The Burger Stand first operated in Dempsey’s Pub. About 18 months ago culinary couples Molly and Robert Krause and Simon and Codi Bates moved it to the old Casbah grocery space. Now called the Burger Stand at the Casbah, it sits next door to the other restaurant the foursome own, Esquina. Esquina recently revamped its menu and switched up its cuisine from Mexican to what they are calling “Mediterranean Food with a Spanish Flair”.
This is an order-at-a-counter operation, though if you grab a seat at the bar a bartender will wait on you. There’s also a separate line for ordering downstairs that is open on busy nights, which it was the night we visited. I suspect it’s always packed on game nights, but they do a good job of getting the orders out and turning the tables. We stood in line for about 25 minutes, ordered our burgers and a pitcher of beer, and were lucky enough to snag a booth where we waited for our name to be called. The pick up area is in the back, down a few steps, where diners can also pump their own ketchups into little paper cups for dipping fries.
The Burger Stand offers several vegetarian options, but we opted for the black bean burger (as opposed to lentil or tofu) and it now has a prominent spot on my list of favorite veggie burgers. The poblano salsa and pepper jack cheese gave it some spice and my addition of cactus-habanero jam (which comes with the Fire Burger) kicked it up a notch.
I rarely eat a real beef burger, so when I do I want it to be really something special. The Black and Blue obliged on all fronts. It was incredibly flavorful and juicy, a perfect medium rare as ordered, the big chunk of bleu cheese impacted every bite and the apple chutney added a bit of cool. I realized when I was nearing my last bite that I hadn’t added ketchup or mustard, which is as natural a motion to me as people who salt something before tasting it. The burger was perfectly composed as it was.
The Burger Stand offers a ton of homemade sauces for dunking the burger or fries…. cherry-pepper ketchup, guajillo-chili dip and parmesan-roasted garlic aioli, and a variety of mustards.
The french fries were my least favorite part of the meal. I thought the sweet potato fries were better than the duck fat fries or the truffle fries. I’m a skin-on lady, so these didn’t do much for me, but my dining companions were less picky and enjoyed them. I’d have to give Blanc Burger the nod on the fries, but I’d drive back to Lawrence for those burgers.
The Burger Stand recently opened a second location in Topeka. I know there are plenty of burger joints in Kansas City, but I’d love to see the next expansion eastward so I don’t have to drive so far for one of those black bean burgers…..