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Father's Office

  • r

A unique name for a hamburger place but how are their burgers? I believe this is in Santa Monica.

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  1. If you search, there is a lot of info on the burgers at Father's Office, but to sum it up, they are very good (they basically come in a single configuration). It is bar, seating is limited, and it gets totally packed in the evenings. So unless you like eating standing up, go early. ;] Worth a try for sure.

    5 Replies
    1. re: David L

      Thanks but the search feature here is very spotty. Plus what good is a review that is two years old? Things do change. Places close. Owners/chefs/cooks change.

      1. re: RUBulldog

        Maybe that's why he also gave you his impressions?

        For another good burger in that general neighborhood, consider Snug Harbor on Wilshire.

        1. re: me

          But I didn't ask for another good burger place either.

          And I do know about the search but I'm looking for reviews from people who have been there within the past 6-8 months.

          1. re: RUBulldog

            Sorry - I wasn't trying to be a search nazi (there are plenty here), just wanted to point out that there was plenty of data to be farmed, in addition to my comments.

          2. re: me

            Snug Harbor is good, but not open for dinner. Great chocolate cake too.

            Father's Office is a nasty joke.

      2. It's a crowded bar in Santa Monica. The burger is very good, though not customizable.

        Search the board for many dozens of posts on the subject.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Kim

          Hi.. Is it true that they will not serve catsup for the burger? Is it also true that they require bleu cheese to top each burger, whether wanted or not? Please confirm or banish these myths, alternately. Thanks!

          1. re: silence9

            Yes, it's true in both cases. Unless you have some sort of hideous allergy to blue cheese, you should try it the way they serve it, because it works well. The fries and the other small plates are also very good. Unfortunately, the service is rather curt and the noise level is horrible. But try and go at a quiet time and have a burger and some excellent ales.

            1. re: silence9

              that's it, I no longer have any interest in this place! No ketchup? I wouldn't even go if it was free!

              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                Your loss. Big time. The burgers at Father's Office are the best I've ever had. And I usually always put ketchup on my burger. Not in this case, though.

          2. The burger and the tapas selection is quite good. They sort of advertise themselves as a beer hotspot, but I've heard the owner speak about beer on the NPR food show, and he made some HUGE errors about beer. But he's a great chef.

            If you are allergic to liquid smoke, avoid the burger-it's loaded with it.

            Lunch is a better bet, since it's so packed other times.

            1. just to give you alittle history, when i was in college, twenty years ago, father's office was rumored to be the only place in l.a. which served anchor steam beer on tap. at the time it did a very good impersonation of a dive, very dark, sawdust on floor and vending machine pool table in the middle of the place. besides beer the only food for sale was maybe peanuts

              8 Replies
              1. re: biffbruin

                It was that way a lot more recently than 20 years ago, btw. The boutique burger/tapas thing is relatively new.

                1. re: me

                  I recall in the early 1990s Father's Office had made the switch from seedy bar to an upscale tavern, as I had some very interesting tongue tacos (yes, tongue) there, along with a couple of Sierra Nevadas on tap.

                  Not sure when the gourmet burger thing started, but they've been serving yuppie food there for over a decade.

                  The burgers now are very good and worth a visit, but be advised to bring your own ketchup, they don't believe in it... {sigh}

                  1. re: Redshirt

                    Not sure a tongue taco is actually upscale, but I can see how it might seem that way on Montana Avenue.

                    1. re: Redshirt

                      oh, you're right, their claim to fame was having all the sierra nevada beers on tap, back in the day. wonder if FO has the same owner, remember asking if the pool table was coming back and he was really excited about offering a menu to go with the beer and wine

                      1. re: biffbruin

                        the new chef is sang yoon, a chef from michael's in santa monica i guess he's owned it since 2000.

                  2. re: biffbruin

                    Slightly deeper history. Prior to 1987, it was one of only 2 bars north of Wilshire, had Coors light on tap and a nice pool table up front with the windows darkened. I had my first legal beer here at age 21. After '87, they chucked the pool table and the scary grizzled patrons, added several micro brews on tap, and allowed you to haul in food from next door (Louise's) while you waited for your laundry across the street. Frankly, I look back on that fondly but times a'change, don't they? And yes the name fits better on a "pool bar" than a "gourmand burger joint," but there you have it.

                    I have yet to venture back to try the burger, but I hear it is befitting a Montana Ave eatery.

                    1. re: biffbruin

                      For the record..it was the only place to sell ALL five Anchor brews (Wheat, Steam, Liberty, Porter, and Old Foghorn) on tap.

                      1. re: biffbruin
                        quiz wrangler

                        I think F.O. started losing its after-office and softball beer bar atmosphere when the dreaded Louise's became a neighbor. After that it was impossible to find a seat what with all the screaming masses waiting for their takeout.

                      2. One thing to all the "search the board" responders-- in all fairness I tried to do that this past weekend (I made my first visit to F.O. 3 days ago) and because of the crippled search function I actually found very little useful info. Since google remaps all the time, perhaps there will be more results with the advent of this topic.

                        So despite the fact that I'll be recapping what I'm sure is located elsewhere in CH's archives, I'll recap my experience

                        We arrived late, at 10:30 on Saturday night (kitchen closes at 11:00), and were expecting standing room only. We were pleasantly surprised to find two tables open.

                        We knew the "rules" that the burger cannot be modified, but my friend and I are flexible, so that was fine with us. I was surprised when they asked me how I wanted the burger cooked-- I assumed it would be medium rare, which is how I like my burgers anyway. They asked us if we wanted fries-- I didn't pay attention to the bill, but after reading this board I'm sure they were extra. (The burger itself was $12)
                        The fries were extremely thin and very crispy-- about 1/8 inch thick. Some had similar flavor and even texture of the potato sticks you can buy in cans, interspersed with fries that were slightly less done and were a little chewy with a very crisp outside. The contrasting textures were quite nice. The dipping sauce was hard to pinpoint-- it tasted like a garlicked cross between mayo and sour cream.

                        Now the burger itself-- it was quite unique and very delicious. One thing that surprised me was that it was a very loose, moist packed burger, and rather sweet. The flavors were difficult to pinpoint, despite the fact that I had read the LA Times kitchen mockup recipe. I could taste carmelized onions and a very subtle bleu cheese, though could see no evidence from the way the burger was presented. This was not an oozing-out-the-sides burger-- in fact the only item that peeked out from the perimeter of the toasted french roll was the generous handful of arugala they threw on top. The applewood bacon compote was a bit difficult to notice and spread on almost like a condiment. Overall, very good burger-- unusual and definitely worth a try.

                        Mr. Taster

                        1. Back in its early years, the mostly young married guys who hung out there actually used to tell their wives they were late because they had to stop at their Father's Office. Very clever name w/o being cute.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Mr Grub

                            Reminding me of when I briefly worked for Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank back in 1969 and we would head over to the local bar called Jack's Office. More than a few Lockheed employees had afternoon meetings at Jack's Office.

                          2. F. O... is not a hamburger place. It's primarily a beer bar featuring exotic domestics and artisnal international brews (many on tap), a small selection of wines, and a handful of bottled sodas including coca cola unadulterated with corn syrup. Accompanying the beverages are a selection of small plates reflecting the sensibilities of the formal chef trained owner.

                            Is it crowded? Yes.

                            Is there ketchup and/or liquid smoke in the burger? No to both.

                            Can you get the burger any other way than the way it is listed on the menu? No substitutions, additions, deletions or modifications are permitted.

                            What if you know the secret handshake/code words? Sorry.

                            Is it loud and noisy inside? Less so since the acoustic tiling went in.

                            Do they serve the best hot fudge sundaes in Los Angeles? No desserts are served.

                            Best way to get a table? Since no reservations are taken, buy one of the t-shirts. Wear it on your next visit, pretend that you work there, and ask the folks occupying the table you want to pack up and leave. (I haven't actually tried this.)

                            Why isn't the service better? It's not a restaurant. Service is not a priority.

                            How long has it been open? Since 1953. It says so on the front door. In the last few years, it changed ownership and evolved from a dive to a rather upscale place.

                            Is the food good? Yes. Think first quality ingredients (including the meat used for the burgers), recipes and cooking techniques found in starred restaurants, not beer bars.

                            Do I go there alot? Not really - I don't drink beer.

                            Disclaimer: I'd like to think that I'm a friend of the owner.

                            Hope this helps to clear up come of the confusion.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: u4ik

                              Wow, straight from the horse's friend's mouth. Thanks!

                              1. re: JJ

                                Sang himself said there was liquid smoke in the burger on "Good Food"

                            2. Be patient, but aggressive.

                              This was the advice I got from another customer there when we were trying to decide whether to give up or hang around forever trying to get a burgers, beer, and a table.

                              Best LA advice ever. I think it applies to just about every facet of life here.

                              Most overrated burger ever as well. Not worth the hassle.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: ks

                                I'm sure the F.O. is heaven on a plate, but why put up with the hassle? If that is part of the "experience", count me out.

                                1. re: SpongeBobSquarePegs

                                  My advice: get there early (5-ish), wait 5-10 minutes to get in and you're set. Service isn't great, but it IS a bar. Honestly, I hate the hassle of this place too but the burgers are worth it if you can manage getting there early.

                              2. Salty burger, overpriced, not worth the trouble. It tastes like a bowl of french onion soup in a steakhouse.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Woody

                                  I agree about it being way too salty. I kept wondering why nobody mentioned that and was about to post it myself. I confess to only eating it once. I assume it's from the blue cheese?? Didn't have that much trouble getting a seat at the bar, by the way, at around...7ish...maybe, on a week night. This was possibly a year or so ago. Anyway, the saltiness has kept me from trying again even tho' I live a block and a half away.

                                2. yes, the crowd can be annoying. yes, the burgers are POSSIBLY overrated (i personally love them though.) yes, one or two of the bartenders can be complete raging bitches....
                                  BUT everyone seems to be forgetting about the sweet potato frites... it's THESE puppies that keep me coming back at least once a month. (well, and the chimay on tap.) but yeah, gotta order those if you go. they don't serve them on the side, you have to order them as a "basket."

                                  1. went to Father's Office last night. Was sooo excited because I had heard all the rave reviews, but I ended up severely disappointed. While they have solved the seating woes (they now only let 50 people in at a time; great for those who make it (like us), bad for those stuck on the sidewalk waiting for others to exi), the music leaves something to be desired. Yes, I know this is a bar. It wasn't that it was super-loud per se, but that the bass was out of whack so there was a loud humming/vibrating sound, which was kinda annoying. But I was willing to give that a pass since the best burger ever was going to be arriving at my table. And it did arrive fast (bonus points there), but while my companions were in hamburger ecstacy, I was bummed. I had read about the ingredients and thought this would be yummy. I like fancy cheese. I like arugula. I like onions---I love onions---but I think it was the onions that were my undoing. They were caramelized beyond recognition so that they became amazingly sweet which gave the burger a BBQ sauce flavor (I am NOT a BBQ sauce fan). Every bite was just sooo sweet. I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I did eat all of my shoe string fries---perfectly crisp and served with fancy mayo dip. And I would like to try the sweet potatoe fries. But since they are very strict with their no substitutions/no alternations on the burger policy, I doubt I will return to Father's Office.

                                    I am excited to try The Counter and 25 Degrees!

                                    1. I've been there dozens of times, dating back to the pre-food days, when it was less trendy (still crowded, though), rather brightly lit and often had people playing trivial pursuit and other games at the tables. As for the burgers, I enjoy them, but because I don't like caramelized onions very much and there are no substitutions, I don't love them.

                                      Combine that with the difficulty getting a table, and I wouldn't make it a destination for a meal. However, they have a great beer selection. So if you want to go some place for a few beers, and might get a burger if/when you get a seat, I think it's a great call.

                                      fwiw, I never have had a problem with the music level or with the service -- but I have seen the bartenders get annoyed with people who are indecisive when ordering. They're more than happy to provide samples of the beers and to answer questions, but it's often not tolerated well if you're just saying "I'm not sure what to get" after getting their attention.

                                      As for the Counter, I've only been there once, but I thought it was good. What is 25 degrees?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: weaver

                                        25 Degrees is the new "gourmet hamburger restaurant owned and operated by Chefs Tim and Liza Goodell and is located in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. "25 Degrees" refers to the difference between medium-rare and well-done.

                                        25 Degrees is now opened for lunch.

                                        25 Degrees
                                        Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
                                        7000 Hollywood Blvd
                                        (323) 785-7244