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Jul 26, 2012 02:40 PM

Two Great Burgers in StL -- O'Connell's and Fatted Calf

Visited St. Louis, where I grew up and family still resides, this week. Knew it would be hot, but didn't expect records and 105+.

Had two excellent cheeseburgers, better than those I can get here in L.A. and half the price. The first was at O'Connell's. I couldn't go there for decades -- way too smoky. But I've been back a few times the last couple years, and business is booming -- there was a wait for tables this past Saturday afternoon. We split a cheeseburger and a roast beef sandwich. Burger, ordered medium medium-rare, was perfect. Charred exterior, pink throughout the interior, delicious. The RB sandwich was hefty and tasty, but the relatively thick-sliced beef -- also medium-rare -- was so thick that the pink/red middle parts were difficult to chew through. Wonderfully satisfying meal, great value. The smoking ban has helped their business.

The other burger was at the Fatted Calf in Clayton. An early lunch after a hot 9 holes with my dad on Tuesday. A cheddarburger, medium-rare with a char. This burger was as good, maybe even better, than the previous. It dripped more juice. The scoop of soft cheddar beat the pants off the sliced cheese -- soft, unctuous, delicious. A tasty, drippy, satisfying burger. Fatted Calf, do yourself a favor to survive -- paint things lighter, get more light in from the windows -- you are too dark and old/depressing. Your burger is delicious, so make your place happier.

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  1. Based on your descriptions, I believe you would like Michaels Bar and Grill quite a bit.


    4 Replies
    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

      Totally agree...Fatted Calf is not on my diet, but their burgers are great, and good folks to support, too. If you are a big burger fan and can dine late, try the burger at Five Bistro on the! O'Connell's is very good too, and real St. Louis. However, if I am in that area, Adriana's usually wins out for lunch. Anyone who likes some kick to their sandwich should try their Mambo - wow!

      1. re: ddfry3

        I live in KC but, when I travel to St. Louis I always go straight to Amighetti's for the hot Little Bit o' Italy sandwich. I recognize that some people prefer Adriana's and I have, of course, tried it to compare. The average sandwich experience may be better at Adriana's BUT I don't think they can offer up anything that compares favorably with a hot LBI at Amighetti's.

        My .o2

        1. re: scottkreamer

          I have not been to Amighetti's or Adriana's in a long while, but my favorite St. Louis spot for sandwiches (not burgers) is Blues city Deli.

          1. re: scottkreamer

            I'll have to try the original, but that Hazelwood location doesn't cut it. If their version of Amighettis claim to fame sandwich is representative, it doesn't do it for me.

      2. Your review inspired me to get a late Friday night meal at Fatted Calf, my second or third visit. I'll leave aside talk about decor and service since it's really just a burger place.

        Plusses: the burger was properly made to order, the onion rings on the side were well prepared too. The shake I got was too sweet, but I think that was the hard ice cream they used. Overall, it was a very competent burger made quickly and well, if a thousand calories more than I needed.

        Minuses: there's really nothing special about the food. The burger reminds me of every "chargrilled" burger I had growing up.

        Bottom line: I like it more than, say, Five Guys or that ilk. But I'm sure it's nibbled at the margins by places that are chepaer and flashier and places that are more gourmet and creative. I wouldn't make an effort to get there, but it's decent fast food near my home.

        1 Reply
        1. re: brownhound

          Have you been to Michaels Bar and Grill ?

        2. Fatted Calf is closed, by the way.

          3 Replies
          1. re: brownhound

            Really? Talk of its demise in the past turned out to be wrong.

            But the new burger place in Clayton on Maryland -- Star Burgers? -- might have helped finish Fatted Calf off....

            1. re: nosh

              Doubt it. Five Star Burger is a very different kind of place with $9 hamburgers. It's also at the other end of the downtown Clayton area. I just think times have changed. Fatted Calf had a long run.

              1. re: nosh

                And 5-Star (by Steve Gontram, who began Harvest) didn't open until after Fatted Calf closed, I'm pretty sure. High marks to their lamb burger, BTW.

            2. Yes, Fatted Calf is gone for good. It was once a small national chain in larger cities. I thought the new burger place in Clayton pretty good. Five Star has been open at least six months or more, Fatted Calf has closed more recently, I'm pretty sure.

              My go to places for great burgers:
              Price no object: Blood and Sand
              $10 and under: Sassy Jacs (Soulard) - great meat, toasted brioche bun
              O'Connell's Pub, Blueberry Hill

              In between: Late night menu at Five Bistro on The Hill