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Jan 3, 2009 12:38 PM

Big Jo's Santa Monica -- Worth a Try?

Saw a mention of "Jo's" on a thread about Rick's Burgers near Silver Lake. After a Google search, realized I'd seen the joint, a burger stand on the west side of 20th at the corner of Broadway in Santa Monica. I love hole-in-the-walls, and recall driving past this place at times when it didn't appear open, or at least busy. Online reviews seem definitely split: many favorable about a good greasy-spoon simple burger combo or semblance of a cheesesteak at about $6. Others claim the burgers are made from frozen patties and are low-quality and weak.

Well, just a few blocks from there I can pick up a great al pastor burrito from Tacos Por Favor, get a double-chili-cheeseburger combo from Tommy's with the fries properly cooked welldone, or a shawarma pita from Hungry Pocket with their great hot sauce. My question is whether Big Jo's is worth a stop, and whether fellow 'hounds can recommend either the burger or the cheesesteak?

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  1. I have found Big Jo's to be Little Worth Having when it comes to hound worthy food. It's not bad - it's just not worth going to if you have options like TPF so close by.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      My usual order at Tacos Por Favor -- burrito al pastor, no beans, to go -- takes almost no time to prepare. I can't fill the little salsa containers fast enough, but two covers half of a burrito. So if I fill six, I have a couple for the chips. I have the assembly system down, and I really appreciate the little plastic sandwich bags in case of leaks.

    2. I've got a soft spot for the place for nostalgic reasons but I must say that it isn't that great. But it sounds like you've eaten TPF and Tommy's to death though so it's worth a shot out of sheer boredom I suppose. Personally, I think Tommy's is . . . not good (I've only ever eaten at the Pico/Lincoln branch) so you may wish to discard my opinion based on that.

      The food at Big Jo's is totally average shack food. Keep expectations low if you decide to give it a go but it is not what I'd consider a find.

      1. I suppose the patty melt is worth a try if the line isn't too long. The burgers are indeed frozen patties. Fries are totally forgettable. I do get a kick out of the Korean lady who runs the place.

        1 Reply
        1. re: a_and_w

          When I was in high school (late 1970's), the bbq beef sandwich was the thing to order there! I think that the memory is much better than the reality though!! I tried a burger there a few years ago and never went sad!

        2. NO! Not worth a try. Worst Patty Melt I've ever eaten- in fact I didn't finish it.

          1. i'd skip it for anything else but their breakfast sandwiches - hangover soothing east coast greasy spoon style bacon egg and cheese's.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dfoldes

              Those Korean ladies are nasty and cold. The food is mediocre. I'm never going back.