Park Burger a pickle short of perfection

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Let's talk burgers. At Westword, we have no problem spending hours deconstructing the mechanics of ground beef, a bun and then who-knows-what-else. Which means we'll probably be discussing Park Burger for quite some time.

I strolled into the neighborhood joint last night with Westword web editor Joe Tone, who fell in love with the Platt Park area. I did, too; it's full of healthy new families (yet not one crying baby!) and twentysomethings, which makes Park Burger's location at 1890 South Pearl Street seem damn close to perfect.

And my burger wasn't far from perfection, either. Rather than go for a standard burger, I opted for the ParkBurger Royal, complete with blue cheese, caramelized onions and bacon. Unless you say something, the burgers are cooked to medium, so I made sure to order a nice mid-rare, and the kitchen was right-on.

The first (and second and maybe third) bite were blue cheesy, with the onions and bacon playing second fiddle. Then I got to the meat: a thinner patty (compared the patty at a place like Larkburger) that was not unlike the patty you get at Smashburger, which grills the beef until it creates meat candy (as Jason Sheehan describes it). The bun that held all of this was spectacular, and all in all it made for a most scrumptious burger.

I also ordered a strawberry shake, which was close to being phenomenal, and just needed a few more strawberries to push it over the edge. The fries could have used an extra pinch of salt, but were well-sized and acceptably crispy.

Speaking of acceptably crispy, the pickles were NOT. I told Joe Tone to try them, and he gave me a dirty look after just one bite, so you know there's a problem. The pickles are made in- house, which is a good start, but they seemed over-pickled or over-ripe or over-something. And there was sooo much clove in the brine that it tasted like A) grandma's house at Christmas or B) like a summer night at Paris on the Platte.

All pickling problems aside, Park Burger is a very promising burger joint. Good meat, great bun and great toppings...but I'd advise you skip the pickle.

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