It's been a long road for Steve Gontram. The former owner and chef of Harvest (1059 South Big Bend Boulevard, Richmond Heights; 314-645-3522) has been pining for years to open a St. Louis outpost of 5 Star Burgers (8125 Maryland Avenue, Clayton; 314-720-4350), a business that he and his father founded in 2008 in New Mexico.
"The idea was that I was going to start this company with him, and we were going to, right off the bat, build in two different states," he recalls. "It just took me four years longer than anticipated because I was trying to sell Harvest restaurant at the time, and it took a lot longer to sell it than I thought. So here I am...finally."
Despite being far apart geographically and palette-wise, the main similarity between the New Mexico and St. Louis locations (there is also a location in Colorado) is the green-chile cheeseburger.
"[The New Mexico location was] written up for as one of the best burgers in the states," Gontram says, referring to a recent USA Today poll. "We have copied that burger to a tee, and it's amazing. Hatch chiles, green-chile mayonnaise, pepper jack cheese. It's really, really good."
Since it's the house specialty, Gut Check tried the green-chile cheeseburger during our visit. Grilled medium-rare, the burger was very juicy and had a nice slow burn throughout thanks to the green chiles, which come straight from New Mexico.