KC HooperThis time in December I reminisce about an old friend and colleague as I think about K.C. Hooper’s passing 4 years ago. For those who knew K.C. he always loved hamburgers and was able to talk about the differences of each. It was his go-to food when traveling with him, and you knew you could pick any restaurant as long as they had a good burger.

We are relaunching our blog site this week and it seems appropriate to start it with some old reviews from K.C. on his food of choice, burgers. In the comments section would you list your favorite burger joint and the town it is in or favorite K.C. burger memory?

- Joel

Learn A Little About Hoop ... And His Burger Obsession

Originally posted Oct. 9, 2012

Anyone who knows me will agree with this statement Uhhh, yeah, HOOP LOVES BURGERS!!! The accountants at Apollo snicker about it when I turn in my receipts from a trip. I was asked if I would like to dedicate a blog to my favorite burgers from my travels so here it is.

1. In N Out burgers in CA, AZ, NV

In N Out Burger If you have ever had a Double Double you know what I mean. Their menu is limited but they do it right. There is usually a line to the door at lunch and dinner rush hours. The counter folks are some of the nicest to deal with in all of fast food. A tip- go to their website to view their "secret menu" aka "not so secret menu", items like French Fries Animal style (as pictured). NOT for health foodies but awwwwesome!

2. Thurman's Cafe, Columbus, Ohio

Thurman's Cafe, Columbus, OhioThis burger has more than a patty, it is more of a flattened ball of burger. The burgers are juicy and amazing. It will work as a lunch and a dinner meal. This place is locally famous for great burgers so getting there at rush hour for lunch or dinner could be a 45 minute wait for a table BUT IT IS WORTH IT! I have driven down to Columbus from Cleveland (2.5 hours away) specifically to get one of these culinary gems. If you are anywhere near this place, try one, it's for your own good!

3. BLT Burger in The Mirage, Las VegasBLT Burger in The Mirage, Las Vegas

A really good burger with lots of options. Great shakes here as well. Hit one up at your next LDI or NAB. Warning: as with many places in LV, this place can be inconsistent at times and be downright mediocre but when they are on target, these burgs are great!

4. Henry's Burger at Henry's Restaurant in Fort Wayne,IN

This is a small "Cheers" style bar and grille in downtown Fort Wayne. I go there for an early dinner with my good friends and coworkers at Apollo when I am in town for meetings. There is nothing unique about how the burgers are prepared but I always notice how amazing they are while engrossed in conversations with my friends. It is a local favorite and wins many burger awards, they deserve them!

5. Rosebud Steakhouse, Chicago, IL

Rosebud Steakhouse, Chicago, ILThis place has been selected as the best burger in Chicago. I have had bad results from these "Best of " places. I must say that when walking into the fancy steakhouse with $44 Filet Mignon steaks, I had my doubts that a $13 cheeseburger would be any good. I am glad to say that I was wrong. The burger was simple (14oz patty) but perfect taste and consistency. The waiters at these places can sometimes "look down on you" as you insult their higher end steaks. The waiter was excellent and made sure everything was right. A fantastic burger experience BUT don't go there after 5:30pm without a reservation!

6. The Counter in Santa Monica and other L.A. Locations

This is a sit down type restaurant where you fill out a form to order your burger and the condiments. They have great and consistent burgers and a nice list of craft beers. Along with having their namesake, a lunch counter, they also have table seating at the restaurants as well. I love that I am not rushed to figure out what I want on my burger (these are VERY important decisions).

7. Five Guys Burgers - available nationally and still growingFive Guys Burgers

A foil wrapped grease bomb that is deeeelicious! The melted cheese dripped on the foil after you finish the massive burger is a tasty fitting finish to the meal. Some of you may be surprised that it is so far down on my list, sorry. The bacon that they put on the burger (additional charge) is crispy and the hands down best in the business! It is a struggle to NOT add it when I eat here ( I usually lose that battle).

8. Nook Bar on Hamline in St Paul, Minnesota (near St. Catherine's University)

Found this place through Urbanspoon on my iPhone. It features a "Juicy Lucy" style burger where the cheese is in a pocket between two patties. As you bite into it, the grease and cheese ooze out, MMMMMMMMM! It is a college hangout and packed at night but is perfect at lunch around 11:30 before the place gets crowded.

9. Coco's Restaurant- California and Arizona locations

This restaurant has a San Francisco Sourdough Cheeseburger that is unique and crunchy (toasted sourdough bread). The saucy mustard sauce is a perfect match for the sautéed onions. Surprisingly, there are none of these restaurants in its namesake San Francisco.

10. Marie Callenders Original Cheeseburger- western U.S. and Texas

I have tried the other burgers here but the original is the best. Another thick and juicy burger with a unique flavored Thousand Island sauce on it. For some odd reason I prefer these burgers when it is freezing cold outside. It may be because of the old style homey decor they have in the restaurants.

11. The Legendary Hoop Barbeque Burger, my back yard patio

The Legendary Hoop Barbeque Burger

This burger is house-renowned around my family for being amazing. I don't follow the rules of barbeque and flip many times and start with a clean grill. I am a fan of slow grilling the meat and surprisingly enough only use a generic ground beef (not ground round) from Sam's Club. It has the ideal combination of juiciness and taste. There may be a blizzard in Cleveland but I can be found at least once a week grilling on the patio (the snow keeps my beer cold). I must say, they do rock!

You may agree or disagree with my selections for this blog. I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments section if you have a favorite burger place regardless of where. As I travel around I promise to try them if one is nearby. I keep a list on my iPhone of places to try. A terrific burger in this wacky world is too precious of a commodity to keep secret, please pitch in your favorites (now you know why the accounting folks laugh at me).

Next month-legendary Mexican Food places (just kidding, I promise to go back to "lighting stuff").