Buddies on 15-year query to find Wichita’s best burger

They sequence accurately a same thing during each burger dilemma they visit: cheeseburger with grilled onions, mustard and pickles.

They demeanour closely for a hallmarks of a good burger: decent size, luscious yet not too juicy, a comfortable bun.

Then, they allot a ranking. Outstanding is best. VB is really bad.

For 15 years, Wichita buddies and burger fans Kent Kruske and Tom Kluge have been removing together each 6 weeks or so to try a opposite burger dilemma in town. Kruske, a mechanism consultant of a duo, keeps a minute spreadsheet that marks their commentary and assigns a ranking: Outstanding is best, followed by excellent, VG (very good), good, OK, and a dreaded VB. Only one grill on a spreadsheet has warranted that designation, and it’s no longer in business.

“We don’t do froufrou burgers, and we positively don’t do chains,” Kruske said.

The spreadsheet also includes comments, and they’re colorful.

Regarding one of a burgers ranked as outstanding, served during a loyal Wichita hole-in-the-wall: “Keep your vaccinations up-to-date. Very vast and juicy.”

Regarding a sole VB burger: “As of 4/16/2012, we give them 30 days before they close. … They sealed on 8/30/12.”

The burger query started in 2001.

Kluge, who is a business manager during First Evangelical Free Church in Wichita, recruited church member Kruske to do some IT work.

“He wouldn’t let me compensate him anything,” Kluge said. “So we said, ‘Well, let’s go get some burgers, then.’ That’s how it started, and we’ve been on a query to find a ideal burger for 15 years. we consider we have a flattering good thought where a best burgers are.”

Only 5 burgers have warranted a tip rating of superb on a spreadsheet.

The buddies determine that Jack’s Coffee Shop during 6754 S. Hydraulic has their favorite burger. Yes, they admit, a building is aged, and it competence not be a best mark to take your mother-in-law. But a burgers can’t be topped.

“Truly, it’s an oval,” Kruske pronounced of Jack’s burger. “You can put dual squares of cheese point-to-point on it. That’s how large it is.”

Rounding out a superb list: Oasis Lounge eat 4121 W. Maple; Timbuktu during 1251 N. Andover Road in Andover; TJs Burger House during 1003 W. Douglas; and Bomber Burger during 4860 S. Clifton Ave.

The spreadsheet includes rankings for 65 burgers. Many of a restaurants that done them have prolonged given closed: Dolce Joe’s, Takhoma Burger, Yolo Grill, Buck’s.

Many others are new: Southside Burgers (Excellent) Dempsey’s Burger Pub (Excellent) and Blarney Stone (VG). Just this week, a twin visited a new Mr. Bud’s Brothers during 3404 N. Arkansas. The ranking is pending.

Wichita’s many obvious burger places are all on a list. Ty’s Diner, their initial ever stop, warranted an excellent. Heroes Sports Bar got a VG. Bill’s Charcoal Grill warranted a good, as did a Anchor and West Street Burgers.

The VB burger came from Betta Burger, that was during 3090 W. 13th St. in 2012 and sealed after only a few months.

Kruske and Kluge done a preference not to embody sequence restaurants on their quest, yet they acknowledge that if they had, Freddy’s Frozen Custard burgers would make a tip of a list. Several burgers from around a state, including Salina’s Cozy Inn, also would have a spot, even yet on their revisit they were bloody by atmosphere entrance from a to-go window when someone non-stop a behind door, and they smelled of boiled integrity so greatly that their dogs followed them around their houses when they got home. Kruske pronounced he had to clean a film of douse off his glasses.

They’re mostly asked by friends-in-the-know to suggest burger places, and they’re happy to share what they’ve learned.

But a quest, that will continue, has been some-more about loyalty and a fun of formulation a subsequent burger outing, they say.

“The end is not as critical as a journey,” Kruske said.

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Buddies debate burger joints together

Friends Tom Kluge and Kent Kruske have been visiting internal burger joints together for 15 years. They have a spreadsheet with remarks about their dining experiences. (July 6, 2016) video by Jaime Green

jgreen@wichitaeagle.com

 

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