The Five-Buck Lunch

Grandpa’s Burger Box serves up goodness from the grill

Updated: 2014-03-19T19:27:34Z

By CINDY HOEDEL

The Kansas City Star

How can you not stop at a cinder block shack with a mural on the front depicting a woman in Daisy Duke shorts chasing a pig and a chicken down a hill while waving a spatula in the air?

The mural might get you in the door of Grandpa’s Burger Box just off the main drag through Tonganoxie, but the made-to-order burgers, sandwiches, rings and fries will keep you coming back.

If you’ve never been, the bacon cheeseburger ($4.10) is a good introductory selection. The burger is juicy, the bacon crispy, the bun toasted, the cheese entirely melted. The sandwich is garnished with fat slices of onion and tomato, a fresh, crunchy lettuce leaf and crinkle-cut dill pickle slices.

A sign instructs patrons to “Ask for mustard, catsup and mayonnaise,” so I did and applied the condiments myself from single-serve packets.

Judging from what the regulars were ordering while I was waiting on my burger, the FatBoy (a double burger) and pork tenderloin are much in demand. The fries ($2.09) are served very hot and crispy with almost no discernible salt, which is nice for people who like to apply their own.

The original Grandpa, Jesse Smith, who opened the joint in 2007, died last July. Before he did, he sold the business to then-employee Kristin Conley and told her, “Don’t change a thing.”

Conley left the menu of classic grill fare exactly the same, but she was inspired by a dream one night to paint the plain white exterior of the building to make it more noticeable to people passing through town.

As a result, the exterior is now as inviting as the cheerful servers inside, who greet most patrons by name and know how they like their food.

I have a feeling Grandpa would approve.

Grandpa’s Burger Box

106 W. Second St., Tonganoxie (just off U.S. 40)

913-369-8994

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday

Parking: Free in lot

Don’t miss deal: Bacon cheeseburger, $4.10

Vegetarian options: Not so much

Credit cards: Yes

To reach Cindy Hoedel, call 816-234-4304 or send email to choedel@kcstar.com. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and The Star’s Chow Town blog.

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