Third Street Social’s Animal Style Burger: mustard-seared patties, Thousand Island dressing. Shanley Cox

Here’s what Thrillist critic thought of KC’s 8 ‘most legendary’ burgers

Thrillist, a leading men’s digital lifestyle brand, sent its national restaurant critic to scope out the best burgers in Kansas City as part of his year-long quest to find America’s best burger.

Over 36 hours he ate at eight of “the most legendary in the city” as recommended by “chefs, locals, and KC expats.”

Here’s his ranking of KC’s eight best burgers:

1. Town-Topic Hamburgers: “This is the type of place that made me want to do this trip…..The grilled onions were nearly steamed in, Oklahoma-style. The cheese melding with the onions and the expertly griddled patty was nearly perfect…. There is a little mustard and pickle to balance the beef, meat and cheese but it never overpowered the flavor of the meat.”

2. Westport Flea Market. The Mini Market Burger with American and grilled onions, “I ordered the smallest version of the burger, which is still pretty damn big … the sesame seed bun was perfectly toasted and thin and the patty was cooked exactly to my specifications … you could see the loose grind, and taste the clean, meaty, salty flavor of the beef. … All in all, Westport is an absolute must-hit.”

3. Third Street Social: “Seeing an ‘Animal Style Burger’ on any menu outside of the West fills me with a certain amount of happiness/curiosity…. It was eerily similar to the In-N-Out version, but obviously with that upscale bent.””

4. HiBoy Burger: “It’s a flat and extremely wide burger … the composure is great: The pickles and ketchup/mayo mixture offered a great sugar and acid balance to the cheese and meat; the shredded lettuce and chopped white onion gave some crunch and tang; and the bun was teamed enough to flatten out … though it got a bit soggy by the end.”

5. Winstead’s: “…a must-stop for nostalgia enthusiasts, but also a place with a pretty damn good burger. The patty is Fruit Roll-Ups thin, and subsequently lacks a certain amount of flavor, so you’re going to need to order a double. Also, they put lime sherbet in their cherry limeade.”

6. Humdinger Drive-In: “… feels like a place I would’ve gone with my grandfather had he lived in Kansas City and personally know Hal McRae. As for the burger, it’s a traditional diner-style thin patty with good composition but nothing that really dramatically stands out.”

7. Gram & Dun, Country Club Plaza: “ … the ‘imperial wagyu beef’ (house burger) had a good, loose grind, and the special sauce had some tangy, spicy notes to it, but like the neighborhood, the entire burger was too damn rich … a stronger pickle element would go a long way here.”

8. Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant: “…while I noticed the style was similar to the Oklahoma onion burgers, the execution was spotty. The grilled onions were nearly burnt, there was too much yellow mustard and not a ton of flavor in the super-thin patty, but hey, I’m pretty sure you’re here for the trains anyway.”

HuffPo’s KC faves

The Huffington Post also recently offered “Top 10 Kansas City Favorites – Food and Drink Edition.”

It includes Succotash’s fresh-pressed juices, the sumo-food challenge and a rainbow 8-layer citrus cake; The Farmhouse in the River Market for eggs Benedict and cinnamon rolls; Westport’s Beer Kitchen for blackberry margaritas and zucchini-potato latkes; Hi Hat Coffee in Westwood for the Butter Bean Latte; and on the West Side there’s Novel Restaurant’s crispy egg and duck neck dumplings and Goat Hill Coffee & Soda’s lavender iced latte.

Joyce Smith: 816-234-4692, @JoyceKC