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Jan 27, 2013 03:35 PM

Oakland - Burgers - Park Burger

Really Short Review: Best hamburger I’ve tasted in two years, full-stop.

The rest of the story:
There are few restaurants now that don’t have some form of the burger. There’s the high-end burgers from places that specialize in something else, but have to have it on the menu to satisfy those who got dragged there and who don’t want the frisse salad with lardon avec this ‘n that. There’s the diner-style burger joints (Glenn’s in the Laurel, Sparky’s off of highway 13) where they do a professional job of griddling up pre-formed meat. I won’t mention the Supersize Me Oligarcy of Grossness (SMOG). Then there are the joints where the burger is the point, and focus of pride, like Park Burger in the Glenview district of Oakland between Bellanico and Marzano’s.

Park Burger is a shining example of the burger done right. Locally sourced meat, cooked right with a good set of sides and condiments. They also serve a nice selection of beer and wine.

I ordered the egg and bacon burger because I hadn’t seen that combination offered before. I paired it with onion rings and a beer.

If you take a bite of any really great sandwich, it’s hard to tell what made that bite perfect. You talk about how good the bacon went with the meat, or that the bread was perfectly toasted, or that the lettuce gave it that great crunch, but you can’t really explain how it all works together to create an experience you’ll tell others about the next day (like I’m doing now, for instance…).

The Marin Sun Farms meat is not factory raised, filled with hormones, etc. I’ve actually gone to see the Marin Sun Farms herds in Tomales Bay and if I were a steer, that’s where I’d want to grow up. It makes the burger better, and the egg and bacon on it made for a heavenly combo.

The décor is dead-simple. It’s a rectangular box with metal chairs and unadorned diner tables. My wife thinks a row of banquets would improve the ambiance, and I agree. There is a nice pixelated mural of a map of Oakland on one wall.

There's no table service. You order from the counter and someone brings you your food (like Jimmy Beans in Berkeley).

Final Tally:

Food: 9 (Truly awesome burgers)
Service: N/A (The staff is nice)
Price: My burger was $10 (I’ve rarely been so happy to pay slightly more for anything)
Ambiance: 4 (Very basic. The bathroom is clean and spacious.)

4218 Park Boulevard, Oakland, California 94602

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  1. a bud of mine's really panned park burger. i was gonna wait a few weeks to check it out. your review + free parking on sunday encouraged me to try it.

    the kitchen setup resembles trueburger but on a larger scale. more kitchen space. a little more dining area.
    the food otoh was a disaster.

    onions rings(4)
    -were mostly burnt or had the batter burnt off..
    -onion rings greasy and soggy.

    classic burger(7)
    -ordered medium rare, probably got medium
    -burger tastlesss, juiceless
    -only saw/tasted mayo on burger not garilic aioli.

    seems with all the fancy smancy ingredients, they have a crew that can't cook.

    i also got someone's else's cheese sandwich before i got my burger,

    3 Replies
    1. re: shanghaikid

      You know, the onion rings were a big disappointment for me as well and the burger was not especially great. I don't like mayo on my burger but am always willing to give an "aoli" (or special sauces) a chance at a more upscale place to taste it all as the chef intends... was a bad call in this case. I would put it a rung below Trueburger, and that burger is far from my favorite. The Mua, Chop Bar, and Sidebar burgers are better. I guess one could say that burgers are not something all these "high-end" places "specialize" in but they all do a better job of making a hamburger, hands down (and for a similar price, with cocktails).

      I see there are many burger lists already on here so will leave it at that.

      1. re: lakemerritter

        They dumped the onion rings in favor of sweet potato fries. I liked the onion rings, but I the SPFs are better for me and taste great!

        1. re: ChewChewChew

          I don't like sweet potatoes, guess you can't please everyone!

          They really should get their web site together--it is a good place to announce things such as menu changes.

    2. A $10 burger has to be...9 on a 10 scale.

      If its not ...I will go to the many other options.

      1. Just had an amazing dinner at Park Burger. Had the monster Beast of the East burger. Perfectly cooked to mid rare. Great pan de mie bun. I usually order my fries "extra crispy" but the sweet potato fries came that way without having to ask. Great wine/beer selection.

        Clearly, a very well thought out and well executed burger bar. A top notch addition to the thriving, yet small, Park Ave scene.

        1. Gas grill / charcoal grill / griddle?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            looked like a standard (flat) grill, no charcoal, griddle seen. 1/2 the size (at least) of the one i cooked at while at kwik way's (long ago).
            assume it's gas operated.