No signs of grease, just crispy morsels of crunch surrounding a mere shave of onion. I'm still dreaming about them. Joined by such creative frozen concoctions as banana split or mint-chocolate-chip milkshakes, you'd be hard pressed to find a more balanced meal.
My satiated self and an overwhelmed H.H. marveled at the lip-smacking lunch we had just shared. In the end I didn't regret his intrusion. After all, what kind of person would I be if I kept such treasures to myself?
Location reviewed: 103rd and Metcalf; locations throughout the KC Metro region.
Short Order: Exceptionally thin, coarsely ground sirloin burgers. Some patrons may want to make theirs a double.
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