Burger 809, which opened in May in the 300-square-foot space that previously housed Parm Pasta & Sandwich Co. in St. Louis’ Benton Park West neighborhood, features sliders, other sandwiches, salads and desserts.
The Cherokee Street eatery comes from chef-owner Tasha Smith, who originally debuted her Burger 809 brand – which gets its name in part from her birthday – as a catering business in 2015. Smith’s sisters, Jessi and Tanisha, help at the casual restaurant, along with her daughter, Tayla.
“I started off doing food for family and events and just kind of grew to doing big catering orders,” says Smith, who daylights as a health counselor. “The catering menu is huge and created as we go for each client, but here, we wanted to create a compact menu to bring fresh new vibes and from-scratch food to Cherokee Street.”
The eatery features a walk-up counter and open kitchen, with a few seats for guests to enjoy a snack inside. Smith aimed to make the atmosphere feel like a home kitchen – “like going to your favorite aunt’s house” – and put her own modern spin on the interior with a fresh coat of yellow paint for accent.
She describes her self-taught cooking style as American with a Southern influence, marked by inspiration from personal travels and family recipes. Highlights from the menu include the 809 Signature Burger, a slider with a griddle-cooked beef patty, jalapeño-bacon jam, and Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheeses.
Another popular pick, the South Side Salmon Slider, features grilled salmon marinated in lemon and butter with fresh jalapeño and passionfruit glaze on a Hawaiian roll. Salads include such options as the June 88, with chicken, strawberries, blueberry, bacon, onion and spring mix. Side options include baked mac ’n’ cheese and Southern greens.
For dessert, guests can try Smith’s favorite menu item: Poppy Norwood, featuring her grandfather’s recipe for Oreo-lemon cheesecake on an Oreo crust. From each dessert, $1 goes toward a homework happy hour complete with snacks to help youths in the community stay engaged in school.
“I want people to come in and just feel the vibes here,” Smith says. “It’s good food made from scratch with fresh, quality ingredients. It’s a small spot with a lot of flavor.” [LN dingbat]
Burger 809, 2619½ Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314-899-5959, burger809.com