Metro-East Living

St. Louis restaurant famous for its burgers to be featured on Travel Channel

The Triple Louie at Mac's Local Eats in St. Louis is three beef patties with bacon, provel cheese, house aioli and sauteed onions and bell peppers.
The Triple Louie at Mac's Local Eats in St. Louis is three beef patties with bacon, provel cheese, house aioli and sauteed onions and bell peppers. Provided

Mac's Local Eats in St. Louis will be featured on the Travel Channel show "Food Paradise" on Sunday, along with three other restaurants across the country.

An independent production company filmed the segment last fall after hearing about owner Chris "Mac" McKenzie's renowned cheeseburgers. He starts with locally-raised cows and dry-ages them for four weeks to eliminate water content before making ground beef using all cuts of meat.

"The flavor of the beef is exponentially more pronounced than what you would buy in a store," he said.

McKenzie, 47, of South St. Louis, follows a similar process with locally-raised pigs and chicken. His sandwiches start at $6 with thin and crispy, smashed patties served as singles, doubles or triples. The Captain has four patties for $13.

The hour-long "Food Paradise" episode with Mac's Local Eats will air at 7 p.m. Sunday.

"It's great PR," McKenzie said. "It effectively only cost me a whole bunch of cheeseburgers."

McKenzie has been operating the restaurant inside Tamm Avenue Bar in the Dogtown neighborhood of St. Louis for about a year. It's connected to a market, Mac's Local Buys, where he sells his meat.

This will be McKenzie's second appearance on the Travel Channel. He was invited to participate in a reality competition show called "Underground BBQ Challenge" in 2013. The segment was filmed at Civil Life Brewing Company in St. Louis.

"I ended up winning $10,000, which was cool because I was broke as a joke," McKenzie said.

He had been operating Mac's Local Buys for only two years. It started as an email list of friends who bought and shared cows and pigs from local farmers and expanded into a food-distributor for St. Louis restaurants.

Today, McKenzie uses animal organs to make dog treats, bones to make broth and pig skin to make cracklins, which are all sold at the market.

"We don't waste a damn thing," he said.

"Underground BBQ Challenge" producers had heard about McKenzie through Pigs and Pints, an annual party at Civil Life.

Mac's Local Eats and Tamm Avenue Bar are at 1225 and 1227 Tamm Ave. There is seating at tables inside or on the patio. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Before McKenzie opened Mac's Local Buys, he worked as an engineering assistant and production manager for his father's manufacturing company and as an information-technology specialist.

"I'm 47, and I'm flipping burgers and making dog treats, and I couldn't be happier," he said.

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