Raymond Reyes was whipping up a favorite dish of his daughters — beer-battered fried onion rings.
When he had a little batter left over, he used it on their hamburger patties and fried them up, too. The burgers had a nice crunch and became another favorite of the family’s.
Now, as the KC Fried Burger, it is a customer favorite at his new Burger State in Waldo.
Reyes has been in the restaurant business for about three decades, starting as a teenager busing tables, then as a bartender, and for two decades as a manager working for such popular locally owned operations as Fred P. Ott’s and The Well Bar Grill Rooftop. He most recently was a consultant, working with restaurants throughout the metro.
“One thing that I noticed is that a classic burger joint, no matter where you put it, as long as you had good food and as long as you had quick service and friendly service, it did well,” Reyes said.
Customer favorites also include the Paleo Plate (two burgers, fried egg and bacon on a bed of lettuce, tomato and onion for $8.95), a spicy chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese ($8.25), and onion rings ($2.75).
Burger State also sells such items as chili, fish sandwiches, black bean burgers, and salads that Reyes makes for his daughters — Ava, 12, and Isabel, 14 — including grilled chicken, spicy fried chicken and fresh greens.
Burger State is in a strip center at 8920 Wornall Road. Smokestack Bar-B-Q had long operated in the space, followed by The Stack BarBQ.
Reyes, who also lives in Waldo, considered many names for his classic burger joint, but most of those were already taken. So he went with was going to be his tagline: “burger state of mind.”
It’s a name that will work if he expands to the Kansas side of the state line, he said.