Thursday, April 30, 2015


302 South 9th Street
Columbia, MO 65201


Burger Menu



NOTE: New ownership took this place over in January of 2015. 

Overall scores:
RH: Burger-39/50; Sides-9/10; Service-15/20; Ambiance-5/10; Location-5/10
MD: Burger-38/50; Sides-8/10; Service-15/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-6/10

Richard orders a 'Plain Jane' ($9.50 with fries) and says "My burger is dry. It's overcooked. There's very little cheese. It's seasoned...OK. This is an average burger, at best. I like the" Salt and Pepper "bun, though.  39/50."

I also have the Plain Jane (with fries, which ARE gluten free). I score it 38/50. I brought my own bun ( a gf bun - Udi's - is available for an extra $1.00).  My burger is overcooked, needs seasoning, and is not very tasty. The meat is a mix of chuck and short rib. I think the burger, at $9.50, is overpriced.

Both Richard and I prefer our burgers medium rare. The burgers we received were medium to medium well.

"My fries are pretty good," Richard says. "There is some seasoning, they're a little bit overcooked, but overall, not too bad. 9/10."

Since the fries ARE gluten free I order them as my side. One of the servers told me Ingredients has a 'special protocol' for gluten free fries, which I took to mean a 'dedicated' oil is used. When I asked, the server repeated that they use a 'special protocol' when a customer asks for gf, I did not have any negative reaction. My fries were a bit overcooked and there were many small 'bits and pieces' on my plate, but they were seasoned pretty well. 8/10.

"Service leaves a lot to be desired," Richard says. "It took way too long to get our food. Nearly 25 minutes. And that's after having to wait in line and order our food at the counter. They have a system that is, I guess, good for them, but it's not so good for the consumer. 15/20."

It did take WAY too long to get our food. They were busy, but still...way too long! I also score service at 15/20, because of the wait.

Regarding ambiance, Richard says "There isn't much, is there? It's really loud in here. Too loud. The chairs at the table we were sitting at" (we moved to a booth when one became available) "are very uncomfortable. They're like,,,toy chairs ...Ambiance? Not really. 5/10.

I score ambiance at 7/10 but agree with Richard regarding the chairs at the table. And it is loud. The place has a 'cafeteria' feel to me.  I'm thinking 7/10 is generous.

"Finding parking was intolerable," Richard says. "PLUS, I had to pay the meter. I used a debit card and could not figure out how to purchase less than two hours. It was a long walk from the parking space I finally found. 5/10."

I score location (Ingredient's is downtown, across from the campus) at 6/10. I also had a hard time finding parking, and, of course, had to pay the 'user tax,' meaning I had to plug the meter, A penny a minute. I hate that!

The burger, under this new ownership (corporate, I think) is no better than it was when it was 'locally' owned, and may be worse. Service seems to be worse: one orders at the counter, as if at a fast food place, then waits (and waits and waits) at the table for the server to deliver the food.

We do NOT think this is the best burger in Columbia.

Have you been to Ingredients since the ownership change? If so, and you had a burger, let us know what you think. We'd LOVE to hear from you!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Como Smoke and Fire
4600 Paris Rd (Hwy B)
Columbia, MO 65202






Overall Scores:
Richard: Burger-43/50; Sides-9/10; Service-17/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-8/10
Mark: Burger-43/50; Sides-8/10; Service-17/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-9/10

"I wish my bacon was cooked a bit more," Richard says. (1/2 1b, Bacon & Blue Burger/fires-$10.99). "My burger, though, is cooked perfectly! It's reasonably well seasoned, and this is a good piece of meat. 43/50."

I like my burger as well (1/2 1b Como Burger with creamy slaw, $9.99). It's cooked as ordered (medium rare) and, other than needing a bit of salt, was seasoned nicely. I very much enjoyed the toppings! 43/50.

Como Smoke and Fire burger medium rare

About his fries Richard says "This is a very generous portion! They're cooked just right, but they could stand a bit more seasoning. 9/10."

Since the fires are NOT gluten free I go with the creamy slaw (vinegar is also available). I think it's pretty good, but prefer my slaw a tiny, tiny bit sweeter. 8/10. (Richard tried my slaw and says "that is pretty good.").

"The service is OK. It took quite awhile to get our food," Richard says. "They're pretty busy...and she did come around to ask if we had everything we needed, so...17/20 for service."

I also score service at 17/20. One waitress told me I could sub anything on the 'Sides' menu for the fries (NOT gluten free), but the waitress that actually took our order told me that is not the case - several ide items require an additional investment. Our server(s) did visit the table throughout to ask how we were doing, etc., so overall, service was OK. It did take considerable time to get our food.

Regarding ambiance Richard says "Ambiance is kind of non-existent here. There are some TV's, and a giant replica of a fish on the wall...other than that, there is not much adding to the feel of the place. The chairs, I think, are not very comfortable. 7/10."

Richard has a point: there is not much 'ambiance,' and to me the place feels a bit 'cave-like.' It does not have the 'feel' of a BBQ place (this does not feel like a 'hole-in-the-wall as many BBQ places do - that is an ambiance I like for a BBQ joint) but it does smell good. 7/10.

"This is a bit of a drive for me, but it's easy to find" (it's next to the gas station) "and there is free parking, so...8/10 for location."

It IS easy to find, and is a relatively short drive for me. Parking is free (I had to drive around a bit to find a place to park, as did Richard) so I'll score location at 9/10.

We both feel this is a pretty good burger, but we don't think it's the best burger in Columbia.

How about you? Have you been to Como Smoke and Fire for a burger? If so, let us know what you think. We'd LOVE to hear from you!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Coley's American Bistro
15 S 6th St
Columbia, MO 65201

Burger Menu




Date dined: 4/10/15

Overall scores:
RH: Burger-33/50; Sides-8/10; Service-12/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10
MD: Burger-35/50; Sides- NONE; Service-16/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10

"My burger is overcooked," Richard says, "There's not much flavoring, and I'm thinking they over-worked it when they formed it into a hamburger patty. I'm not a fan of pretzel buns. This isn't my favorite burger. 33/50."

My burger, too, was well-done (I ordered it medium rare). Whatever seasoning is on my burger, I don't like it. I think the burger feels 'soft' - mushy - and so I'm thinking Richard is right on his 'over-worked' idea. This isn't my favorite burger, either. 35/50.

'Medium Rare' burger from Coley's; closer to well done.

"Theses fries aren't too bad," Richard says. "They're almost overcooked, and too small, but there is some flavoring...8/10."

Since the fries are NOT gluten free I went without a side.  Sides,other than fries, are an additional $2.00. Our server DID return to the table to offer me a side at n/c, but I declined (most are not gf). It was an extremely nice gesture on the part of our server and the management, I thought.

Regarding service, Richard says "It took a long, long time to get our burgers. And now I've had to ask twice for condiments....I know they're busy, but...12/20."

I agree the service is slow. And we did have to ask twice for ketchup, mustard and mayo. Our server didn't ask how we wanted our burgers done (could be they are following a city rule as to how burgers have to be cooked) and did not seem to know much about the menu. Our server did offer me a side at n/c (only the fries are n/c with a burger order; otherwise, sides are $2), which I appreciated. And they were busy. Still...16/20.

"I think this is a pleasant place when they aren't so busy," Richard says. "Ambiance gets 8/10."

Regarding ambiance, I agree with Richard. Because they were so busy the place seemed a bit 'loud' to me. I'm thinking they have remodeled a bit - maybe they just moved some tables around - since the last time I was there, and I like the way it is laid out. 8/10.

"Since Coley's is on the edge of downtown, parking can be hard to find near the restaurant. And, of course, I had to plug the meter. 7/10 for location," Richard says.

I luckily found a parking space right in front of the restaurant. Like Richard, I, too, had to plug the meter. I HATE that! 7/10,

Have you had a burger at Coley's? If so, what did you think? Do you agree with us, or are we way off on our scores? Let us know: we'd LOVE to hear from you!

In our opinion, this is not the best burger in Columbia.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


2451 Broadway Bluffs Dr
Columbia, MO 65201


Burger Menu



Date visited: 4/3/15

Overall Scores
RH: Burger-43/50; Sides-9/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-8/10
MD: Burger-44/50; Sides-9/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10

"I like the burger, but I'm not so crazy about the bun," Richard says. "My burger" ($9.75 w/fries) "is seasoned nicely, but it is slightly overcooked. I'll give this burger a 43/50."

NOTE: Cheese is 50 cents extra!

I enjoyed my burger, but at $9.75, plus 50 cents for cheese, it seems overpriced to me (consider Murry's-a bigger and better burger - for $5.75 (fries $2 extra). I score the burger at 44/50. Since the fires are NOT gluten free I went with the fruit bowl.

NOTE: Sometimes they use a dedicated oil to cook the fries, BUT beware: MOST OFTEN they do NOT use a dedicated oil, meaning the fries are NOT gluten free. Ask your server to check: mine told me the fries were cooked in a dedicated oil, I asked her to double-check and she returned with the news that the cook was NOT using a dedicated oil!

"My fries are cooked perfectly," Richard says. "They're nicely seasoned, too! Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside...9/10 from me!"

Since the fries are not gf I go with the fruit bowl and score it 9/10, but I am a blueberry fanatic!

Service gets an 18/20 from Richard. "Our food got to our table quickly, our server visited just enough without butting in on our conversation, she responded nicely to our requests...overall, a nice job!"

I also score service at 8/10 BUT you folks that are GF: the waitress was certain the fries were cooked in a dedicated oil. She went back to the kitchen to confirm that and returned with the news that a dedicated oil was NOT being used. Make sure you have your server double-check!

NOTE: Our server brought chocolate chip cookies to our table when we finished eating. They looked great; I wish I could have eaten them! Richard liked them!

Richard says the ambiance is "Pretty comfortable. I don't feel as if I'm sitting at a table set up on the floor in a gymnasium. The place is 'broken up' nicely, allowing for conversation even if the place is crowded. 7/10."

I score ambiance at 8/10. I thought the background music was a bit too loud, but otherwise I agree with Richard.

"Houlihan's is just a bit off 63, so it's easy to get too. And there's plenty of FREE parking," Richard says, "so I'll score location at 8/10.

I also score location at 8/10. For whatever reason, the traffic today as I drove to the restaurant from the far north side was as heavy as I have ever seen it. I agree Houlihan's is relatively easy to get to and there is FREE parking.

Have you had a burger at Houlihan's? If so, we'd LOVE to hear your opinion. Give us a reply and let us know what you think!

While this IS a good burger, we don't think this is the best hamburger in Columbia.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Flat Branch Pub & Brewery
115 S Fifth St
Columbia, MO




Burger Menu

Overall scores:
RH: Burger-45.5/50; Sides-9.5/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10
MD: Burger 45/50; Sides-5/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10

Richard orders the Pub Burger ($8.99 with Swiss Cheese and fries; 1/2 1b.) and says "My burger is cooked perfectly" (Ordered medium rare) "and the flavor is superb! This is a very tasty burger. My bun help up very nicely, too! 45.5/50, and still, I think, the best burger in town."

Flat Branch burger medium rare

I also order the Pub Burger ($8.99 with Cheddar Cheese and coleslaw; I brought my own gluten free bun) and agree with Richard: this is my favorite burger in Columbia, also (but the burger at Murry's is SO close I think I could go either way). My burger is cooked just right and is seasoned nicely. 45/50!

"My fries are really good," Richard says, "but there are too many tiny ones. The seasoning is excellent. And they're cooked perfectly: crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I have to go with 9.5/10!"

I order the coleslaw and can't eat it. It seems the folks at Flat Branch have changed the recipe a bit. For me there is way too much horseradish (I think that's what it is) and Blue Cheese (according to our server Blue Cheese has been added. note; I do NOT like Blue Cheese.) If you like your slaw heavily seasoned with horseradish and Blue Cheese you might love this, but I give it a 5/10.

Service scores an 18/20 for Richard. "Our food came out promptly and there was really good follow up by our server. Nice job!

I also score service at 18/20 for the same reasons detailed by Richard.

"I'm going to score ambiance at 8/10," Richard says. "It's pretty loud in here - the place is busy - but it would be nice if they could figure out a way to muffle the noise a bit; I feel as if I have to holler across the table for you to hear me. Other than that, I really like this place!"

I also score ambiance at 8/10 and agree with Richard that it is a bit loud, making it hard to converse. I really like the place, though.

Location gets an 7/10 from Richard. "Parking was a challenge, even though we got here a bit early. And I had to plug the meter! I think this place is equidistant from both of our offices, so I have no complaint with location."

I score location at 7/10 because it drives me crazy to have to put money in a parking meter! And downtown Columbia, on a Friday afternoon, can be a zoo. But I did find a (metered!) parking space right in front of the restaurant, so that worked out.

NOTE: If you get there early enough you may be able to find a place to park (free!) in the lot (there are two: upper and lower).

We, once again, have rated this as the BEST BURGER in Columbia! 

Have you had a burger at Flat Branch? If so, what do you think? Is our review fair? Is the burger as good as we suggest it is? Let us know: we would LOVE to hear from you.