My Brothers Bar
As far as I'm concerned, there's only one truly great cheeseburger in the area, and that's the double served at Bud's Bar in Sedalia. Bud's has done everything possible to make me dislike the place — from overcharging me to refusing takeout orders to being too full for me to get a seat on a day when I really needed a cheeseburger — and yet I just can't stay away. The double cheeseburger there is the ideal iteration of the cheeseburger-maker's art, perfected over decades of the kitchen doing absolutely nothing but.
Now, though, I have a second-favorite cheeseburger in the area, one that comes very close to the unsullied rightness evinced by Bud's. And that's the double cheeseburger at My Brother's Bar.
I stopped by My Brother's last week after finishing my review of its onetime sibling, the Wazee Supper Club, and decided to lift a couple of pints in the cramped, classic, brown-on-brown bar and have a little snack. I wasn't thrilled by the hot dog (see Bite Me, page 58), wouldn't touch the jalapeño poppers and was nonplussed by the chili — neither a spicy Texas style nor a thick Cincinnati, but rather a near pitch-perfect replica of the greasy-spoon diner chili I knew and loved as a kid. But a spoonful of that chili on my double cheeseburger sent it, and me, right over the edge.
I know that My Brother's has a fascinating history: blah blah oldest still-operating bar in Denver, yadda yadda Neal Cassady, etc. I know that the place has long been a beloved and anachronistic neighborhood institution with its classical music, stubby galley kitchen, strange diner-slash-taproom-cum-lunchwagon menu and demographically mixed crowd of crusty old-timers, serious drinkers, families, artists and new-to-the-neighborhood transplants. But seriously, when you've got a burger this good, you just don't need anything else. Two thick patties, done medium on a well-seasoned flat grill, with plenty of cheese on an unobtrusive bun, then wrapped in wax paper and served without a plate, but with a modest yet smart Plexiglas condiment server. That's it, and that's enough. Much like the burgers at Bud's — which are done almost exactly the same way, minus the Plexiglas — the burgers at My Brother's stand as living proof that sometimes, a long history and dedication to craft will collide and make something that is inexplicably greater than the plain sum of its parts.
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