By Laura (Abernathy) Huffman
I am always on the lookout for a great hamburger when I am exploring the small towns of the Ozarks and beyond. I can be a very harsh critic when it comes to what lies between the buns. I’m not a huge fan of gimmick burgers, although my mouth does water at the thought of thick cut peppered bacon and sharp cheddar cheese toppings. But, I’ll skip the ketchup, mayonnaise, avocado, mustard. Keep the garden too. I’ll take a straight up, honest, authentic, hand-pattied, never frozen, burger please. Bonus points for hand cut fries.
It has been over six years since my mother and I took the long way home from Advance, Missouri and roamed through Arkansas during watermelon season. When we arrived in Paragould, with our stomachs growling, we almost skipped this former gas station joint because the line was crazy. Thanks to a very long train that would have delayed any further attempt to forage for food in town I begrudgingly got in line. That train changed my life for the better. I’ve looked for another burger that tops this one, and honestly, I have not found one yet. But, I’ll keep trying. In the meantime, I think it is time for another road trip to Arkansas. I’ll be on the search for delicious tamales as well!
City Limits Grill
I discovered City Limits Grill when I was in Charleston for the hugely popular Dogwood-Azalea Festival in 2017. The burger was deliciously juicy and perfectly accompanied by an ice cold beer. The only thing more amazing than the hamburger and appetizers at CLG was their impressive vinyl collection. The collection is on display, wallpapering the interior. Needless to say, the evening’s conversation revolved around classic burgers and classic tunes. Pop into City Limits Grill the next time you are in Missouri’s bootheel.
The Burger Stand
Richland is a railroad boom town located on the northwestern edge of Pulaski County in Central Missouri. In a town who’s surviving department store first opened in 1869 it may be hard to distinguish yourself as a classic. The Burger Stand does exactly that. Housed in a former Dairy King this mom and pop joint serves up an honest burger that is an instant classic. Bring a red and white checked table cloth and spread out under the shade tree for a timeless take on Americana. The Burger Stand’s “clown with an ice cream cone” sign is also Instagram-worthy.
Although we haven’t been able to make it to Annie’s Grill in Salem yet, we keep hearing heaps of praise. Annie- we’ll be there soon!