Keep it simple and smashed, said Jacob Kruger.
“I have always been a big fan of restaurants and businesses that have a very simplistic approach,” said Kruger, who serves as the head chef (or “Burger Boy”) at Cosmo Burger, located within Dodson’s Bar and Commons in Waldo — and coming soon to Lenexa Public Market. “That’s not to say that there’s no substance in the food; it’s about having a small menu and doing everything on it particularly well.”
Click here to check out Cosmo Burger’s simply curated menu.
Cosmo Burger, along with Dodson’s Bar, opened in October 2020 and quickly became a neighborhood staple for the Waldo community, Kruger shared.
The chef’s recipe for success: homemade sauce and pickles, quality meat from Kansas City’s Fareway Meat Market, smashing the burger down on the flat-top grill, and of course, consistency.
“I strive to make sure all our ingredients are as fresh as possible … and with our in-house pickles and sauce, I think that really sets us apart from other burgers,” Kruger said.
“But when it comes down to it, it’s the combination of all the flavors together that makes it stand out,” he continued. “The sauce is very smooth and has a bit more of a tangy sweetness to it. That mixes well with the subtle spice you get from the pickles. And then the melty American cheese smooths out the palette as well.”
For vegetarian burger-lovers, Cosmo Burger also has a Beyond Meat option.
“My wife is a vegetarian, so we have Beyond Meat at home pretty often,” Kruger shared. “As far as texture and flavor, it is really similar to beef. It’s great; so whoever figured that out, kudos to them!”
Click here to check out Cosmo Burger on Instagram.
Lenexa Public Market
Cosmo Burger’s Waldo location will always be the flagship location, Kruger is looking forward to expanding and serving more communities within the area, he said.
“The goal is always to grow,” Kruger noted.
To start off 2022, Cosmo Burger has plans to open a second location in the Lenexa Public Market — an 11,000-square-foot food hall and market on the civic campus at Lenexa City Center. After receiving a letter of intent from Cosmo Burger, city officials may consider the lease agreement by the end of January.
Lenexa Public Market sits across the street from the just-opened Made in KC Lenexa Marketplace.
“While construction will not be complete until the second quarter of 2022, we are thrilled that they chose the Public Market and wanted to be a part of what we have going on in City Center,” Carmen Chopp, the Public Market manager, told the Shawnee Mission Post. “Their award-winning smash burgers along with a robust cocktail program will be a delicious addition to our food and beverage offerings.”
Opening a restaurant during the pandemic caused the team at Cosmo Burger to shift certain approaches, Jacob Kruger noted. Rather than a cashier, customers use a QR code for contactless payment.
“We had it set up as a contactless, carry out business … but now customers can come sit down, hang out and eat here at Dodson’s,” Kruger said.
Teamwork and tater tots
Another factor in the success of the business is the healthy working relationship with Atit and Jugal Patel, who own Dodson’s Bar and Cosmo Burger, Kruger added.
“I’ve been very thankful for all the help and support they’ve given me to help keep this going,” Kruger said, noting the people attached to the business are what initially attracted him to the job. “I’ve also worked with Eric Jones [the general manager of Dodson’s Bar] for so long now, and I think it really says something when you stick with someone for as long as you do.”
Internal support — matched with the external support from the Waldo neighborhood — has allowed Cosmo Burger to thrive, even though it opened during the pandemic, Kruger noted.
“I feel like we got very lucky. Through social media and other things I’ve seen, the people in this neighborhood have been overwhelmingly awesome,” he raved. “I’m incredibly grateful for them. I think the product speaks for itself, but it also helps that this neighborhood really got behind our small business. All things fell into place all at the right time.”
Waldo’s must-have menu item: tater tots.
“There’s a Facebook group within Waldo that has debates about the best tater tots,” Kruger said, smiling. “We [had] a supply chain issue and [had] to serve waffle fries instead. I can’t tell you how many times I [had] to answer the question, “Where are the tots?”
Rest assured, the tater tots are back.
Cosmo Burger is open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It is located with Dodson’s Bar and Commons on 7438 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114.