Meat has always been an essential vertebrae of America’s culinary backbone, whether in the form of beef, patty or roast. I thought I would investigate St. Louis’ rendition of meat in one of its most celebrated forms: the burger.
I was immediately greeted by a strong odor of milkshakes and pickles — which go together surprisingly well. As I walked into the burger joint on Olive Street, I knew that Bailey’s Range would be the priciest of the three places and was reassured of that upon reading the menu. It would be hard to leave here without spending at least $15.
In spite of this, I believe the high cost of the food to be worth it; the adage of “you get what you pay for” rings true after all. The most expensive of the three turned out to be the best of the three. I found not only were there more options on the menu, but the meat and sauces were also all of much higher quality. Bailey’s Range was by far the best of the three restaurants I traveled to.
Usually, I find that restaurants known more for their aesthetics and cultural significance tend to lack in the flavor department. In addition to this, they are also known to overcharge, which led me to fear I would be reviewing their water rather than their burgers.
Despite these reservations, my experience at Carl’s was anything but negative. I found the burgers to be cooked just right, and the onion rings served alongside them to be just as good. The old-timey look of the restaurant is well paired with the old-fashioned prepared food, reminiscent of one of the original drive-in McDonald’s of the 1950s. Despite my aversion to anything nostalgic, Carl’s was a very pleasant experience overall.
The Slider House
What is unique about this place on Rock Hill Road is that they skew the typical portions of burgers and serve a “slider.” To me, as long as the meat is right and the sauces are plentiful, it doesn’t matter the size.
However, in this case, the meat wasn’t right nor were the sauces plentiful. The meat tasted very artificial, as if a rendering plant owned a significant portion of The Slider House’s stock. The Texican, heralded by the waiter as the spiciest option, was so dull tasting I found it suitable for patients recovering from surgery. Additionally, the ranch dressing was clearly from a bottle and not house made. Sadly, I do not see a future for this restaurant in St. Louis.
Story by Ian Scott
Photo by Madeline Johnson