Jason Mueller

Bailey’s Range, restaurateur David Bailey’s foray into the world of gourmet burgers, opened downtown last fall and quickly gained a reputation as the place for burgerphiles to indulge their meaty cravings. The loft-like space was impressive to say the least, with two levels of dining available. The first floor consisted mainly of a long common table and the bar, while the upper floor had individual tables of various sizes. Interesting details abounded, from the hanging light fixtures made from old milk cans to the jars that served as water glasses. The whole interior was an interesting amalgamation of the industrial and the rustic.

The burgers at Range were all about the interplay of flavor, not just packing a wad of meat between a couple of buns. Those looking for massive quantities should look elsewhere. But for those more interested in taste and a decidedly culinary take on an American classic, the menu at Bailey’s Range has a wealth of unique flavor combos to choose from.

On our visit, we ordered the Paris burger ($12), which consisted of a grass-fed Missouri beef patty, crimini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, caramelized shallots, arugula and tellegio cheese. We also upgraded to the house pretzel bun for an additional dollar. We followed that with the PB&J burger ($11), which featured a bison patty topped with arugula pesto, house tomato jam, goat cheese and baby arugula. Then, we paired our burgers with a small order of Fries ($2), and a basket of the Smoked Onion Rings ($7).

The variety of mushrooms on the Paris provided an interesting array of textures and tastes, though the pretzel bun was a bit chewy. We especially liked the contrast between the creamy, tangy tellegio and the caramelized shallots.

The PB&J was an ingenious take on two American  of our favorite comfort foods: The tomato jam was both sweet and savory, making for a nice pairing with the goat cheese, and the pesto really tied the whole creation together.

The fries were available with a choice of 10 different sauces. We chose wasabi ketchup for ours, and we weren’t disappointed; it was a great spicy addition. We found the smoky flavor of the onion rings to be a bit overpowering, though; and the batter was doughy on the inside.

Bailey’s Range had a large array of housemade ice creams and sorbets, which could be enjoyed by the scoop or in a split, sundae or a shake. There also were some boozy adult shakes available. We decided to try a small shake ($4) with salted caramel ice cream, and a Chili-Chocolate Shake ($9) which had tequila in addition to the ice cream. Our chocolate/tequila treat had some issues at first, presumably because the booze wasn’t mixed quite right with the ice cream and the end result was lumpy. But we merely mentioned the problem to our server, and it was taken off of our bill with no questions asked, and a new one provided. We greatly appreciated the attention to customer service.

Bailey’s range also had a hefty selection of soda pops and an impressive beer list, as well as other adult beverages like wine and boozy lemonades and ice-picks. For folks with a love of comfort foods and an appreciation for culinary invention, Bailey’s Range provides the best of both worlds.

Bailey’s Range • 920 Olive St. • 241-8121

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