Good Food and Sweet Treats at Winstead’s Kansas City
My wife's hospital in Overland Park is off the interstate and right at the exit there's one of the three Winstead's Steakburger locations. It wasn't the first time I saw one of their locations either, so I thought I'd check out this self-proclaimed "Kansas City tradition for over 75 years" for myself. Here's what I thought.
According to their menu, Windstead's opened in 1940. Their motto was, and still is, "We grind U.S. Choice Steak daily for our sandwich." They also say authentic soda fountain treats and table service are still part of the fun.
One of the things that I immediately liked about Winstead's Steakburgers is the rather simple menu. You can't walk in and get everything under the sun. They offer single, double, and triple hamburgers. A limited variety of comforting sandwiches you would expect at a hamburger place. As well as the sides you'd expect like fries, onion rings, and tater tots.
One of the big selling points of Winstead's is the soda fountain, and the second page of the small two-page menu is devoted to that. Shakes, sundaes, ice cream, ice cream sodas, a root beer float, and more.
I visited Winstead's Overland Park, Kansas location of I-435 late in the lunch hour on Tuesday, January 24, and the restaurant didn't seem very busy. The decor was very late 1980s, or early 1990s and seemed a little tired. There seemed to be some visible cracks in the outside wall, and a few of the booths had rips in the seat fabric. I also noticed the blinds were noticeably dusty.
I sat down and ordered a Double Winstead Steakburger with the Fifty-Fifty, onion rings, and fries, as my side. For my drink, I decided I'd order a small chocolate shake. The food came out very quickly, within 10 minutes if not sooner. The Fifty-Fifty isn't really fifty percent fries and fifty percent onion rings. It's four onion rings, and about the equivalent of a small fry from a fast food joint.
I really liked the breading on the onion rings and I thought they were very tasty. The fries were ok but were lukewarm like they had been sitting for a while, which was disappointing. Especially when you want to dip the fries in the shake.
The Double Winstead Steakburger was good. I thought it was tasty, simple, hot, and good. It wasn't too greasy and you could really taste the meat flavor. The cheese was melted perfectly.
The best part of the meal, in my opinion, was the chocolate shake. It was a perfect consistency. Not too thick to make sucking through a straw too difficult, but not ridiculously soupy and thin. When I dipped a fry in the shake, the fry got coated with a nice layer of shake. It tasted like an old-fashioned chocolate shake should taste too, I don't quite know how to describe the taste, but my taste buds know it when it hits them. This was perfect.
Bottom line. My experience at the Overland Park location didn't make me think of a classic diner or hamburger stand. It reminded me more of most of the diner-type restaurants I frequented in Chicago as a teen and young adult that had recently been updated to look modern. Even the classic soda fountain and classic jukebox by the door couldn't throw it back to the '50s. I found the cracks in the walls and dusty blinds a little offputting too.
I'd give the food a solid B+. I really enjoyed the burger, thought the shake was a home run, but the lukewarm fries left a little to be desired. The portions were fine and I left satisfied.
I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again. The food was good, but there's good food almost anywhere, and at least at the Overland Park location, the decor wasn't spectacular enough to make me want to experience it again. I would, however, go out of my way to stop at Winstead's again for a sweet treat from the soda fountain. I'd like to try one of their sundaes.
Winstead's Steakburgers has three locations. On Emanual Cleaver II Boulevard in Kansas City, in Leawood on 135th Street, and the location I visited, Overland Park on Roe Avenue.