Hours: Lunch, dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 2, Monday-Thursday till 1, Sunday till midnight
From-scratch comfort food, down to the ketchup.
Forest Park's Scratch Kitchen is a burger place with a gimmick: everything is made from scratch. People love that, though maybe not the harried staff, which on one visit was overwhelmed to the tune of a 45-minute wait. That aside, it's an exceedingly pleasant little place, cozy and filled with televisions (which I find comforting because I was raised by one). The bar wraps around the open kitchen, creating a sort of hearth that smells of charbroiled meat. And they only serve canned beer and box wine—I'm into pushing back against pretension. Still, their signature Scratch Burger is made with "truffled arugula," which I don't mind if it's used sparingly, as it is here. Of the three bun options—pretzel, potato, or butter—we went with pretzel because it's what the menu recommended. A nice surprise, it was lighter, chewier, and a lot like a ballpark soft pretzel with its slick exterior. The house-ground patty was really, really tasty—cooked through, but juicy and really flavorful (if a little salty). Blue cheese adds another salty punch, but the bite is a good distraction. In keeping with the theme, the fries are hand cut, and a bottle each of house-made ketchup and homemade mustard stand at the ready. The ketchup is an awful lot like store-bought stuff in texture and taste; as for the mustard, well, I will say that if they set out to make it identical in every way to Heinz's yellow, it's a runaway success. But, hey. You have to have a "thing." And Scratch Kitchen's "thing" seems to be working.
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Forest Park's Scratch Kitchen is an exceedingly pleasant little place. It's cozy, filled with televisions (which I find comforting because I was raised by one), and they play good music. The bar wraps around the open kitchen, creating a sort of hearth that smells of charbroiled meat. And for environmental reasons, they only serve box wine and canned beer, a long list of both crafts and domestics, which you'll find on special for $2 some nights. —Gwynedd Stuart