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ISO Best Chili Burger - meaning great chili too

  • j

Why is it that almost every time I order a chili burger, the chili is usually warmed over slop - basically a hot meat smoothie? Like Tommy's - sorta tasty in a soupy way, but obviously from a can. Is there anywhere to get a good quality burger with homemade-style (real meat) chili?


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    1. Fatburger uses good chili for their burgers (or separately). For best results, order the burger "on the char", so they charbroil it rather than grill it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Steve Green

        To me, Fatburger's chili tastes like dog food. I'm a huge fan of Fatburger, but never order the chili there.

        1. re: OC Mutt

          Hey, Mutt, I guess you'd know about dog food. ;-)

          However, I also like Fatburger chili -- especially compared to the brown library paste at Tommy's. When I go nowadays, I often order two baby fatburgers w/chili, instead of one larger burger, and the tidy concoction is very good for a chainburger.

      2. Houston's Saturday Special is Chili.

        It is fantastic and they are known to run out.

        Houston's Restaurant
        10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

        3 Replies
        1. re: kermalou

          do you happen to know if it's beef, turkey, or pork chili on Houston's on Saturdays?


          1. re: kevin

            It has always been beef in the past.

            1. re: kevin

              I've never seen Pork Chili anywhere. I know from other posts of yours that you avoid all things porcine but have you or anybody else seen Pork Chili on any menus? I had a math teacher in junior college, Richard Zucker, that was into chili competitions and gave me his recipe for a Pork Chili but I don't think that I have ever seen it on a menu. Thanks!

          2. I still say that the chili at Carney's, (either the Sunset Strip location or Studio City) has great chili burgers and dogs. If you want more of a "main course" type of chili then you might like Engine Co. 28 in downtown LA. They don't have a chili burger on the menu so you might need to order the burger and then a cup of chili to satisfy your urge.



            2 Replies
            1. re: Servorg

              I'm thinking along the lines of Carney's (which I haven't been to in a few years, but always liked) and Fat Burger. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll go bulk up now.

              1. re: Jeryy

                If you go to Carney's then try either the 1/2 lb. chili cheese burger or their double chili cheese burger. Also really good chili cheese fries. Look forward to reading your review no matter where you end up.

            2. try Chili My Soul in Encino. They make awesome chili. They have a burger on the menu and they would be happy to put their chili on anything you order.

              1. Not chili burger's but was in a chili dog mood this week. Pinks, Lucky Boy's and Tommy's. Tommy's was the still the best and it wasn't soupy. If I get the burger I get the chili on the side to use on my fries too.

                I suspect many places locally use the Dolores Chili Brick and might doctor it up a bit.
                which can be purchased at Smart & Final and carried by some grocery stores near the XLNT Tamales. I've purchased it for use at BBQ's and it tastes very similar to most chili served on burgers and dogs around town.

                1 Reply
                1. re: monku

                  I tried Tommy's for the first time a few weeks ago and was surprised how un-messy it was. It's pretty dark thick and starchy in fact, holds on there well. Having read descriptions for a long time I was expecting spilled-over slop dripping left and right.

                2. All I can say is R.I.P. Jay's Jay Burgers! That said, try the chili from Shakas in Monterey Park & Alhambra, not a burger on the menu but you can get a chili side to go that is very good, get it without the onions and cheese or have them put it on the side and make your own chili burgers.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Burger Boy

                    I hear ya, Jay's was one of the best places to get your chili burger fix. I wonder what happened to the owner after it closed cause I'd follow him wherever he went.

                    As I recall the place was replaced with another chili burger stop called Shaun's Burgers (sp?). I haven't had the burger merely because it's so upsetting revisiting what was once my go-to for chili burgers.

                    1. re: ReelMike84

                      I just found a very close subsitue for Jay's Jay Burgers, Art's on Valley Blvd in La Puente, it is really good and dark like Jay's. Order your burger without the lettuce and have them add chili and pickles, i think it normaqlly comes with out pickles.

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        I've tried Art's as well, but I'd MUCH rather have Yanakis a wee bit down the street. They still make their own chili / thousand island dressing on premise.

                        Even better than Yanakis is Nick's in East LA. freshly ground patties flame char grilled, also with house-made chili & thousand island. Just avoid the SYSCO fries. Ick...

                        1. re: TonyC

                          Tony C, don't leave me hanging pisan! Where is Nick's. I will try the chili burger at Yanaki's. I already love their cheese burgers. I did see them making the chili at Art's and it is really close to Jay's, closer to anything I have had so far.

                          1. re: Burger Boy

                            Nick's info linked.

                            It is squeezed in between Rick's and Jon's. That 0.9 mile stretch of Whittier Blvd has a total of 3 flame-broil burger stands.

                            FWIW, I wasn't particularly chasing "Jay's" chili so YMMV.

                            Nick's Burger
                            6101 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022

                  2. Tommy's actually makes their own chili, I have a recipe for it and it is quite involved - even has finely ground carrots in it.

                    I know I will be crucified for this but I actually like Carls Jr. chili cheeseburger, the chili is not the type you would have a bowl of, but it has just the right amount of kick to it, it is kind of messy but it comes in a box so if you try it ask for a spoon too.

                    1. A new place in Fullerton called "Outlaw" at Commonwealth and Harbor has really good chili--prefer the mild version.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Funwithfood

                        2nd or 3rd - carneys! the only chili-cheese burger that i actually enjoy. and their fries are terrific, crispy, just how i like it.

                        1. re: Funwithfood

                          Hey FWF, good to see someone else has gone to Outlaw's in Fullerton. Have you tried their jerky? Their beef sandwich, although erroneously labeled as BBQ, is still quite good (It's kind of a crock pot version). No burgers, though.

                          Hey OC hounds, give these guys a shot. They're nice folks, too.

                          Outlaws BBQ & Chili
                          500 N Harbor Blvd
                          Fullerton, CA 92832
                          (714) 446-9369

                          P.S., I like their spicy chili!

                          1. re: Grubber

                            ...Park at the McDonald's next door and walk over because there is no parking to speak of.

                            Yes, their beef jerky is good. The pulled pork sandwich was just okay--really liked their (mild :)) chili though.

                            They do weekly specials--this week it was baby back ribs--couldn't make it over, unfortunately. If you get on their e-mail list, they will send you the weekly specials. (The gal is very nice, her husband is a bit grandiose.)

                        2. IMHO - Either the Steak Depot at 8871 Santa Monica Blvd. or Mel's Drive-In @ 8585 W. Sunset, both are in West Hollywood. Both have great chili burgers. Although Steak Depot is my favorite: a wonderfully messy gut bomb that is the perfect antidote to a long evening of drinking and dancing. Their chicken noodle soup is pretty good too.