It matters little if you've been asked by your boss to pick a place for lunch or if you are the boss, looking for a place to bring the troops; Home Wine Kitchen in centrally located Maplewood needs to be on your radar.

The urban-homestead vibe is casual without being stuffy. Parking is free, and the service pacing dovetails nicely with ebb and flow of a working lunch, which is, after all, the reason for heading out of the office in the first place.

So, what to have? The burger, which headlines a changing selection of salads, pastas, sandwiches and flatbreads that highlight seasonal ingredients. A beer list of local and national craft beers stands up nicely against a wine list of both new and old-world wines, all priced at an expense-account-friendly $30 a bottle.

But about that burger...

Those who take burger customization for granted take note: the Home Wine Kitchen burger is a finished product - a Missouri grass-fed beef and pork belly patty, bacon, cheddar, roasted garlic aioli , a fried egg and toasted Companion roll - that the restaurant justifiably takes very seriously.

Pretentious? Hardly. The staff is friendly, accommodating and knowledgeable. They just so happen to also be intent on you trying a burger their way. They are skillful at steering diners toward it with a confidence that suggests that after partaking in a Home Wine Kitchen burger, you'll forget about the burger you thought you wanted.

The heady combination of burger juice, pork fat, aioli and creamy egg yoke tend to do that to a person. Just don't forget that you're in the midst of a working lunch.

Home Wine Kitchen, 7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.802.7676,

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