Photo by Huy Mach, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Five Star Burgers

St. Louis is understandably excited that superstar restaurateur Danny Meyer will finally open a Shake Shack in his hometown next year. While no local burger restaurant is likely to match the global reach of Shake Shack, the news of its imminent arrival led me to wonder who might turn their operation into, say, a regional force. I didn’t need to ponder it long. Steve Gontram’s Five Star Burgers is a success at two locations, with a third slated to open in Creve Coeur this spring, and the restaurant is already a spinoff of the Five Star Burgers that Gontram’s father, Bob, runs in New Mexico. More importantly, Five Star Burgers serves amazing burgers: pasture-raised, grain-finished beef that the kitchen always cooks to your requested temperature. Add top-notch fries, onion rings and fried cheese curds as well as appealing non-beef burger offerings, and the recipe for future growth is apparent. No pressure, guys.

Opened: 2012

Must order: Dad's Green Chile Cheeseburger ($9.75)