Best of Kansas City: A look at Best Burgers from the past



Blanc Burgers served the premier patty of 2008 -- and are still rolling along
On the eve of The Pitch's 2010 "Best of Kansas City" issue next week, we thought it would be entertaining -- and revealing -- to take a backward glance at some of our past winners. Who's still on top? Which restaurants had their 15 minutes of fame and are barely remembered today?

Ten years ago -- long before burgers came into froufrou vogue -- we chose an iconic local snack shack as the winner in the "Best Burger" category. Today the place still serves winning burgers: Fritz's Railroad Restaurant


There's nothing really fancy about the signature burger at any of the timeless Fritz's locations (the original diner in Kansas City, Kansas, the Crown Center satellite or the Shawnee outpost), but the fabulous Gen-Dare is satisfying without needing to be stylish. The Gen-Dare is an interesting combination of texture and taste: a grilled beef patty topped with a pile of crunchy hash browns, fragrant grilled onions, melted American cheese and pickles.

The Town Topic burger...with tots
The next year, The Pitch stayed on the course of honoring local legends by choosing Town Topic's burgers for the 2001 prize. We still feel strongly enough about the three locally owned dinettes that we recently paid a long-overdue homage to their longevity and style.

A neighborhood saloon on Kansas City's south side, the Daily Limit garnered the "Best Burger" prize in 2002. The bar is still around (at 523 East Red Bridge Road), but we can't say if the burgers are still sensational after eight years.

The burgers, however, are still terrific at the 2003 winner, the Humdinger Drive-In, another iconic fast-food palace, on the East Side. It's been a culinary treasure since 1962 and serves great breakfast sandwiches, too, such as the Big Kahuna.

Let's have a brief -- a very brief -- moment of silence for 2005's "Best Burger," from an unassuming diner in Kansas City, Kansas, called Maxima'z. It's gone.

The following year's prize went to the Hereford House in Zona Rosa, which still serves great burgers. So do all the suburban locations of the Hereford House; the original downtown restaurant was charbroiled forever, though, in 2008.

The winners from 2007 to 2009 were burgers served in upscale saloons, including the $10 sandwich served at 12 Baltimore -- duck fat is the secret imgredient -- in the Hotel Phillips; Blanc Burgers + Bottles; and last year's choice, The Well.

Invariably, the readers vote their own way in this category, most often naming the Westport Flea Market tops. But in 2008, the readers and The Pitch agreed on Blanc Burgers + Bottles.

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