Nothing is more satisfying than a hot, fresh burger—a fact which is especially true in Missouri, a state known for its cattle drives and love affair with beef. You might or might not find a real life cowboy in one of these burger joints, but you’ll definitely find burgers worth the trip. Everyone will find something they love at these 10 burger joints in Missouri.
The Ecco Lounge is part of Jefferson City history. The building dates back to the 1860s, when it started life as a hotel and eatery, and the lounge itself opened in the 1940s. It’s always been known as a place for great hamburgers, and its most recent incarnation—new owners refurbished the insides and expanded the menu in 2010—continues that tradition. Be sure to try the Aiby Burger (blackened hamburger grilled with hot sauce, topped with sautéed onions, mushrooms, pepperoncini, and Provel cheese).
Bailey’s is not just any burger joint: it’s in a category all its own. While most of Bailey’s burgers are all-beef, the menu also includes bison, duck, pork, chicken, lamb, and veggie burgers. Portions are large, and the elaborate toppings create a meal that can be enjoyed without the benefit of any side dishes (though the smoked onion rings are delicious!). If it’s your first time visiting, consider ordering the Ozark Burger, topped with mushrooms, caramelized onions, and peppered goat cheese.
The Jacobson is a comfortable restaurant offering stylish dishes. At the top of the list for anyone who loves hamburgers is the Jacobson Burger, a luscious all-beef patty seared in bone-marrow butter and topped by a dollop of short-rib marmalade, served on a brioche bun. Try also the grilled steak burger, with a side of house-made potato chips.
Don’t let the name scare you off: Mad Cow is the home of delicious hamburgers, and the frequent destination of townies and visitors alike. Don’t expect brioche buns and caramelized onions here: Mad Cow is for people who like a good, basic burger. This isn’t fast food, either. Mad Cow serves a good meal, with a variety of toppings and side dishes to suit every taste. Service is no-nonsense, and the menu doesn’t require explaining.
Located at the Branson Craft Mall, the Pickin’ Porch Grill is half down-home restaurant, half-Branson music venue. The stage is filled with local talent, and the menu with all the country goodness one would expect. Their specialty burgers, in particular, are hearty and delicious.
Grad School is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the edge of the Missouri State campus. It can get pretty crowded, but the minute you sink your teeth into their burgers, none of that matters. Try the Full-Ride burger, or if you’re vegetarian or vegan, one of the specialty burgers made just for you. Don’t forget the homemade fries!
The White Grill is a classic diner in every sense of the word. With a half-dozen table, a long counter with spinning stools, and an open window where the short order cooks do their stuff, the White Grill feels like you’ve stepped back in time 50 years. That goes for the burgers too—hearty portions and fresh ingredients are prepared right in front of you. Paired with an order of Suzie Qs and a vanilla Coke, it’s a classic American meal.
Kirby’s has been serving burgers in the same location since 1907, making it not only a great little diner, but also a historic experience. They offer several different burger options, but experienced diners recommend that newbies start with The Kirby, which is a classic burger with grilled onions.
Lucky’s is a dark and cool dive on Lake of the Ozarks, perfect for a fresh burger when you’ve just come out of the hot sun shining off the lake. It’s known for its casual atmosphere, so you don’t have to dress up. Come in, dry off, have a drink, watch the sun set, and sink your teeth into one of the best burgers on the lake.
Black Sheep strikes the perfect balance between upscale and hipster. Don’t fill up too fast, though, because they are famous for their smoked French fries, spicy onion rings, and adult shakes. People take road trips just to eat Black Sheep burgers, so when you’re in the Springfield area, make sure to stop for the Cowboy Carl, the Bleus Brothers, or the Foodie Burger.