by Mabel Suen
The Place: Five Star Burgers (8125 Maryland Avenue, Clayton; 314-720-4350)
The Hours: Happy hour is available daily from 4 to 6 p.m.
The Deal: Sliders and appetizers that range from $1.50 to $2. Half-priced regular drafts and $3.50 house wines by the glass.
The Scene: It seems that the neighborhood has already caught on to the dirt-cheap prices here. On a weeknight, the bar and dining room at the highly rated restaurant started off busy and progressed to packed. Patrons of all ages, from toddlers to their grandparents, awaited orders of mini burgers and fried delights in the correspondingly all-American dining room minimally decorated with the brand's signature five golden stars.
The Food: The happy-hour food menu contains the following options: "Little 5 Star Burgers," fried-chicken sandwiches, veggie-burger sliders, mini turkey burgers, fries, sweet-potato fries, fried pickles, onion rings and crispy cheese curds.
It's not often that Gut Check feels this frisky, but by the time we make it to happy hour, our brains are typically too fried for the difficultly of decision-making. With tempting options at an unheard of price point before us, we simply pointed to the plastic menu placard on the table and requested from our server "one of everything."
Did Five Star Burgers make the grade? Find out on the next page.
The Verdict: Before very long, a "bar food buffet" -- as my dining companion called it -- appeared before us, presented in little versions of fryer baskets. The coating on each breaded appetizer proved pleasantly crispy, battered with a perhaps too-heavy hand of salt. The regular fries came well-seasoned, sweet potatoes fries were made even sweeter with a maple cream and the pickles paired well with a tzatziki sauce.
Of the four sliders on mini dollar rolls, we liked the ground-turkey burger the most. Served with a cranberry-peach chutney, the patty was moist and flavorful. The "Little 5 Star Burger" and fried chicken sandwiches tasted fine -- like slightly better quality versions of their fast-food counterparts -- while the veggie slider's patty was a standout with plenty of hot spice and a creamy texture.
Unsurprisingly, the fried food made us feel even more fried ourselves, and while the offerings didn't quite reinvent the wheel, they certainly gave us bang for our buck. The smaller portions at manageable prices filled us up quick, so your best bet if you're going all-in as we did is to share bites with some company over beers.
The Rating: On a scale of one to five...
Previously on Happy Hour Handbook: - Central Table Food Hall - Planter's House - Atomic Cowboy - Stella Blues - Triumph Grill - Lola - Basso - Blue Ocean Sushi - Hwy 61 Roadhouse and Kitchen - Gringo - Jax Cafe - Mile 277 Tap & Grill - Sandrina's - Mangia Italiano - Kirkwood Station Brewing Company - Steve's Hot Dogs on the Hill
We're always looking for some more happy hour meal deals. E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.