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Best Burger Spots on the Central Coast

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Other than lunch at Jocko's in Nipomo, I haven't found a really great burger in the SLO area. Probably just don't know where to look, as my focus is usually on Fast and Cheap, so I go for Mexican food to fill the bill. Hudson's used to be my burger/fries/shake spot, but no one seems to have filled the void they left when they closed.

Where have you had a consistently great burger in a casual place anywhere around SLO county? NOT looking for a restaurant experience. It is still just lunch on the go. Bonus points for NOT being a Poly hangout.

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  1. I've enjoyed a take out from Garlands in Grover Beach on many occasions.
    701 W Grand Ave
    Grover Beach, CA 93433
    (805) 481-6512

    1. Red Barn in Santa Ynez has a fantastic deal- $10.00 for a bar burger and a beer! They have Blue Moon on tap!! We love their burgers cooked med rare- they do it perfectly. Their fries are cooked in what must be a special fat- they are delicious!

      I couldn't reply without mentioning the JALAMA BURGER- available at Jalama Beach off Hiway 1, or at Jalama Cafe in Lompoc- where the burgers taste the same- it just isn't the same without being on the sandy enclosed porch...

      Happy New Year all!

      1. Although not in SLO, Village Grill in Arroyo Grande is my favorite Central Coast casual burger spot. Definitely won't be running into too many Cal Poly students there.

        1. Have you tried Sylvester's in Los Osos (it's at 1099 Santa Ynez)...definitely a locals spot, few Poly students there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: kfc

            My Sylvestor's burger was tasted of burnt grease, and was dry and bland. Not thinking about returning. I'd had a rec but was dissapointed.

            1. re: toodie jane

              I agree that Sylvester's isn't the best burger spot. I live in Los Osos and when I want a burger I go elsewhere. They are big and sloppy, but not particularly tasty.

              1. re: toodie jane

                I was the only person in the place--there was no excuse for such a piece of shoeleather meat--except that it was poor quality to begin with.

                None of the condiments made any difference and the bun was bread-outlet-store quality.

                I'll not be going back, even if someone else was buying. There are too many other spots with good burgers.

            2. On my way to investigate Thai Boat in SLO on a Tuesday night, as I drove out Santa Barbara St. towards Broad, I had to stop at the light at the corner where Del Monte Cafe sits. The light was red just long enough for the thought to come bubbling up in my brain...."DEL Burger!!"

              I forgot all about Thai Boat and pulled into Del Monte's lot, and within minutes was enjoying a plump, juicy, cooked-to-my preference Del Burger on a sesame bun with thin sliced red onion, ripe tomato slice, and green leaf lettuce.

              Boy, it did not dissapoint. The meat had wonderful flavor and richness. It came with a choce of fries or salad. I chose the latter--also fresh and very crisp. Good blue cheese dressing, crisp croutons, and thin thin strips of carrots. Nice texture and a good sized salad, too.

              Since I felt virtous from having had greens instead of fries, I persuaded myself that it was perfectly OK to try some dessert, which happened to be Chocolate Bread Pudding with Espresso Cream sauce. Yow. The bread was of a texture like brioche or challah, and was moist with chocolate. Asking for details, I was told the bread and egg mixture is baked partway, then chopped chocolate bits are mixed in and it finishes baking. It came with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. De-ca-dence in a bowl. I could have done without the ice cream and would have enjoyed a pool of the espresso sauce instead, as the drizzle over the top was hard to distinguish from the rich chocolate, though it was a good compliment.

              So I've partly answered my own question; sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time. Now I'll be on the hunt for some chow-inspired right-under-my-nose burger goodness.

              1. I go to Duckie's in Cayucos for a great burger. The Duckie burger is simple but well done. It has well seasoned and nicely cooked beef on ciabatta with leaf lettuce, sliced onion and tomato. Jack or cheddar cheese is extra and all the condiments are on the side. Great flavor and texture.

                As far as downtown SLO, the ABC burger at Firestone Grill is good - but it is usually packed and a popular Cal Poly hangout.

                1. Sylvesters is definitely the best Burger around, no contest.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: keven

                    Can you explain why, Kevin? What about the burger sets it apart in your experience?

                  2. The Neon Carrot serves a great burger on a challah bun with ripe tomato, fresh iceberg leaves and purple onion, grilled if you wish. So juicy and tender (Hearst Ranch grass-fed beef) that it needs no condiments, but they are offered. It's an an $8.50 a la carte burger; bagged chips and side salads are $1.75 extra. Homemade desserts are great--puddings, carrot cake, cookies. Order at the counter and your meal is delivered to your table. Very busy at the noon hour. Open 8:30 to 3 pm M-F only.