Best Burgers (and more) on the Range
Sourcing new opportunities can be done behind a computer screen. But to truly understand the market and genuinely connect with our network, you’ve got to get out on the road. We get plenty of windshield time in the Heartland and we love it. Especially when we find those dining establishments that are one-of-a-kind.
You likely have your own favorites. If your favorite didn’t make this list, let us know. This post isn’t intended to cause a fight – instead, please consider this to be our way to share the love and highlight some joints that are doing it right while serving their neighborhood and road-weary private equity warriors.
- Booches, Columbia, MO. Booches was established by a guy named Paul “Booch” Venable back in 1884. To say they’ve had some practice in perfecting the art of the burger is an understatement. While we were there, we were surrounded by University of Missouri students while we shot some pool and enjoyed a frosty mug. Our burgers were served on wax paper and we definitely went back for seconds.
- Old Mill Tasty Shop, Wichita, KS. Whenever we visit our portfolio company, Fairbank Equipment, we can’t resist the chance to stop by one of Wichita’s classic diners. With a name like “Old Mill Tasty Shop,” you’d expect to walk in and see a cool marble counter with stools bolted to the floor, and a shake poured in a metal shaker cup. And you’d be exactly right. Mark Robinson took it old school and enjoyed the Blue Plate Special, also known as Elvis’ beloved peanut butter and banana sandwich.
- Hi-Ho, St. Joseph, MO. It started as a saloon in 1910, has that unmistakable vibe of history and everything is homemade and prepared in-house. They’re smoking brisket and pulled pork out back. They pickle their own corned beef. Chips are cut from real potatoes. And you’ll get a delicious 1/3 lb. slab of burger you won’t regret. And if you’re like Paul Maxwell, you’ll require a nap immediately afterward.
- Stella’s, Omaha, NE. “Best burger in Omaha” and “Best Burger in Nebraska” awards let you know you’re in the right place. They put that gorgeous burger on a napkin, or you can have it in a basket if you want to look like a tourist. We couldn’t talk Ryan Sprott into it, but if you’re into food challenges you can tackle The Stellenator. You’ll have 45 minutes to eat 6 burger patties, pieces of cheese, and fried eggs, plus 12 pieces of bacon and the usual assortment of other burger toppings (including peanut butter) and an order of fries. Someone named Molly did it for a third time in just 3 minutes and 40 seconds. Molly, if you’d like a spot as a Market Ambassador, we’ll take your call.
- Mister B’s Steakhouse, Rogers, AR. You might be familiar with Rogers, Arkansas as being near the headquarters of Walmart. And in the heart of the downtown area, you’ll find Mister B’s Steakhouse. While they do have a Steakhouse Burger – and this is article supposed to be all about burgers – we go to Mister B’s for the steak. If you know of a better steak in northwest Arkansas, please let us know!
We love being out in the market, meeting new companies, networking with our Market Ambassadors and learning more about the Midwest and all it has to offer. And there’s nothing better than finding a new burger joint to add to the “Best on the Range” list.