Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Teller's Gallery and Bar
820 E Broadway
Columbia, MO 65201

Best Burger Recipes Article


Overall scores:
Richard-Burger 44/50; Sides 6/10; Service 15/20; Ambiance 8/10; Location 6/10
Mark-Burger 42/50; Sides 8/10; Service 16/20; Ambiance 8/10; Location 7/10

Richard orders the Blackened Bleu Cheeseburger ($6.99) with tater tots ($1.00). "This is a big " (1/2 LB) burger. And juicy, too. I'm going to need another napkin. I ordered it medium rare, but this is much closer to rare. It should have been left on the grill for another minute or so. How often do you hear me say a burger is not done enough? 44/50!"


I order the 1/2 LB Charbroiled Burger ($6.99; the menu says $6.25) with mashed ($1.00). I think it's quite good, but it needs seasoning (some salt would be good). My burger, too, was rare, which was fine for me: I would prefer rare to medium when I order medium rare! Richard is right: this is a big, juicy burger. I like it! (42/50). As always, I brought my own gluten free bun.

Regarding the tater tots, Richard says "Well, I'm fairly sure these are frozen and come from a bag from the grocery store. They are not very flavorful. 6/10. I won't order these again."

I order the cheesy-mashed and I have to say, I think the potatoes are pretty good. 8/10.

"We did get service, so that's good," Richard says, "but it took quite awhile. Maybe it's because we're sitting outside. I note there is no salt and pepper on the table and there are not many table visits. I need salt, another napkin...15/20."

I have to agree: a few more timely visits to the table would have been a good thing. 16/20.

"I like sitting outside; we can watch the folks walk by. 8/8," Richard says.

Sitting outside is fine with me, but I think it's a fairly hot day and a little air conditioning would have been fine with me. 8/10.

"It's downtown.. I had a tough time finding parking. And I had to plug the meter, so now I have to watch the clock while I eat. 6/7," Richards says.

I had no trouble finding parking (lucky today). I hate having to put money in the meter, though. And the price of a ticket has jumped way up, so that's not good. I do like the way Teller's is positioned on the corner. Good view. 7/7.

This is a good burger. And the folks at Teller's are consistent, too, as we enjoyed the burger last time we were here. We don't think this is the best burger in Columbia, though.

Have you had a burger at Teller's (a reader tells me they only serve burgers at lunch - he went at night, no burgers available)? If so, let us know: are we on target, or are we crazy rating this burger the way we did?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Cracker Barrel
3304 Clark Lane
Columbia, MO 65202

(Are these the 10 best burger places in America?)


Burger Menu

Overall Scores
RH: Burger-42/50; Sides-7/10; Service-17/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10
MD: Burger-40/50; Sides-8/10; Service-19/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10

Richard orders the cheeseburgers (1/2 lb, $8.39 w/fries) and says "This burgers is a bit above average. It's a good piece of meat, cooked pretty well, not greasy. It's not 'overloaded' with 'stuff' and the bun is holding up well. 42/50!"

I order the bacon cheeseburger ($6.99; no side other than the slaw that comes with the burger; the fries are NOT gluten free). My burger is good, though slightly overcooked. It's a good burger, but not really distinguishable from many other burgers available in the area. 40/50.

"My fries are too big and not cooked quite enough," Richard says. "There's minimal flavoring on them. The slaw is good. I'll give the fries 7/10."

Since the fries are not gluten free I don't order a side, but I give the slaw an 8/10. It's just sweet enough without being too sweet.

"Our server did a nice job," Richard says. "It did take a bit of time for our burgers to arrive, but they are pretty busy. I'll score service at 17/20."

I score service at 19/20. I think our server did a nice job, has a good sense of humor is just conversational enough to be fun while not being over-bearing.

Richard scores ambiance at 8/10. "I think the place is pretty comfortable," he says. "And I can do all my shopping right up front, too!" he says with a laugh.

I think the front lobby - where all the stuff for sale is located - is quite 'kitschy' but I guess that's the point. The restaurant area is nice; they're busy but the place is not too loud and not too crowded. I score ambiance at 8/10.

"I'm not crazy about the intersection at Clark Lane and do my best to avoid it," Richard says. "But the parking is free and there's plenty of it and the place is easy to find. I'll score location at 8/10."

I also score location at 8/10 for the same reason. Clark Lane is a bit of a pain at the intersection of 63 and Clark Lane.

This is a good burger. We'd go back for another one. It's a good sized burger and they got it cooked close to the way we both ordered it: medium rare (though both of our burgers were closer to medium).

Have you had a burger at the Columbia Cracker Barrel? If so, we'd enjoy knowing what you think. Post a reply and let us know about your experience!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Mad Cow
503 E. Nifong
Columbia, MO 65201


Overall Scores
RH: Burger-40/50; Sides-8/10; Service-17/20; Ambiance-5/10; Location-9/10
MD: Burger-38/50; Sides-8/10; Service - 17/20; Ambiance -7/10; Location - 7/10

It was time for a return trip to Mad Cow.  Our first trip was shortly after the place opened.

Richard orders a bacon cheeseburger with fries ($4.99-single patty). "This is good bacon! It helps the burger, which is, I think, good meat, but pretty flavorless. The bun held up nicely. I'll give this 40/50."

I have the bacon cheeseburger as well ($6.30-two patties). Richard is right: the meat seems to be OK, but there is minimal flavor and because it is overcooked (well done) there's not much 'juice' either. I'll score this one at 38/50.

Richard scores his fries at 8/10. "I'll try the Mad Cow Sauce next time. These fries are pretty flavorless."


The person at the counter (you order at the counter) tells me that they will cook the fries in a dedicated oil. I ask if there are any battered products cooked in the oil and am told that yes, but they have two deep fryers and one has not had any battered products fried in it and she will make sure the cook uses the 'clean' oil so my fires will be gluten free.

Although I'm very concerned about this - the chance for a mistake and cross-contamination is high, I fear - I'm so excited at the chance to have fries at a restaurant I go ahead and order them.

I think the fires are under-cooked. So you know, I think the same of the fries at Five Guys (this place is very,  very much like a Five Guys). I do like how salty they are, though, and at the time score them at 8/10.


On Saturday morning - about 15 hours after eating at Mad Cow, I start to not feel very well. I eat Saturday night - the same food as my wife, though (for the first time ever) I eat less than she does.

Around 2 AM on Sunday morning I find myself in the bathroom with severe - I mean severe - stomach cramps. This continues through Tuesday morning. Things got so bad I ate nothing for three days. And was happy about it (another first!).

Richard had no stomach problems, so I'm sure the food at Mad Cow was fine. Susan had no problems, so I'm sure the food we cooked at home was fine.

I, on the other hand, had serious stomach issues and the only thing I can think that could have caused it  - the symptoms replicated the symptoms I get whenever I mistakenly ingest gluten -  is that I ate something that contained gluten.


Of course, I can't say for sure what the source of the gluten was, but if I were a betting man I believe I would come up a winner with the source I consider the culprit. The truth is, I cannot say for sure that my suspect was the source of the gluten, or that my illness was even gluten-related.

I'm just saying: from this point forward, if I even think there might be even the tiniest possibility of cross-contamination I, personally,  will NOT take the chance.

There's not a  lot to say about the service here since you walk up to the counter, order, take your number and wait for it to be called. That being said:

Richard scores service 16/20. "It's easy and they were pretty quick," he says.

I score service at 17/20 (at the time) since they are willing to cook the fries in a 'dedicated' oil.

Richard scores ambiance at 5/10 and says "What ambiance?"

I score it 7/10. It is what it is - and as far as that goes, the ambiance is fine. No free peanuts, though.

Because it's on his side of town Richard scores location 9/10. "And there's plenty of free parking,, too,"  he says.

I like the free parking, but the place is on the south side, a long trip for me, but it is easy to get too, so I score location at 7/10.

This is an OK burger but we are do not think this is the best burger in Columbia.

And we still think Mad Cow is an 'interesting' name for a burger joint!

Have you eaten at Mad Cow? If so, we'd like to hear from  you. 


My wife  (Mark's) was in D.C. last week and while there she and her friends stopped for a burger at (Ted's) Bulletin on 14th Street (1818 14th St., NW). I'm told the burgers were fine ($12+) but the interesting thing is the burger with the interesting name Drew's Peanut Butter Bacon Burger ($12.79)

The description reads: Sesame seed bun, peanut butter, Applewood smoked bacon - side of sweet Roma tomato jam

I admit it: peanut butter on a burger (with bacon) does NOT sound at all appetizing to me, but two of my wife's friends ordered it and here's the thing: THEY BOTH LOVED IT! One says she will never (and that is a long! time) have a burger again without peanut butter.

So now I'm going to have to try it. I'll let you know.

If you've had a burger with peanut butter please let us know what you thought of it. Thanks!

Friday, June 13, 2014


JJ's Cafe
600 Business Loop 70W
Columbia, MO 65203

JJ's Cafe Burger Menu

Overall Scores:
RH: Burger-42/50; Sides-8/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10
MD: Burger-40/50; Sides-8/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10

Richard says his burger is  "A pretty good piece of meat. It's been cooked at least a minute too long, though. I really like the grilled onions, and the tomato. 42/50!"

I order JJ's Burger ($6.79) with slaw (1/3 1b.; the fries are NOT gluten free). While there is nothing to truly distinguish this burger from many burgers available in Columbia, this is a pretty good burger.. Mine, too, was overcooked. 40/50.

Richard scores his fries 8/10 and says "The fries needed another minute of cooking time. There not quite as crisp as they could be. I think they could use a bit more flavoring, too, but I have to say, overall, these are pretty good fries. 8/10."

I give my slaw an 8/10. It doesn't taste of vinegar but the sauce has the just-right 'sweet' taste that I prefer. 8/10.

"I have no complaints about the service," Richard reports. "Our server visited our table just the right amount of times and responded quickly whenever we asked for anything. 18/20."

I score service 18/20 as well. Our server did a nice job, had a good sense of humor and got our food to us quickly.

Regarding ambiance, Richard notes "It is what it is: a diner! And as far as diners go, this one is nice! 8/10."

8/10 for ambiance works for me, too. It doesn't 'feel' that much like a typical 'diner' to me, though - but feels more like an inexpensive sit-down family restaurant. Our booth has plenty of space and while they are busy, the place is not too loud.

"The location is fine. It's easy to find, there's plenty of parking and the parking is free.7/10" says Richard.

I give location  a 8/10 for the same  reasons.

The burger at JJ's Cafe is fine, but it is not the best burger in Columbia.

Have you had a burger at JJ's Cafe? If so, let us know what you think. We'd enjoy hearing from you.

14 BURGER RECIPES 'FOR DAD'   for Father's Day

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Willie's Pub and Pool
1109 E Broadway
Columbia, MO 65201


Burger Menu

Overall scores:
RH: Burger-44/50; Sides-8/10; Service-15/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10
MD:Burger-40/50; Sides-8/10; Service-16/20; Ambiance-9/10; Location-8/10

After a LOOOOONG wait for our waitress to finally show up, Richard orders a Big Kahuna Burger with fires ($8.99). "I like the pineapple. And the marinade," he says. I think this burger is really good. I score this burger 44/50.

I also order the Big Kahuna Burger (I brought my own gluten free bun) and sub a side salad for the fries (the fries are NOT gluten free) and I think it has a nice char on the outside, but is overcooked (medium well versus medium rare as ordered). I score the burger 40/50.

"My fries weren't cooked quite long enough," Richard says. "They're not very crispy. There is some seasoning, but a bit more  would be nice/ 8/10."

I score my side salad at 8/10. I thought it was fine. I keep hoping to find a restaurant with a dedicated oil for the fries.

Regarding service Richard says "Pitiful. We were here 30 minutes before we ordered. They were busy, true, but perhaps they should increase their wait staff. 30 minutes, plus a long wait for the food? Way too  long. 15/20."

I agree: the wait to place our order was far to long. And the wait for our food, once we finally ordered, was too long, as well. If a person wants a quick in-and-out lunch, perhaps Willie's is not the place to visit. Our server did ask  how we wanted our burgers done - medium rare - but regardless, they came pretty close to well done.

Ambiance scored a 9/10 from Richard. "I like sitting out here on the patio. It's busy, but not too noisy."

I score ambiance 9/10 as well. But since we're outside patrons can (apparently) smoke, and I must have been directly down-wind of a smoker. That I did not enjoy. Otherwise I enjoyed the patio as well.

"8/10 on location," Richard says. "I found a place to park right in front of the restaurant. I had to plug the meter, though!"

I was not as fortunate as Richard  regarding parking and ended up parking several blocks away. It seems to take more quarters to get anytime on the meter every time I go downtown. And traffic is crazy: very heavy traffic flow, trucks stopped in the middle of the road unloading, kind of a pain in the behind. I'm thinking the 8/10 I gave location was being generous.

Overall the burgers were fine. Richard scored his burger bit higher than I did, but I thought the burger was OK. This is not the best burger in Columbia.

Have you had a burger at Willie's in downtown  Columbia? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Let us know what YOU thought about the burger.