Like the humble cupcake before it, the burger has seen a resurgence in the hearts of foodies. The result: Gourmet versions of the iconic American food are showing up on menus all over, and legit burger restaurants — places that don't serve burgers in paper bags — are popping up all over town. That's good news for families, as cheeseburgers have long been a staple of kids' menus. So matter what your family is craving, from funky and contemporary toppings to fresh out of the greasy sack, there are oh-so-many options:
Bailey's Range | Downtown St. Louis There is nothing your kids won't love about Bailey's Range. From their brightly painted picnic tables outside to the homemade ice cream inside, the burgers are the icing on the cake. There are traditional options for picky eaters, and way out there choices for the adventurous at your table (Lamb burger with chipotle chevre, anyone?). The beef is all Missouri grass fed, and everything is made from scratch — even the ketchup and the buns! Find Bailey's Range at 920 Olive St., St. Louis, Mo., 63101. Call 314-241-8121.
5 Star Burgers | Clayton Sure it's technically a chain (there are three other locations in Taos, Santa Fe and Denver) but it's owned and operated by local restaurant veteran Steve Gontram of Harvest fame. And if you ever ate at Harvest in Gontram's day, then you know you have nothing to fear. 5 Star Burgers has veggie burgers, turkey burgers, bison burgers and good ole Midwestern pasture-raised beef burgers. Add in high-quality treatments (espresso-pepper rub, New Mexico Hatch Chiles), solid sides, craft beer for mom and dad, and you have a fun night out for your family. An awesome happy hour menu, and an affordable kids menu (just $3.50 for burgers and fries) mean it can be an economical night out, too. Find 5 Star Burgers at 8125 Maryland Ave., Clayton, Mo, 63105. Call 314-720-4350.
Blueberry Hill | University City We probably don't have to tell you why this place is awesome, but for the uninitiated, the St. Louis institution offers one of the best burgers in town, especially with a scoop of fresh cheddar and a side of seasoned fries. But as good as the burger is the atmosphere, which is packed floor-to-ceiling with owner Joe Edward's beloved pop culture memorabilia. No one will be bored waiting for those cooked-to-order burgers to show up! Find Blueberry Hill at 6504 Delmar, University City, Mo, 63130. Call 314-727-4444.
Carl's Drive In | Brentwood A word of advice: get there early. Carl's is a tiny, classic counter diner that's always been more interested in burgers than building. Patrons (happily) sit elbow to elbow waiting for the skinny burgers to come off the griddle. Kids love bellying up to the counter — especially the ones that get treated to a homemade root beer. Find Carl's Drive In at 9033 Manchester Road, St. Louis, Mo., 63144. Call 314-961-9652.
Fletchers Kitchen & Tap | Belleville An east-side gem, the burgers aren't the only thing on Fletcher's menu that make it a family favorite — but they should be. The giant burgers (half pound!) are good for sharing and are grilled to perfection over a hickory flame. Classic treatments like mushroom and Swiss and cheddar and BBQ will satisfy classic cravings. Find Fletcher's Kitchen & Tap at 6101 W. Main St., Belleville, Ill., 62223. Call 618-239-3317.
Cheeburger Cheeburger | Chesterfield and Des Peres This — like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Red Robin and Smashburger — falls squarely in the chain category. But it makes our list because the prices are fair, the menus are varied and the restaurants are very family-friendly. Cheeburger Cheeburger is a definite step up from the drive-thru in both beef quality and atmosphere. Restaurants have a '50s feel, and diners can choose between 20 oz., 14 oz., 10 oz., 7 oz., and 5.5 oz. burgers, which is perfect for the various-sized tummies at your table. And according to their menu, there are more than 8 million possible burger combinations. So really, there is something for everyone. Find Cheeburger Cheeburger at 2012 Chesterfield Center, Chesterfield, Mo., 63017 or 13311 Manchester Road, Des Peres, Mo., 63131.
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