Photo by Roberto Rodriguez

Dressel's Public House

Many years ago, before Benjamin Dressel took over his parents’ Central West End institution, I thought Dressel’s Public House served one of the best burgers in St. Louis, defined mainly by what it wasn’t: complicated or overcooked. These days, with Dressel and chef Derek Roe having planted Dressel’s firmly in the modern chef-driven, ingredient-minded moment, I still believe its burger to be among the best. It’s not the same burger, though. The beef is sourced from Ridgley Farms in High Hill, Mo., and it’s topped with aged cheddar and onion jam. Yet it’s still defined by what it isn’t: complicated or overcooked. It’s the perfect example of how Dressel’s has managed to stay current without sacrificing what made it beloved in the first place.

Opened: 1980

Must order: Burger ($13)