Thursday, October 30, 2014


Ranch House BBQ
1714 Lindberg Dr
Columbia, MO 65201



Overall Scores:

Richard: Burger-43/50; Sides-9/10; Service=14/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10
Mark: Burger-40/50; Sides 8/10; Service-15/10; Ambiance-8/10; Location-7/10

Richard orders the $6.95 special - a burger and fries. "I like the flavor of this burger. It's overcooked, though. They toasted this bun...that's great; I really like the bun. This is a pretty good burger! 43/50!"

I order the cheeseburger special ($6.95) and replace the side of fires with a baked potato. I brought my own gluten free bun. My burger has a 'smokey' flavor (not unsurprisingly - this is a BBQ place - and mine, too, is overdone. This is a fairly thin patty so it is difficult to cook it anything but medium-well to well-done. I also think the burger is good. 40/50.

"The fries are good," Richard says. "They should have been cooked  a bit longer; they're just a bit 'soft,'  but they are the right size for me. I think these were frozen. 9/10."

Note: our server tells us the fries arrive frozen and are seasoned once they get to the restaurant.

Since the fries are NOT gluten free (I don't know if they come from the manufacturer with a coating and I don't know if the seasoning at the restaurant is gf, but it doesn't matter: the fries are cooked in the same oil as flour-battered products so they are NOT gluten free) I replace them (at no additional cost) with a baked potato. The potato is fine. 8/10.

Regarding our server, Richard says "Our server didn't ask how we wanted our burgers done. But, I suspect it wouldn't matter; they pretty much have to be medium to well-done. I don't know what is going on with our server - we haven't seen much of her. We don't have silverware, no water, we've waited quite awhile to place our order...14/20.

I score service at 15/20. Richard is right: when we get there our server is slow to get to the table. She takes our order and that is the last we see of her for awhile. Our food is brought to the table by a fella sitting in a nearby booth who informs us he does not work at the restaurant but he is a friend of the family, so he wanted to help out. He makes sure we get silverware and our drinks. Our original server shows up to ask how everything is, then disappears again. I think the next time we see her is when we ask for the check. 15/20.

"The place is big, but it's quiet. That may be because it's not too busy. I'll score ambiance at 8/10.

The place exudes one of my favorite smells: it smells like BBQ! Richard is correct: the place is big, is not overcrowded and in my opinion feels quite comfortable. I like it; and it appears to be quite clean. I also score ambiance at 8/10.

Location gets a 7/10 from Richard. "Getting here means putting on a few miles (Exit 137 off I-70) but there is plentiful parking and the parking is free."

7/10 is the score I give location as well. I live on the north side and Ranch House BBQ is a 20-25 minute trip. I appreciate the plentiful, free parking.

Richard and I enjoyed Ranch House BBQ. This is our second visit for burgers since the place opened. I'm headed out there soon to try the BBQ.

While we like the burger, we do NOT think this is the best hamburger in Columbia.

Have you had a burger at Ranch House BBQ? Let us know what you think. We'd LOVE to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


2101 W Broadway
Columbia, MO 65203

Urban Spoon


Burger Menu         Burger Special

Overall Scores:

Richard: Burger-41/50; Sides-6/10; Service-18; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10
Mark: Burger-40/50; Sides-8/10; Service-18/10; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10

Richard orders the Burger/Fries ($5.50) and says "My burger is a bit greasy. I have to say, it's reasonably tasty. This is just the right size for me (about 6 oz) and I think it's seasoned OK. I'll score this burger at 41/50."

I order the Jumbo Burger with cheese and fries (two patties; 8 oz,; $6.95since the fries are NOT gluten free (cross contamination; the fries are cooked in the same oil as flour-battered products) I replace them with a baked potato. My burger is not particularly greasy and I also think mine is seasoned fine. Since the patties are thin they are cooked well down. 40/50

"These fries could have been cooked a bit longer. They don't have much flavor. I think they use frozen fries here. These are not my favorite fries. 6/10," Richard says.

My baked potato is pretty good. Our server brings me plenty of butter and sour cream, so I'm satisfied with it. 8/10.

"We got our food quickly and our server stopped by the table just enough," Richard says. "I think she did a nice job. 18/20."

I also score service at 18/20 and agree: our server was outgoing, friendly, prompt and attentive. 18/20.

Regarding ambiance Richards says "They're busy, but it's not too noisy in here. And I'm not feeling rushed at all. I think this place feels pretty comfortable. I always enjoy coming here, 8/10."

I agree with what Richard has to say and also score ambiance at 8/10. G & D reminds me very much of a diner in appearance (I love a diner), yet the menu does not feel at all diner-like. I also enjoy eating at G & D occasionally.

"G & D is not too far out of the city and it's not at all hard to find. There's plenty of free parking, a real plus! 8/10."

I score location at 8/10 and I DO like the free parking, but, in my opinion, the parking lot seems...crowded. On this particular day the person driving the car in front of me almost smashes into a car that is backing out of a parking space. The driver appears to panic, slams on the brakes, then starts backing! As the car gets nearer and nearer to me I start honking the horn (something I very, very rarely do) and the driver slams on the brakes again, stopping just short of hitting my car. All's well that ends well, right? Due to G & D being located on the corner of two very busy streets (Stadium and Broadway) exiting the parking lot can be a real pain depending on which way one is heading. I'm exiting on to Broadway and taking a right, so I have no problem. Getting the chance to cross lanes in order to  take a left can take some serious time.

Richard and I both enjoyed this burger, but feel this is NOT the best burger in Columbia.

We'd LOVE to hear from you. Have you had a burger at G & D recently? Let us know what YOU think! 

Enjoy your day, and here's an excellent idea: have a burger!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Shiloh Bar and Grill
402 E Broadway
Columbia, MO 65201



Burger Menu


Richard: Burger-43/50; Side-6/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-8/10
Mark; Burger-40/50; Sides-5/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-7/10

Richard orders the Black & Bleu Burger ($8.99; + $1.00 for Chili as a side) and says "My burger is over-cooked, but it's pretty good. It's nice and thick and they were quite generous with the blue cheese. The bun is good, too. 43/50.

I have the Original Burger ($8.59 with cheese) and I think my burger is OK. As Richard says, it's fairly thick, but mine, too, is overcooked. The flavor is OK but I wish the burger had more punch - it's a bit under-flavored for my taste. 40/50.

"My chili has way, way too many beans," Richard says. "I don't care much for it. There's minimal flavor. Overall the chili is quite a disappointment, but I'll persevere: I won't let it ruin my day. I just won't be ordering it again. 6/10. And I think that's generous."

I can't eat my cole slaw side (the fries are NOT gluten free due to cross contamination since the fries are cooked in the same oil as flour-battered products). There is WAY too much horse radish in the slaw and horse radish is the only thing I can taste. To be fair, I don't like horse radish, so I have Richard (who does like it) take a taste. He agrees: way too much horse radish. I won't be ordering it again.

"Our server did not ask how we wanted our burgers done," Richard says. "She" (Avery-a relatively new employee) "was attentive overall, though, and I think she did a nice job. 18/20."

I also score Service at 18/20. Avery visits our table just enough, was friendly and outgoing and does a nice job. One complaint: our table rocks back and forth. I hate that! I put some sugar packets underneath one of the legs and that resolves the problem (at least while we're here).

"It gets pretty loud in here as it fills up, doesn't it? We got here at 11:30 and it was nice and quiet. Now, at noon, it feels pretty busy! They have ample TV's tuned to a variety of channels, though, so I can watch ESPN, the news, and so forth. That's good. The place does not seem all that comfortable to me, though. 7/10," Richard says.

I agree. It feels a bit like I'm in a cave: it's a bit dark inside for my taste. And it is noisy, even for a sports bar. 7/10.

Richard scores location at 8/10.  "I found parking with no problem. And the parking is FREE! It's downtown so getting to it is no problem."

I score location at 7/10. Being downtown on a Friday can be a hassle with all the traffic. I, too, found FREE parking in Shiloh's lot, BUT as I was pulling out the parking lot was being tented in preparation for the football game (against Georgia: we lost, 34-0; ouch!) so backing out of my space was a hassle since the tent was very close to the back of my car. We were told when we got there we needed to be out of the parking lot by 1:30, but being out by 12:30 would have been better advice.

The burger at Shiloh Bar and Grill is fine but this is NOT the best burger in Columbia in our opinion.

Have you had a burger at Shiloh recently? If so, tell us what you think: did you like the burger? How about the chili or the slaw (or the fries)? Would you go back?

We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Cheddar's Cafe
1010 I-70 SW
Columbia, MO 65203

Columbia Menu

Yelp (Columbia):

Overall Scores:
Richard: Burger-43/50; Side-8/10; Service-18/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10
Mark: Burger-43/50; Side-9+/10; Service-19/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10

Richard orders the Original Burger (with fries: $7.28; 1/2 pound) and says "This is a pretty tasty burger. I really like the price: this is the lowest price we've paid for a burger this size so it's a really excellent 'deal.' They overcooked it a tiny bit which took some of the flavor, but I'm not at all disappointed with this burger. At this price, this is a great value. 43/50."

I also order the Original Burger ($5.28 + .50 cents for cheese and $1.99 for fries) and agree with Richard that this is a tasty, nicely priced burger. It was tasty, but the sauce was a tiny bit overwhelming. 43/50.

"These fries are good, but they're not 'great,'" Richard says. I like the size, I think they are not frozen, but there's not a lot of flavor. 8/10."

I ask the server if the fries are cooked in a dedicated oil (in other words, NOT cooked in the same oil as any flour-battered products like wings, onion rings, etc.). I am assured, repeatedly, that a dedicated oil is used, meaning the fries ARE gluten free! So I order them; I had no reaction after eating the fries so I think my fries were cooked in a dedicated oil. I suggest, if you're gluten free, that you ask before ordering the fries as I am not convinced the folks at Cheddar's ALWAYS use a dedicated oil. I give the fries a 9+ because I can actually eat them! A real treat! Richard is right, though: there is not much flavor and my fries needed salt. They were nicely crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Richard scores service at 18/20. "Our server did a nice job. He was quick, attentive and answered all our questions."

I score service at 19/20 because our server did a nice job of making sure the fries were being cooked in a dedicated oil. I agree with Richard: he visited the enough without being a nuisance, responded quickly to any of our requests (they were very busy) and overall did good work. He did NOT ask us how we wanted our burgers done, though (medium rare) and they came to the table a bit overdone.

Ambiance gets an 8/10 from both of us.

Regarding ambiance, Richard says "For a place this big, they've done a nice job of splitting it up. They haven't gone overboard on the decorations and though they're busy it's no problem having a conversation."

I liked our booth, located in one of the 'out-of-the-way corners' meaning we could hear each other when we talked, the music wasn't too loud and we didn't have anyone bumping into us as they made their way to a table.

Location also got an 8/10 from the two of us.

"For me, Cheddar's is a bit 'out of the way,' but there is plenty of free parking. It took me twenty minutes to get here from my office, though," Richard says.

Cheddar's is not quite as 'out-of-the-way' for me as it is for Richard. And of course, I love the fact that there is plenty of FREE parking (no meters!) and I REALLY love the fact I could eat the fries! I'll be going back!

Have you been to Cheddar's in Columbia, recently? If so, let us know what you think. Was the service OK? How was the burger? Were the fries cooked in a dedicated oil? We'd love to hear from you!

We like this burger and, combined with the excellent price, it scores well, but we feel it is NOT the best burger in Columbia. What do YOU think? Let us know!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HOULIHAN'S, Columbia, MO

2541 Broadway Bluffs Dr
Columbia, MO 65201

Lunch Menu

Yelp Reviews

Overall Scores:
Richard: Burger-44/50; Sides-9/10; Service-15/20; Ambiance-7/10; Location-8/10
Mark: Burger-43/50; Sides-8/10; Service-17/20; Ambiance-8/10; Location-8/10

Richard orders a relatively plain burger ($9.75) with lettuce and tomato (each item off the Build-Your-Own menu is an additional .50 cents) and says "It's cooked just right. It;s flavorful, I'm not a fan of pretzel buns; I think the bun detracts from the burger's flavor. 44/50."

I also order a plain burger from the Build-Your-Own menu, with BBQ sauce. It's a 1/2 lb Black Angus burger, and I think it's a tasty burger. 43/40.

Regarding his side of fries, Richard says "These fries are cooked just right! I think they're prepped right here on site; I don't think they're frozen. 9/10 for the fries!"

Since the fries are NOT gluten free (cross contamination from the oil in they are fried) I go with the brown rice with pineapple. My side is pretty darn good! I keep hoping, though, that more restaurants will use a 'clean' oil in which to prepare their fries (verses cooking the fries in the same oil as the flour-battered products). 8/10.

"I know it isn't our servers fault," Richard says, "but I think it is terrible to charge an extra fifty cents  for cheese, etc., especially when the burger is $9.75!  I'm feeling 'nickled and dimed.' It seems really petty to me! The service, overall, was fine. It seems they have gotten rid of the free lunch offer if we don't get our food in a timely manner, though. 15/17."

I agree with Richard: the fifty cent per item surcharge, on top of the $9.75 price tag, does take some of the bloom off this particular rose. Our server did ask how we wanted our burgers done, and overall did an OK job. 17/20.

Regarding ambiance, Richard says "You know, for a place as big as this it doesn't feel like I'm sitting in a gymnasium. It's quiet enough, and overall, it feels fine. 7/10."

I score ambiance 8/10 and agree with Richard: it's fine.

"There's plenty of free parking and it's not too far off 63, so the location is fine with me," Richard says. "I'll score location 8/10, even though it's a bit on the 'wrong' side of town."

I also score location 8/10. Houlihan's is relatively easy to get too (there was a bit of construction going on in the road the day we ate here, and traffic was heavy, making it a bit of a 'pain' to get through traffic and into the parking lot).

Have you been to Houlihan's for a burger lately? We'd love your opinion. Tell us what you think, and THANKS for reading our Burger Blog!