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Archive for Thursday, July 1, 2010

Burger battle gaining steam

New eateries tweak old favorite

July 1, 2010

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Zach Sperry, of Lawrence, cooks some hamburgers Tuesday at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 2030 W. 23rd St. Lawrence’s hamburger market has exploded recently, with Freddy’s experiencing competition from Spangles, Culver’s, Smashburger and the upcoming Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 623 Vt., which opens Friday.

Zach Sperry, of Lawrence, cooks some hamburgers Tuesday at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 2030 W. 23rd St. Lawrence’s hamburger market has exploded recently, with Freddy’s experiencing competition from Spangles, Culver’s, Smashburger and the upcoming Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 623 Vt., which opens Friday.

Matt Lawson has cooked for Wolfgang Puck on many occasions. He’d like to cook for the superstar chef again, and there’s no doubt what he would serve — a hamburger.

Yeah, we’re wondering what the puck is going on here, too?

Basically, we’re told, a hamburger revolution.

“The hamburger has changed,” said Lawson, who was a chef at Puck’s swanky Cut restaurant in Beverly Hills shortly after it opened in 2006. “We’ve been eating hamburgers for a hundred years now. People are like, it’s beef and cheese between two pieces of bread. OK, next.”

Evidently Lawrence restaurateurs have heard the call. Lawrence’s hamburger market is hotter than white charcoal in July. Lawson is teaming up with local bar owners Steve Gaudreau and Gregg Mann to open Dempsey’s Burger Pub, 623 Vt., on Friday.

The Burger Pub will take the place of the Burger Stand at Dempsey’s, which is moving to 803 Mass., and renaming itself to the Burger Stand at the Casbah. It opens today.

Confused yet? Don’t be. Just know that the hamburger — sometimes with truffle butter or habañero-cactus jam — is virtually around every corner these days.

In addition to the two gourmet burger shops, Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, 23rd and Iowa, and Smashburger, Sixth and Wakarusa, have opened within the last month.

Going back a little further, Spangles and Culver’s both are relatively new entrants onto the scene. Local Burger began taking burgers to a new level with organic and unique cuts of meat, and upscale Pachamama’s added one burger to their menu about three years ago and now has four.

“I’m sure there is a ceiling somewhere on this hamburger trend,” said Ken Baker, owner and chef of Pachamama’s. “Time will tell on that, but I don’t ever see us taking hamburgers off our menu.”

In fact, it is the gourmet guys that have taken to the trend as strong as anyone. At Lawson’s new Burger Pub, he’ll have a variety of burgers with high-style culinary sauces, and he’ll use a classic French-style technique that his partner says will create a noticeable difference in taste.

“Right now, a lot of people are extracting their flavors by cooking the burgers in butter and sugars,” said Gaudreau, who also owns Quinton’s. “Sometimes after you’ve eaten some burgers, you don’t feel that well. He’s not doing it that way. He gets his flavor through the technique. When I was hiring him, I ate two and a half burgers in three hours, and I felt good.”

But all the new hamburger places may do more than create choice. They also may create a new question among diners: What side of the hamburger tracks are you from? Do you like your hamburger with chambord-onion jam and pickled beets, or is a slice of tomato and a leaf of iceberg as fancy as you’ll get?

Brian Wise, owner of the local Freddy’s, thinks both types of hamburgers will do fine for a while, but he is interested in seeing how far the hamburger pushes its creative envelope.

“At the end of the day, I think you do run the risk of getting a little further away from what people want, which is just a great burger,” Wise said. “People want to be able to taste the burger.

“But I think all this is great. One of the really fun parts of owning a Freddy’s is getting to go out and be a burger connoisseur.”

These days, that could be a full-time job in itself.

Comments

ralphralph 3 years, 9 months ago

Smashburger = TaxBurger

Beware! Extra "Secret" sales tax on every purchase!

TaxBurger! TaxBurger! TaxBurger!

Shame on you!

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bolshavik_vw 3 years, 9 months ago

Although no one beats Fritz's in KCK! For Burgers and fries..

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Bob Kraxner 3 years, 9 months ago

Unless there is one of Jimmy Buffet's restaurants, known as" Margaritaville", somewhere in the Midwest, you are $hit out of luck on finding the best burger in the world, called the "cheeseburger in paradise"... there is absolutely none better, anywhere, period.

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bisky1 3 years, 9 months ago

best burger and fries-jim's steakhouse in pittsburg. the wife and i can split a cheesburger and one order of fries and not want more. best fast food burger- dog and shake in wichita. get a cheese dog to go with it.

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bolshavik_vw 3 years, 9 months ago

Honestly another great Burger Town here locally is Topeka. There are so many awesome places to grab a burger. Although we do a lot of traveling and we have found some wonderful Burger Places in Oklahoma.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

The LJW reporter forgot local burger ..."

The article says - "Local Burger began taking burgers to a new level with organic and unique cuts of meat..."

Very good. Very good.

I stand corrected.

Those new smoked tofu fries are yumo. Hats off to Hillary for taking the jump.

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fusionchef 3 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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wagonburner23 3 years, 9 months ago

West Coast Saloon is the best in town.

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Jeremi Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Just finished my burger with mushrooms, shallots, smoked cheddar and chow-chow from Tennessee. Waiting patiently for my next movement.

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Lulu 3 years, 9 months ago

The smell of roasting animal cadavers over a hot plate, hot coals, or steamer in conjunction with the thought that red means blood and brown means cooked blood on top of the muscle and tissue of a deceased cow killed by electrocution probe fills me nauseous to think that humyns consume this dastardly smelling flesh ground for your orifices to intake makes me want to get sick at the very thought at best. It makes me want to start a new movement or movements, whichever the case may be.

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Calliope877 3 years, 9 months ago

I think the 5 Guys burger is kinda bland, but I like their fries.

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Eride 3 years, 9 months ago

I personally think Dempseys is overrated and while we are on the subject of being overrated... so is In-N-Out.

Now I actually like In-N-Out, for what it is... it is great. But it is in no way near as good as people around here make it out to be.

As for Dempseys, if you have to serve your burger rare and slathered in sauces to make it taste good you are doing something wrong. The one good thing Dempseys does (its fries) aren't even made in house.

Out of all the "gourmet" burgers around this town I'd say Pachamama's burger wins hands down. It is big, juicy, cooked correctly and the toppings don't completely overpower the actual important part... the meat.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 9 months ago

Burger Stand at the Casbah

---!!LMAO!!


in and out is the best.

I do like Joe's burgers downtown. love the mushrooms.

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formerlyanonymous 3 years, 9 months ago

The Aphrodite hamburger at Mad Greek is awesome.

I took only a few bites of my Black-and-Blue burger at Dempsey's before I thought I was going to be sick. I'm not sure what the rave reviews are about. The burger was moist, but the other flavors were overpowering.

Jo Shmo's used to serve a Westside burger that was great--bbq sauce, onion ring, etc. but they took it off of the menu....

In-N-Out is the best for your basic burger.

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BigPrune 3 years, 9 months ago

Freddy's is too much like Steak and Shake but they don't have ex-con looking people working there like dirty Burger King.

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jrlii 3 years, 9 months ago

I tried Five Guys the other day.

The burger was quite good, the fries a touch under-done, if in vast volume, and the atmosphere obnoxious.

Come on, guys, your music doesn't need to be so loud you have to shout to make yourself heard!

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ooophelia 3 years, 9 months ago

They're building an In-N-Out in Texas. It's about 500 miles from here, which is the same delivery radius they have for SoCal. It's totally possible we could have in In-N-Out here someday. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/26/in-n-out-to-texas-burger_n_591188.html

When that day comes, they will be my favorite in town. For now, we LOVE Dempsey's (uh, Casbah now, I guess), but it's never been as good as the first time I ate there, right after they opened. The best burger in the world is Nessie Burger, in Fallbrook, CA. Any other CA transplants know what I'm talking about?!?
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=nessie+burger,+oceanside,+ca&fb=1&gl=us&hq=nessie+burger,&hnear=Oceanside,+CA&cid=9732516869355852829

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LJ Whirled 3 years, 9 months ago

TaxBurger/SmashBurger .... it costs more, but they just don't tell you so.

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thatonedude 3 years, 9 months ago

The Burger Stand's Black and Blue burger, that's good stuff.

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thomgreen 3 years, 9 months ago

  1. West Coast Saloon Western Burger, not gourmet, just delicious.
  2. The Burger Stand - Kobe Burger, gourmet goodness
  3. Local Burger - Any of their burgers, just a crap shoot on whether it's done or not (not particular to pink on the inside burgers).

I haven't tried any of the burgers from Free State, Mad Greek, or Freddie's, but I consider all the others listed as just commercial fast food chains.

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BigPrune 3 years, 9 months ago

Wendy's Hot & Juicy Burger King's Whopper McDonald's Big Mac White Castle's Slider then there's In-N-Out Burger

....all the other places just don't have clever names for their burgers

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kat66044 3 years, 9 months ago

My favorite burger is at the Mad Greek, closely followed by Local Burger grain fed beef and the Kobe burger from the Burger Stand. I tried SmashBurger, but did not enjoy it, not bad, just not to my taste.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

The LJW reporter forgot LOCAL BURGER AND FREE STATE BREWERY both of which contribute plenty to local growers.

Local Burger is doing a new fry....... smoked tofu fries. Arron Cromwell said he loves these fries. The tofu is local by Central Soy Tofu. The smoked Tofu Fry is quite tasty. Local Burger designed their own veggie burger (yumo) and serves a tofu burger as well.

Lots of folks do like Local Burger meat products. No doubt the Free State burger is good as well. I don't eat meat.

The new Burger Stand will be offering 3 veggie burgers cooked on a separate grill. They too will be offering smoked Tofu fries.

Local Burger and Burger Stand have designed their own Smoked Tofu fry recipes. Again the smoked Tofu fry at Local Burger was very good. Both establishments are using Central Soy Tofu.

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ivalueamerica 3 years, 9 months ago

If I want a burger, i head to Topeka for Bill´s chuckburger as I have for almost 40 years.

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hansolo 3 years, 9 months ago

It would seem the Ten Restaurant / Jayhawker Bar in the Eldridge Hotel would certainly have to qualify as serving one of Lawrence's best burgers.

Just don't tell anyone!

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Clickker 3 years, 9 months ago

What about the old Griffs. On 23rd street?

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Ian Legler 3 years, 9 months ago

There will never be a burger that can beat the Steak Burgers from a Winstead's. Hands down the best I've ever had.

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tony88 3 years, 9 months ago

Back when i ate meat, Jim's Diner on Prospect in KCMO was amazing. Not a gourmet burger by any means, but the biggest fatburger i've ever indulged in. As far as gourmet, Dempsey's for sure.

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1029 3 years, 9 months ago

By far, the worst hamburger I've ever had in my life was from Spangles. I ended up throwing it away after 2-3 bites and going to Dillon's to get something else to eat. (I was headed toward Clinton, it was kinda late in the night, and I didn't know of anything else open around there, so I figured I'd give it a try.)

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Randall Barnes 3 years, 9 months ago

the new freddy's is good.they messed up my order so i got my meal for free.west coast is great and yes wheres white castle ? love the spangles jingle ( spangles just taste nastier)

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Jeremi Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

what about the pad in topeka? pad burger, pretty good.

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Jeremi Lewis 3 years, 9 months ago

Westcoast Saloon, great burger.

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scopi_guy 3 years, 9 months ago

New commercial script for Renee to read for Spangles:

"Stop by Spangles for our new spicy seasoned swiss burger served with seven selections of steak sauce" (have to read in a voice like Sylvester the cat to get the full effect)

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bolshavik_vw 3 years, 9 months ago

The ones that have the best burgers are 5 Guys and Culverts. The best Fries and Cheese Curds are at Culverts. The one with the best Dessert is Freddy's with their Custard. The O Rings at Freddys and Spangles are awesome. The place that is needing to be gone is Steak N Shake, they are not what they once were. And may not have what it takes to hold on here in Lawrence. Although the thing I love about Freddy's is they have Coca Cola.

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pfunk81 3 years, 9 months ago

Spangles and Culvers have been open for at least 5 and 7 years respectively, hardly "relatively new entrants."

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readingissexy 3 years, 9 months ago

cooking your own burgers on the grill is by far the best! and the only person you have to bitch to about how it taste if its not up to your standards is yourself. and its much cheaper.

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bookemdano 3 years, 9 months ago

Echo the love for 5 Guys and the disgust for Spangles--ugh. You wonder how a plce like that stays open?

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Marcy McGuffie 3 years, 9 months ago

Meh. I don't understand all the love for 5 Guys. It's ok but is overpriced and tastes like something I could make at home - decent, but nothing special. I ate there once and that was more than enough.

I finally tried The Burger Stand this past weekend and was a little bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong - the Kobe burger was quite tasty (and so were the sweet potato fries). But, after all the hype, I guess I was expecting my eyes to roll back in my head. Even though that didn't happen, I can definitely see going back there for an occasional treat.

I haven't tried all burgers in town, but when I crave a yummy, greasy burger - I will always head to Slow Ride Roadhouse. No frills tastiness!

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Jaminrawk 3 years, 9 months ago

5 Guys wins hands down. I've travelled a lot in my career and 5 Guys stands up to every burger I've ever had.

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gr3sam 3 years, 9 months ago

Cozy is awesome! Let's go to Salina now!!!!!! Remember when they replaced their grill, then learned it was the seasoned grill that made the burgers great? They had to go reclaim the old grill!!!

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Kirk Larson 3 years, 9 months ago

They're trying to build a Cozy Inn in Aggieville in Manhattan. That means an hour less drivee to get sacks of oniony goodness.

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gr3sam 3 years, 9 months ago

Have tried them all. 5 Guys is the best greasy burger in town, and our kids and their friends love their split hotdogs! Freddies is too similar to Steak/Shake, Winsteads and nothing special, although their strawberry shortcake concrete is awesome!! The chains are, well, chains.

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rooseveltjones 3 years, 9 months ago

you want a burger revolution in lawrence it is local burger

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ChiHawkInKS 3 years, 9 months ago

Sorry, I don't currently live in Lawrence. When did a 5 guys open there?.. and where is it??

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Jeteras 3 years, 9 months ago

whatever,,,, In and Out Burger is the best burger in the country.. All these Foo Foo burger will never hold a candle. Just sux they will never be in Kansas..

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workerman 3 years, 9 months ago

Culver's has the worst service of any burger place I've been to, and that's saying a lot for Lawrence, which is notorious for poor service. This town does not have a decent regular burger like Bionic Burger, Jack's North High Carryout, or Sport Burger. You people haven't even HAD a burger till you've had an In N' Out Burger. Where is Quantrill when you need him? This town sucks. Lol, I can't believe there isn't a tofu burger stand that caters to pan-handling gutter-punks. I'm sure that would be a big hit here. Or wait, maybe, maybe a burger place where you can drive through and run over someone while you're drunk, grab a burger, and then drive off with little or no consequences, that would be the BEST. Ahahahahaha...ahahahaha, hold on a sec, I gotta give some smelly dread-locked hippies some money for their permanent vacation, they need money cuz they're "travellin'." Well, I would have done that, but a snotty a$$ KU student from Chicago cut me off. I guess I'll just go back to my $1000 a month studio courtesy of Horvath properties. Yeaaaaaaaaaa Lawrence.

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cmm889 3 years, 9 months ago

The Burgstand at Dempsey's is so far the best burger i've had here in Lawrence... they do have some "fancier" things to do with it, but at the end of the day its still just a burger and the Kobe is a dang good one...

5guys is WAY too pricey for what they give you... they have good burgers and good fries but I feel like I could do the same on a grill for 20 people based upon the pricing ( may be a slight exaggeration )

Spangles? Gross. dont get me started on it.

havn't tried the new freddy's or smash burger though.. guess i've got some more places to try out...

oh and local burger is pretty tasty as well especially if your having to take your vegetarian girlfriend out for a meal...

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fan4kufootball 3 years, 9 months ago

Spangles have the worst burgers in town. And their fries - they just taste funky - like maybe they use the same frying oil for other things as well. I would rather eat a Sonic burger.

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Jeff Cuttell 3 years, 9 months ago

Culver's Butter Burgers are very good! Tried Freddies and they are pretty good except the fries suck. Smashburger is ok (great sweet potato fries though). Dempsey/ Burger Stand burgers suck! I want to taste the burger, not a bunch of crap to cover the taste up. Five Guys are pretty good. Pricey but two people can fill up with one fry order.

Spangles burgers--can't say. I've never eaten there because they never run any coupons in the paper and the commercials are so terrible and make the food look horrible.

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Ronda Miller 3 years, 9 months ago

I've been house bound too long. I obviously need to go out and do a burger comparison of my own. Obviously a rough job, yeah, but somebody, everybody needs to do it.

Buffalo burgers anyone?

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GardenMomma 3 years, 9 months ago

FYI, as of today, you'll be paying 9.85% in sales tax at Smashburger. Yep, an extra 1% on the regular Lawrence sales tax rate.

http://www.ksrevenue.org/pdf/forms/pub1700710.xls

Look under "special jurisdiction addresses"

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MacHeath 3 years, 9 months ago

I like 5Guys and Culvers, because they are traditional burgers like you used to get a lot of places. I like the burger bar too, and I am sure I will try the new one at Dempsy's. They really ought to fix the place up some though. Be cool if they would bring you the stuff too.

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he_who_knows_all 3 years, 9 months ago

“But I think all this is great. One of the really fun parts of owning a Freddy’s is getting to go out and be a burger connoisseur.” - Brian Wise

...and if you know Brian Wise you can tbe sure that he's tried a few. I would if I were in his shoes.

Bring back your 6th & Wakarusa Quiznos location Brian. That was my favorite place to eat on my lunch hour since I could walk there.

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cobaltblue 3 years, 9 months ago

Hands down, Five Guys is the best burger in town. Their fries rival Arthur Bryant's. Burger/fries at the Star Bar at Pacha is pretty darn good too.

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hail2oldku 3 years, 9 months ago

You throw Spangles and Culvers in there as burger places, but no mention of Five Guys.

PATHETIC!!! If you're going to include Spangles you may as well kick in McD, BK and Wendy's.

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