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Hamburgers in Los Angeles Area

f
frenchsecondempire Oct 19, 2007 08:48 AM

Bring a transplant to Southern California, I have heard different opinions about local hamburger places. In particular, In N Out seems to be a local favorite. However, after going there, I was not impressed. The hamburgers seemed to be like so many everywhere else--pressed meat from a mold, rather thin and mass produced. Where does one go to get an old fashioned hamburger, like the kind you make at home.

  1. c
    CraigH Oct 21, 2007 01:59 PM

    I haven't been there for at least 15 years, but I used to get a real good chili burger at Clearman's Galley in Pasadena (Huntington & Rosemead). I'm referring to the old boat that was moved on to the property, not the Clearman's Restaurant. Does anyone know if the old Galley is still there?

    1. n
      nosh Oct 21, 2007 11:11 AM

      Wanted to give a thumbs-up to Mike's Hockeyburger on the N/W corner of Soto and Washington in ELA. Their signature burger also has a split grilled sausage topping the cheeseburger. Counter service, big portions, very accommodating, a lot of hockey and boxing memoribilia on the walls. Order your huge side of fries done well, they have good pastrami and breakfast options, and they offer this roast beef flatbread sorta option as well. Extremely clean, friendly, good place -- we'd drive from downtown for lunch.

      1. rednyellow Oct 20, 2007 04:03 PM

        One of the best burgers I've had in a while was at the Redwood bar on second street downtown. It was perfect, cooked as ordered, very flavorful, juicy, really the best in a long time. I've had good burgers at Lucky Devils in Hollywood, but I hate their fries - coated or something. Once in a while 25 Degrees would get it right, but only if the manager was there overseeing everything. Left to their own, the staff at 25 D. is totally incompetant as well as rude. Dusty's can make a great burger, but I've had a few over cooked even though I very specifically ask for med rare, but when right, they are very good.

        1. o
          omakase Oct 19, 2007 08:29 PM

          Here are some suggestions:
          1. San Fernando Valley - Pineapple Hill Saloon & Grill
          2. Burbank - Mo's
          3. Glendale - Crocodile Cafe
          4. Pasadena - Houston's
          5. Hollywood - 25 Degrees
          6. West Hollywood - Irv's
          7. West L.A. - RIP Mo Better Meatty Meat Burgers (In my opinion, the best, but now
          laid to rest)
          - 2nd choice - Howard's Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers
          8. Santa Monica - Cora's Coffee Shop
          9. Beverly Hills - Nic's
          10. Downtown - Nick & Stef's (Lunch/Bar Menu - Not Dinner)

          4 Replies
          1. re: omakase
            ElJeffe Oct 20, 2007 02:46 PM

            Tell me more about Cora's. Where is it? What type of burger is it?

            1. re: ElJeffe
              o
              omakase Oct 20, 2007 09:34 PM

              Cora's is located at 1802 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica. The hamburgers are huge, dripping, and delicious. They even have a hamburger salad.

              1. re: omakase
                n
                nosh Oct 21, 2007 11:03 AM

                Cross street? Santa Monica Blvd, Olympic, Pico? Their own parking lot or street and structure or valet?

                1. re: nosh
                  o
                  omakase Oct 21, 2007 02:29 PM

                  Cora's is on Ocean Ave., north of Pico Blvd. You can park on the street (meters) or at a nearby pay lot.

          2. j
            JeetJet Oct 19, 2007 07:55 PM

            "pressed meat from a mold, rather thin and mass produced."

            I agree with the other post that support In N Out. Freshness, flavor, and they are hot -- at least at the older two lane drive-thru stands.

            I also understand the concern you point out -- "thin mass produced"
            Maybe you would like the new Hand made burger in town at the Peach

            Hand made burger at The Peach
            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/452450

            1. b
              Babette Oct 19, 2007 07:35 PM

              Lucky Devils
              6613 Hollywood Blvd
              Los Angeles, CA 90028
              (323) 465-8259

              Top notch burgers & shakes (diner-type atmosphere)

              1. s
                SoCalMuncher Oct 19, 2007 06:04 PM

                A bit farther afield, but what I might consider the best burger of all, can be had in Bellflower, at Big Mike's. About a 2 1/2 inch hand-formed and pressed, seasoned patty with a grilled hot link on top. No need - or room - for much condiments.
                Each one is cooked to order, so don't be in a hurry.

                1. paulfromla Oct 19, 2007 05:29 PM

                  My all time favorite old fashioned hamburger used to be at a place called the Thai American Cafe in silver lake - of all places - but it closed down - it was the best burger i've had - if anyone knows where the owners of that place ended up let me know - the thai food wasn't bad there either

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: paulfromla
                    n
                    nomo_fan Oct 19, 2007 06:01 PM

                    Yes, the posts have been duplicated, but the fact that so many people have replied to this thread must mean that the subject has still not been "talked out". I like the Pie n' Burger burger. It's probably because of the pie/burger combination. Fresh peach pie and a good burger just hits the spot. In my three times to the Counter, I've liked the burger the best the one time I ordered it without cheese. Their cheeses are so overpowering that that was all I could taste. The cheeseless Counter Burger, combined with the sweet potato fries and the onion rings, has been the best burger experience I've had in So Cal.

                    1. re: paulfromla
                      rednyellow Oct 20, 2007 03:59 PM

                      It was a great burger.

                      1. re: rednyellow
                        Servorg Oct 20, 2007 04:04 PM

                        And it was regularly raved about / discussed / recommended here on the LA board (and the closing of TAC was widely lamented here).

                        1. re: Servorg
                          s
                          sel Oct 20, 2007 04:16 PM

                          Yea, especially by me as I started lurking on CH about the time everyone was saying how good it was and how much it would be missed!

                    2. maxzook Oct 19, 2007 01:58 PM

                      Gosh, what a wonderfully original idea for a post! ;P

                      http://www.chow.com/topics/338345
                      http://www.chow.com/topics/432338
                      http://www.chow.com/topics/429948
                      http://www.chow.com/topics/63715
                      http://www.chow.com/topics/47755

                      If you want a burger "like the kind you make at home", chances are nothing you ever find in a restaurant is going to approach it. And if (like me) you don't make burgers at home, everyone's mileage will vary.

                      I'm linking to the three places I've been to of late that have the burgers I would most like to have again. I have not yet been to Tops in Pasadena.

                      I _have_ been to Cassell's recently enough to know that it has declined dramatically since the days when it deserved to be on anyone's best-of list. (Cassell's isn't open for dinner or on Sundays, so I find its rep tends to rest with people who haven't been there for years.

                      )

                      And, honestly, can't we all agree to hit Search before we repost the same subjects again and again?

                      -----
                      25 Degrees Restaurant
                      7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                      Father's Office
                      1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                      Counter
                      2901 Ocean Park Blvd Ste 102, Santa Monica, CA 90405

                      1. mrshankly Oct 19, 2007 01:37 PM

                        The cheeseburger at happy hour at McCormick and Schmick's is pretty good... thick, homestyle patty with cheese and fries for under $3!! Also, the burger at Yaki's is pure gluttony!!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mrshankly
                          TBird Oct 20, 2007 02:02 PM

                          i used to live directly across the street from yaki's. they knew me by name. :-)

                        2. martyR Oct 19, 2007 01:09 PM

                          Hawkins House of Burgers on Fairoaks in Altadena. None better IMO. A single, half-pound patty medium rare is all you need.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: martyR
                            SauceSupreme Oct 19, 2007 01:19 PM

                            Or you could get the Hawkins Burger and it would be all you and four friends need.

                          2. orythedog Oct 19, 2007 11:54 AM

                            My favorites are:

                            1. Houston's - they use Nieman Ranch meat
                            2. Pie N Burger - in Pasadena

                            1. blackbookali Oct 19, 2007 11:32 AM

                              I would say Apple Pan or Pie N Burger. In N Out is fast food, for fast food its good(no steak n shake). The one thing about your post that sticks to me is "the kind you make at home" - i happen to believe that making a "regular burger" like Apple Pan and Pie N Burger is easy if you have a cast iron skillet, and a super market and half a brain. Get the buns in the morning, buythe fattiest ground beef(also the cheapest) and figure what toppings you like . . . and it will be cheaper than the gas it costs to drive to either of those places. But if you are lazy and have $12 to spend on comfy food, I guess Ill see you on the westside.

                              1. Will Owen Oct 19, 2007 10:35 AM

                                Lunch burger, thin patty but hand-formed: Pie'n'Burger, Pasadena. Like In-N-Out, only artisanal and hence more expensive.

                                Nice fat bar-burger: been on a quest for the best of these, and leading the pack so far is the Redwood Grill, on 2nd downtown just a door or two east of Hill St. I seem to recall it was $14 or maybe less, and cooked perfectly to order. Excellent fries, too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Will Owen
                                  sbritchky Oct 21, 2007 01:15 PM

                                  I'm not sure I would call anything at the Pie 'n Burger "artisanal," other than, perhaps, the unusual knee-operated mens-room faucet, but it's my current California favorite for: (1) hamburgers; (2) hash browns; and (3) that one very cute waitress.

                                2. i
                                  iheartfigs Oct 19, 2007 09:56 AM

                                  I just tried the Father's Office in Santa Monica. I went to try the burger since I had heard great things about it. Not a real "home" burger but very flavorful. And if you like beer they have everything in the book-- but go early... seats are hard to come by!!!!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: iheartfigs
                                    Foodandwine Oct 19, 2007 10:09 AM

                                    And another Favorite of Mine is The Richmond Bar and Grill ( my go to for its the Blue Cheese Bacon Burger ) in El Segundo. However, from reading the OP's wants.. I think that my rec of B & R will do em fine..

                                    -----
                                    Richmond Bar & Grill
                                    145 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

                                    1. re: Foodandwine
                                      SauceSupreme Oct 19, 2007 01:06 PM

                                      I love the Richmond Bar and Grill, and it's certainly among my favorites for "traditional" burgers. I especially like their house-made potato chips. They're also one of the few places where you can get Firestone Double Barrel *Unfiltered* on tap (the only other place I know if is the Firestone brewery up in SB county).

                                      And I would remiss if I didn't also recommend Pie N Burger.

                                  2. a
                                    ahuacatl Oct 19, 2007 09:46 AM

                                    I agree with you, the In N Out burgers do not live up to the hype and I found the fries to be yuck. I've only been once, but I preferred the Apple Pan. Disclosure: I eat very little beef and no pork. Whatever you do, never Hamburger Hamlet. I've been pleased with the burgers at The Counter, but that's probably because it comes with a crapload of toppings. Yeah, that's why for sure. Also, sweet potato fries.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ahuacatl
                                      b
                                      Burger Boy Oct 19, 2007 09:54 AM

                                      I love In N Out, go figure, I get animal style, protein style and animal style fries. Do you really like to build your own burgers? I like a place that presents their take on a BBQ Burger or a mushroom burger, I like the chef's take on what he does. You go to Father's Office for that one thing he does, why would you have hime leave off the blue cheese and add feta, you wouldn't., im rambling, sorry.

                                      1. re: Burger Boy
                                        a
                                        ahuacatl Oct 19, 2007 10:47 AM

                                        In N Out burgers aren't bad at all, I was just agreeing about the hype ≠ reality. Being only an occasional burger eater I don't really have a sense of the burgerscape in LA. I just remember the first time I went there, after all the WOM and I was sure I had the wrong place or bad luck. I've been maybe a half dozen times and they are consistently better than the pack, but not equal to the hype. I don't normally go for the BYO, but if the toppings are included and they sound good... Actually, I'll try some of the places off your list. I don't run with a burger eating pack, so I've always felt that I'm not really finding the right places. I recall someone mentioning a Philly West, or something Philly in Westwood?

                                    2. TBird Oct 19, 2007 09:19 AM

                                      for comparison, try a fat burger. but yes, a pandora's box has now been opened... :-)

                                      1. b
                                        Burger Boy Oct 19, 2007 09:12 AM

                                        You have opened up Pandora's Box!

                                        Cassells
                                        26 Beach Restaurant
                                        Yanaki's
                                        Texas BBQ King

                                        this all offer old school basic good burgers, there will be many more replies that have gourmet burgers and I could list those, but I won't. Try these for a good basic old school burger!

                                        -----
                                        26 Beach
                                        3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                                        Cassell's Hamburgers
                                        3266 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

                                        Original Texas Barbecue King
                                        5309 South Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                                        Yanakis Burgers
                                        13200 Valley Blvd, La Puente, CA 91746

                                        1. Foodandwine Oct 19, 2007 09:06 AM

                                          B & R in Hawthorne is a good spot for the type of burger that you are seeking. Hand made and cooked on a griddle.. Nice people once your inside. Oh yes, leave your good watch home that day..

                                          -----
                                          B & R's Old Fashion Burgers
                                          3512 W Rosecrans Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Foodandwine
                                            b
                                            Burger Boy Oct 19, 2007 09:14 AM

                                            B&R is also a good old school, no fancy smanchy

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