Best Burgers in Kansas City

burgers with fries

The Midwest, more specifically Kansas City, knows its beef, and we aren’t just a one trick pony with world class barbecue! Our access to locally raised meat from quality producers translates to high quality food production. In fact, KC is finally being recognized as a culinary hot spot, something natives have known for a long time! Local restaurateurs of all makes know they must have a solid cheeseburger on the menu to satisfy the red-meat loving customers of our area. It can’t be any run of the mill sandwich, it needs to be special. Fortunately for us, lots of establishments meet, and in fact exceed, our steep expectations.  

This guide to the best burgers in Kansas City has been crowdsourced by burger aficionados from around the metro. The list includes greasy spoons, bars, diners as well as upscale joints meant to satisfy any and all tastes, divided by geography. 

Guide to the Best Burgers in Kansas City


Danny’s Burger Shack serves mouth watering options, accompanied by fries or onion rings and house made sauces. Who doesn’t love a little ranch to dip those fries in?!

Tay’s Burger Shack is old school in the best way. Red trays and parchment wrapped burgers are always a sign that good food is about to be consumed. 

Johnny’s Tavern in Parkville serves a Tank 7 Melt that is out of this world. Don’t live near the Northland? Johnny’s hosts locations all over the metro! 

The addition of serrano chili aioli on their spicy blue burger is what makes the item at Red Door Grill in Liberty so popular. This restaurant also has several locations throughout the city. 

Kansas City, Missouri

Cosmo Burger offers two locations, one in Waldo and another within the Lenexa Public Market. They sell a limited amount of menu options, understanding their niche. 

Open 24 hours, seven days a week, Town Topic in the Crossroads has been around since the 1930’s. It’s a favorite stop for locals who know a good cheeseburger when they see one, and also a popular place to stop after a few cocktails!

The original Winstead’s on the Plaza isn’t much to look at, but pair a steakburger with some onion rings and the best cherry limeade in the city, and you will go home full and happy. 

Evidence Winstead’s delivers a quality burger, it was devoured!

Westport Flea Market has been voted “The Best Burger in Kansas City” by The Food Network’s “Meat and Potatoes” and The Pitch. It has has a quirky atmosphere with made to order food, paired with trivia nights and nostalgia. 

Self proclaimed as Kansas City’s first gastropub, their specialty is high-end bar food and beer, as the name suggests. Beer Kitchen in Westport seems to always be bustling with customers woofing down one of their specialty burgers. 

Governor Stumpy’s Grill House in Waldo is family friendly, always hospitable and serves up the best California burger around. 

The burger at The Belfry is one of many amazing things on the menu. Don’t pass up the option to add a fried egg. 

It’s not a locally owned restaurant, and it’s definitely not cheap, but the sliders and cheeseburger at the Capital Grille are just about as brag worthy as their steaks. 

The Pig Mac and Cheddar Truffle burgers at Pigwich are what dreams are made of. Stop by their River Market brick and mortar for good eats and a cold beer. 

The Juicy Lucy at BRGR should come with a warning that molten cheese will explode from within the burger at first bite. Despite the roof of mouth, third degree burns, this sandwich is a must try.

Burgers in Eastern Jackson County

Unk’s Burgers in Lee’s Summit provides the greasy food we all crave once in a a while. Their cheesy burgers, soft buns and crispy fries are always a good idea. 

Similarly, Johnny Ray’s Drive-In, also in Lee’s Summit, gives off a similar vibe. After 60 years in business, they have proven over and over they can deliver desirable food.

Hi-Boy Drive-In in Independence is another one that’s been around forever and for good reason. 

Custard’s Last Stand might be known for their concretes, but don’t forget about their burgers because they are worth the trip. 

Get the bacon cheeseburger at Paul’s Drive-In on Blue Ridge Boulevard. Enough said. 

Opening their first drive thru location in the country, the newly built Shake Shack in Lee’s Summit has some seriously good eats. Juicy burgers, killer lemonade and bacon cheese fries are their most popular picks.

Best Burgers on the Kansas Side

Snack Shack on Johnson Drive serves the old school fare we grew up loving, including milkshakes and limeades as a way to wash it all down. 

A favorite BBQ stop in Leawood is also a great place to order a brisket smash burger. Meat Mitch in the Ranch Mart shopping center comes highly recommended. 

Talk of the Town has a substantial list of burgers on the menu that will satisfy traditionalists and those who love a little adventure. 

Besides an impressively extensive whiskey list, Knub’s Pub in western Shawnee also can brag about their burgers. Sourcing their beef from Steve’s Meat in De Soto, the sandwiches are top-shelf worthy. 

Goat cheese and burgers are not usually synonymous, but at Bar West in Shawnee they sure are! 

Well the hunger pangs have officially set in, and I’ve got a hankering for a double with fries. The only problem, choosing between all of these fabulous burger options!

Kristin is a Lee’s Summit suburb transplant, after living in the Brookside and Plaza areas for over eight years. Raising three young boys with her husband, Jake, has helped her to embrace the messy, wild side of life where love is expressed in bear hugs and body slams. Professionally, she can be found teaching classes as an adjunct professor in the areas of Business, Marketing and PR. She is able to provide her students with applicable, real-life knowledge as she draws from several years working in the corporate sector. “Free time” (ha!, what's that again?) is spent on an occasional date night to favorite local restaurants, reading blogs on everything from home design to politics, riding her sweet beach cruiser bike and thinking of ways to convince her husband to do yet another home improvement project.