Lawrence’s The Burger Stand is suddenly hotter than a fresh batch of truffle fries.
In February, Zagat named The Burger Stand to its list of “The Best Burgers in 25 Cities.” Now the men’s lifestyle site Thrillist has proclaimed that the Lawrence-based restaurant (which has a second location in Topeka) makes some of the best burgers in the country.
The article praises The Burger Stand’s chipotle-cocoa ketchup, whole grain Guinness mustard, and duck fat fries.
The author also recommends ordering the special Hamburg burger, topped with braised red cabbage and homemade pickle relish, “if you’re feeling bold.”
“And hell, you’re in Kansas, why wouldn’t you be?!?”
I’m not sure what that means, but I am positive that the Hamburg isn’t the sole “bold” selection on The Burger Stand’s menu. The Fire Burger ($8.79) comes with habanero-cactus jam. The Columbian Dog ($5.79) has homemade pineapple mayo. The last time I ate there, I ordered an elk burger with cranberry chutney and a side of bourbon-bacon cheese fries. (There’s also a straight-up Classic burger on the menu with cheddar cheese).
Because The Burger Stand has received so much national recognition lately, people tend to overlook other great burgers in Lawrence. One of my all-time favorites is at Star Bar, the recently redecorated bar inside Pachamama’s.
Star Bar’s menu features flatbread, roasted marrow crostini, and several gourmet burgers. My go-to is the Murder Burger ($9), a country-fried patty with bacon gravy, gorgonzola-avocado mash, and pickled radish. The toppings change with the season, but the burger always tastes sinful. It’s so big and rich that you can split it with a friend -- just order an appetizer on the side.
Last weekend, I grabbed a seat on the patio and ordered the Murder Burger with a pint of Free State beer (lately I’m into the Stormchaser IPA) and pomme frites. Star Bar serves them with three dipping sauces: truffle fondue, malt vinegar dijonnaise and “meatloaf glaze” ketchup.
Sarah Gish writes dining and bar guides for Ink magazine. She also writes a monthly cooking feature for The Star’s food section and tweets @sarah_gish.