The Orahoskes serve over-the-top burgers and sandwiches alongside pasta, hot dogs and ice cream at Taboo Gourmet Burgers and Ice Cream in downtown Laurie. Located on the west side of Lake of the Ozarks, Taboo specializes in fresh, hand-pattied burgers — and the stories behind them — that are stacked with toppings and sauces.
David and Kim are members of Co-Mo Connect and are mid-Missouri transplants who had good careers. They were looking for a little extra income on the weekends. “We decided there were a few festivals coming up and we could sell ice cream,” David says. “I didn’t want to do something that looked thrown together. So I built a cabana to sell the ice cream.”
They sold at the Apple Festival in Versailles and the Hillbilly Fair in Laurie. “We didn’t get rich, but it was worth doing,” David says. “The mayor of Laurie asked us if we’d open an ice cream shop downtown.”
In January 2017, Taboo Ice Cream and Deli opened serving Central Dairy products inside an A-frame building on Main Street. As Kim helped customers inside the 600-square-foot shop, David got antsy in the back. He eventually got a George Foreman grill, thinking he could sell a few burgers.
“The first ticket came in and I thought it was so cool, then the next one had two burgers,” he says. “And then we start getting these orders for like six burgers at a time and I’m pressing out burgers on this Foreman grill with this tiny little grease tray. Within a month we did enough burgers to afford a full-size grill and hood.”
Burgers and sandwiches soon became the main attraction at Taboo with three dozen options. David and Kim are self-described food fanatics and the expansive menu mirrors their travels over the years.
While serving in the Marines in Huntington Beach, California, David would frequent Wimpi’s Drive-Thru and get the MOP Burger with mustard, onions and pickles. At Taboo, their Wimpy Burger is served with one-half pound of beef and MOP.
The Goober Burger with peanut butter, pickles, onion, lettuce and bacon came from visits to the now-shuttered Wheel Inn, the birthplace of the burger in Sedalia.
“I want this place to be a getaway,” David says. “I want you to relax, try something different and forget about whatever problems you might have going on.”
Go with the Fair Dinkum if you show up hungry for a classic burger taste — and a lot of it. The name comes from a trip David took to Australia to visit his son. He learned the term fair dinkum, as in a strong affirmative or more than you’d expect. The Fair Dinkum is definitely more than you expect with 1 pound of meat split between two patties, four slices of American cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles. “When you bite the sandwich, you get the soft warm top of the bun before the bottom is crispy,” he says. “Then cool toppings before the melted cheese and two patties. It all melds together.”
If you’re craving more, go for the Quad Dinkum with 2 pounds of meat and eight slices of cheese. All sandwiches are served with a bag of chips, housemade Hawaiian macaroni salad — with fluffy noodles, carrots, onions and freshly ground pepper in a cream sauce — or applesauce.
The Big Chief Burger is an homage to a trip to Duggan’s Irish Pub — a restaurant overlooking the main drag that runs through Detroit. “It’s this two-story restaurant where you can overlook Woodward Avenue and you see all these classic and muscle cars cruising,” David says.
It features a pair of quarter-pound, hand-formed patties, American cheese, a light drizzle of Thousand Island dressing, pickles and lettuce. “It’s one of those burgers where you don’t need too much sauce to overpower everything and it’s gooey in your mouth,” David says.