The perfect mix of sin and virtue
Is it possible to feel good about yourself and bad about yourself at the same time? If you’re talking about indulging in a 100% organic grass-fed beef cheeseburger, the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’. Tay’s Burger Shack presents exactly that conundrum to patrons with juicy yet not greasy burgers piled high with cheese and veggies amidst a wash of nostalgia–the way a burger shack used to be.
In this case, of course, it wasn’t always a burger place. The small space at 1019 Armour Road in North Kansas City most recently shouted at people to come in for discount cigarettes. With a lot of elbow grease, Kent Harrison, owner and operator, transformed the spot into the charming place that it now is in December of 2014. Harrison also owns Jersey Boys, a perennial North Town favorite, so he is no stranger to how to run a business. This one, named for his daughter Taylor, is focused on making the best burger around. They are handily succeeding.
I dropped into Tay’s on a particularly mild spring day with my husband after we had visited the Waggin’ Trails Dog Park. The interior is decorated in wood paneling and vintage metal signs. Oldies play softly in the background. A cold case full of sodas made with real sugar stands in the corner. And at the front counter, the staff is ready to explain to any newcomers what all the fuss is about.
The fuss, of course, is their small but cultivated menu. Instead of being just a burger joint, reveling in the level of grease they can produce, Tay’s hand-crafts each burger from 100% organic, grass-fed beef from a small ranch in Missouri. They introduced the better grade of meat in January and have made it their calling card. Patrons can buy it in bulk for $7.99 a lb for an 80/20 mix.
The menu sticks to the basics-cheeseburgers or hot dogs and fries that are hand cut and seasoned daily. Your options for burgers include a single, double, triple or the home run which features four patties. Recently, they also introduced a kid’s size burger to suit a smaller appetite. All burgers come with standard dress unless requested otherwise which includes cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato and pickle. Additional toppings of extra cheese or bacon are available for a small upcharge. They also offer grilled onions for free upon request. Combos come with a generous portion of their fries which could be a meal in and of themselves. They are seasoned with a sweet and spicy mix that keeps you eating far past the point of wisdom.
The hot dog menu is simple as well–Nathan’s Kosher dogs, with or without chili. The chili is made with the same organic grass-fed beef and is available as a topping for fries. In our case, the hot dogs were a treat for our dogs, kindly offered when the gentleman at the register heard that we had them with us. The plump hot dogs were gobbled up quickly by our two canines, a seal of approval if ever there was one.
Tay’s also offers custard with a variety of toppings but Harrison says that they will be streamlining the custard offerings due to space. He is thinking about offering a single root beer float instead of the current panorama of choices. He also offers a vareity of vintage sodas, such as the original Dr. Pepper in a glass bottle as well as Stewart’s sodas.
Tay’s Burger Shack has committed to doing one thing and doing it well. Are the burgers delicious? Yes, absolutely. They are even more enjoyable knowing that they come from a regional rancher and a locally owned business. With the added bonus of the friendliest customer service that I’ve experienced in quite a while and you’ve got a combination that can’t be beat.