The Novice Foodie Worships at the Church of Burger


While most former vegetarians cite bacon as their gateway food back into carnivorous behavior, for me, it was the humble hamburger. A burger and fries is the quintessential American meal, and I'm always on the lookout for a burger that leaves me satisfied.

So when my friend and fellow food blogger Andrew Veety, collaborator on the BLT cocktail highlighted in an earlier Novice Foodie, decided he was going to try a sampling of St. Louis's finest hamburgers, he agreed to let me (and several other burger enthusiasts) come along for the ride.

A note on his methodology: Veety polled St. Louisans on Twitter and Facebook, then picked the top twelve vote-getters. Each month, he will try another of the top twelve, including a veggie burger, and blog about it. Because the inaugural tasting took place on a Sunday morning, this monthly burger sampling is now known as The Church of Burger.

  • Kelli Best-Oliver
First stop: Dressel's in the Central West End. I'd never tried Dressel's burger before, and I didn't really know what to expect. In addition to Veety and myself, others joining us on our burger quest were Veety's wife, Sarah, and son Reis; local food photographer Jonathan Pollack; his wife and food blogger of note (and Gut Check contributor), Stefani, and their son Myles; and a local burger critic so hardcore that his name actually contains most of the word "burger," Bill Burge.

My burger profile is this: fat, hand-formed patty, charred crust on outside, medium-rare inside, must be uber-juicy, soft bun, no condiments except possibly cheese. Basically, I want restaurants to make the burger I make at home better than me. Aside for a few missteps, the Dressel's burger was a pleasant surprise. It's a half-pound patty, which I ordered medium rare with white cheddar and fries. Sadly, the burger was actually medium to medium-well, but the thick patty was so damn juicy, I honestly didn't care.

  • Kelli Best-Oliver
See the color? Yet, note the juice in the bottom of the tray. This seemed to be typical for the group -- most people's burgers were overcooked, but not to the point that they weren't enjoyable. There's plenty of seasoning; in fact, maybe a touch too much salt, but it wasn't distracting. The brioche bun was squishy, yet held up to the burger's juiciness to the last bite. While not a part of the actual burger, I did like the shoestring fries that came with the burger, and next time (there will be a next time) I'll get some rarebit to go with them.

Bottom line: Dressel's serves up a sturdy, solid burger worth your inquiry. Service was friendly, and my fellow burger-worshippers and I engaged in the sort of food-nerd speak that can only enthusiastically happen in the presence of other foodies. I'm now a practicing member of the Church of Burger. Don't take my word for it; check out what Veety had to say over at his blog.

Kelli Best-Oliver is on a quest to become a full-fledged foodie. She chronicles her adventures every Tuesday. She writes about any damn thing she pleases at South City Confidential.

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