Posted By Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
11/17/2008 10:20:00 PM
We've encountered a style of hamburger cookery in the Midwest that we rarely see in the East. Many of these places use fresh, coarsely-ground beef and smoosh it down hard on the cooktop, resulting in a thin, irregularly-formed patty with crisp edges and the chaw of real beef which hasn't been pulverized to a pulpy paste. The Kansas City chain Winstead's makes such a burger.
The burgers are not large; we recommend ordering them in at least the double configuration (with grilled onions, please) for proper burger balance. The standard works garnish also includes mustard, ketchup, and pickles. On the side, french fries and fun-greasy onion rings are available. To drink, get that wonderfully refreshing Midwest treat, a limeade (which is carbonated, unlike lemonade).
This is a sit-down place, steps from Country Club Plaza, with waitress service, but priced like your local McDonald's. It feels less like a fast-food chain, though, than a soda fountain (the ice cream sodas and shakes are very popular) crossed with a luncheonette/diner. The chain has changed hands and is now part of a local restaurant conglomerate. Such a situation makes us wary but, unlike old legendary in-name-only relics like, say, Lindy's and Nedick's in New York City, for instance, with Winstead's there actually still seems to be a "there" there.