Ok, those who know me know that I enjoy going to any humble homegrown burger joint that tips toward the “dive” end of the scale. I’m talking about a “greasy spoon” kinda place that has a thin film of grease coating the floor and almost every other surface not required to be cleaned daily by the board of health. Town Topic, Grandstand, Westport Flea Market, and Haye’s are good examples. These places eschew the ambience (or maybe their lack of ambience is their ambience?) and pour it all into their burgers which are heaven on a bun. That being said I am going to talk about a more upscale burger emporium that has developed a large following in Prairie Village, KS named BRGR Kitchen and Bar, 4038 W. 83rd St.. It is a part of the local Bread and Butter Concepts restaurant group that is responsible for several other stand out KC restaurants like Taco Republic, Republica, Gram and Dun, and Urban Table so it’s foodie bona fide’s are formidable.
I have been there several times and tried a different burger each time. They do have other items on the menu but I can’t seem to stay away from the burgers. They use a special short rib and chuck blend for their burgers and also offer bison (extra charge). These are gourmet burgers and the sides are extra so can get a bit on the pricey side but one bite will help convince you it was worth it. You won’t find Heinz on the table for condiments, they make their own ketchup and mustard and both are very good. So lets get into the burgers shall we?
My first was the “Jucy Lucy”, which, as burger heads know, is a burger filled with melted cheese. You always remember your first, right? Especially when there is a little pain involved with the memory. I made a mistake by not puncturing the burger first before going in for the kill but I couldn’t wait! I was rewarded for my impatient first bite by a load of hot, melted cheese lava blowing out the side of the burger and landing on my arm. Yeah, it hurt some, but only for a little while until I licked it off! Note: if it isn’t already skewered by the kitchen, always take a knife and puncture the Jucy Lucy FIRST! Although the burger fought back admirably it ended up as a few smears on my plate and was delicious. You will need extra napkins for this bad girl.
On a different trip I went with the “Fat Dawg” burger. This burger is criminally tasty with half pound patty, pastrami, spicy coleslaw, gruyere cheese and some of BRGR’s made in house spicy mustard, all served on a rye bun. Not for the faint of heart and I am sure your cardiologist would not approve. Again the burger was delicious (you see a pattern developing here?) and paired with a cold beer was near to an out-of-body experience. The patty was requested to be cooked “medium” and they hit that perfectly so the patty had plenty of moistness. The rye bun was fresh and held up to the juiciness of the burger well without falling apart.
Lastly, I just recently had the “Steakhouse” which is a 8 oz. patty of their Hatfield signature beef special blend (no antibiotics or growth hormones and raised locally in Maryville, MO), roasted mushrooms, onion straws, white cheddar, watercress, and steak sauce all served on a brioche bun. I have a pic of this bad boy and it was as tasty as it looks. The patty was cooked perfectly to “medium” and had a great “crust” from the grill that really added to the flavor. They must use a very hot grill to get the crust so crispy without overcooking the patty. The mushrooms, onion straws and steak sauce were the perfect flavors to complement the beefiness of the patty. Throw on the white cheddar for some tang and… Boom! Fuhgedaboutit! You done!
They offer as sides fries, tots and onion rings. The fries are slender but not overly so with a nice crust so they have a pleasant crunch and are served in a generous helping. I like my fries plain but my friends tell me the truffle oil fries are delicious. The fries and the tots come in regular, truffle, and sweet potato with the tots served with a garlic or chipotle aioli dipping sauce. You can also opt for onion rings or Gram and Dun (sister restaurant) onion straws.
The imaginative and varied menu offers not only burgers (13 choices not counting any specials) but also appetizers, salads (yikes), a custom mac and cheese, tacos (chicken or short rib), pot roast, fish and chips, and a variety of non-burger sandwiches (the Funky Chicken sandwich is a real standout). They also offer a nice selection of milk shakes as well as some Adult shakes that are amazing (try the Caramel Kahlua shake! OMG!).
Service is attentive and you are usually greeted and seated fast but expect to wait a while to get in on some evenings as the crowds can be large. They don’t take reservations and Friday evenings seem to be their busiest. It is a family oriented restaurant so expect to be dining with some kiddos and the accompanying joyful din.
So, to wrap it up, if you are in the Prairie Village vicinity and that burger hankering starts up this place is worth the trip. It’s a little pricey but the BRGR Kitchen and Bar serves up some of the best gourmet burgers in KC! If you are in the Power and Light district check out their second location there. I haven’t been yet but I have been told they are every bit as good as the the original PV location.