A new list that purports to know the 11 Best Hole-In-the-Wall Burger Joints in Kansas has me scratching my head.
My first thought: Dempsey’s Burger Pub is a hole-in-the-wall? A good burger, yes. A hole-in-the-wall? Not so sure about that.
My second thought: A few Wichita spots are clearly missing.
My third thought: How soon can I get out of town to try all of the small-town burger joints on this list?
The Wichita burger spots that made the list: Bomber Burger (4860 S. Clifton) at No. 2, and Dempsey’s Burger Pub (3700 E. Douglas) at No. 5. Though Bomber Burger, the tiny, no-frills hut owned by the famously salty Chris Rickard, is most definitely one of Wichita’s most well-regarded holes-in-the-wall, Dempsey’s — as small as it is — is really more of a neighborhood hangout. Its burger is good, but the restaurant is not greasy, tiny nor in the right setting to qualify as a hole-in-the-wall, in my opinion.
Another thing about this list: It calls Bomber Burger “such a friendly place,” a description that surly (and proud of it) owner Rickard would likely scoff in the general direction of. He can be friendly, sure, but it’s not his No. 1 quality. Burger making is. And he’s the first to admit it.
I can’t, however, disagree with the inclusion of Salina’s Cozy Inn, home of the greasy sliders, and now I’m intrigued by several other not-too-far-from-Wichita nominees on the list: Emporia’s J’s Carryout and Winfield’s Burger Station among them.