HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Hidden burger gems for under $5?

I've been enjoying following L.A Taco's ongoing "Bang for your Burger Buck" series (http://www.lataco.com/tag/cheap-eats/...) and was particularly intrigued by the inclusion of Al & Bea's. Given the dozens of burger and taco stands I drive by on a daily basis, there must be a lot of other good, cheap burgers flying under the radar out there. Anybody have any favorites?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Looks like a great suggestion, Ipse.
      I looked at the burger menu and was quite surprised by the very low prices. You're a champion!

      1. re: Tripeler

        Y'know what makes their burgers great?

        They cook it on the same griddle that they use for the carne asada, carnitas, conchita pibil, etc. and those bits and pieces of the beef and pork juices leftover on the griddle magically infuse the burger patty with that extra oomph.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          100% truth ipse - it was the burger punch at Yucca's that gave me the foresight to try it at Al and Bea's. Yucca's is also one of those burgers that reminds me a tad of the great hamburger of my Midwestern roots: Steak n Shake.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            This thread reminds me once again of why my original vote for Dish of the Month was burgers...

            1. re: Servorg

              Agree as almost kinda always, Senor Vorg...

            2. re: ipsedixit

              I never really thought about it, but that makes perfect sense. I don't live near Yuca's anymore, but perhaps it's time to revisit the old 'hood.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            I'll see your Yuca's - I prefer their burger to the tacos, actually - and raise you a Patra Burger - the Echo Park branch. Wonderful char and some sort of unidentifiable greek-esque seasonings on the burger.


            1. re: JeMange

              oooooh - on my list. what are your thoughts on:

              Jack’s Classic Hamburgers
              White Hut
              Irv’s (WeHo)
              Bill’s (Van Nuys)

              1. re: blackbookali

                White Hut (Pasadena) is gone. Alas, I never got to try it.

                1. re: Jack Flash

                  There is one Glendale - not sure if they are/were realted

                  1. re: blackbookali

                    That's the Great White Hut. It would appear to be no relation, just similarly named.

                    1. re: Jack Flash

                      Yeah, not related. White Hut in Pasadena owned by a husband and wife team. Used to go to the Great WH when I worked in the Galleria Office Towers but for some reason cannot remember if I thought they were great...
                      I love the sliders at Dog Haus (even more than the hot dogs!). $1.50 each. Grilled onions & white cheddar on hawaiian roll. So delicious!

                2. re: blackbookali

                  Is Jack's the one that used to be on Coldwater at Riverside and always being closed down by the health dept?

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    same jacks. now on riverside. great shack when it was on coldwater. they're still really good.

                    1. re: cdub

                      The burgers may be good but have thay cleaned up their act?

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        As far as I can tell their act seems pretty damn clean to me. Compared to a lot of the joints most Hounds frequent (including some, shall we say, dubious ethnic establishments
                        which I confess I like as well), Abby's is positively pristine.

            2. Mom's Burgers -- comes with a side of 'hood and hoopties. No website, obvs.

              6 Replies
                1. re: TonyC

                  +1 for Mom's, but you already knew that...

                  Dirtywetraolives - the is address: 336 W Alondra Blvd Compton, CA 90220. I usually hit up both Bludso's and Mom's to make the most out of my trip down south.

                    1. re: chrishei

                      What's the name of the joint in LBc near jongewarrds again ?

                      Someone sung the praises of this tiny shack recently.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Dave's burger, or, Dave's lost cause.

                        Previous round-up containing Mom's by Snyder:

                        People should really note whether the patties are sourced frozen, or made in-house.

                        1. re: kevin

                          I really like Dave's, but only if you're in the Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. I wouldn't travel far for it.

                    2. Pete's Burgers
                      2400 S Hoover St
                      Los Angeles, CA 90007
                      (213) 748-3206


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Servorg

                        This joint sounds like it would have some gyros. But it's no where to be seen on the online menu.

                        Boy, do I miss those dope pastrami cheese burgers from Hubba Hubba on SM Blvd and Sepulveda.

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            B-Man's is one of the few (only?) places where I will get an avocado on my burger. Maybe it has something to do with the teriyaki sauce.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              A not so good avocado burger can be had at Howard's. No offense. But their self-purported "famous" burgers left me non-plussed.

                        1. Pharo's in Alhambra

                          Good Greek-owned burger joint. Gyros are good too and their chili cheese fries put nearby The Hat's to shame

                          2 Replies
                          1. Top's Burger in Pasadena. Their Jr. Cheeseburger is $3.47 with tax and has a great charbroiled patty, crisp lettuce, tomato, etc........very good!

                            They have gotten a lot of love for their Kobe burger and their Top's Special (pastrami+beef patty), but for the $$$, the Jr. Cheeseburger is my Best Bet(racetrack pun intended).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: superbanker

                              Their chili cheese fries rock, as do the veggie burgers with everything and the tuna salad sandwiches with avocado. East Sierra Madre blvd only, the branch on Allen(?) is not as good.

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                Actually, the location in question (named "The Original Tops") is on Colorado, east of Rosemead.

                            2. Hawkins House of Burgers (which is mentioned in the link).

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: chrishei

                                I'm a big fan of Hawkins House of Burgers. My usual order is a double cheeseburger with a hot link on top.

                              2. Big Jo's in SaMo, get it with chili, cheese, mustard, pickle, bacon, onion, tomato (recreate the Jayburger!!! Even though if you're like me it'll make you a little sad.)

                                22 Replies
                                1. re: BrewNChow

                                  Was there bacon in the Jayburger? My memory is hazy...

                                  1. re: ronsilverado

                                    Yeah there was. I grew up in the same neighborhood as the unfortunately short-lived San Diego location, maybe the LA one (which I never went to) was different but that's what came on the SD Jayburger

                                    1. re: BrewNChow

                                      I don't think there was a San Diego location if I'm not mistaken. Jay Coffin only owned and operated that one location.

                                      Btw, their fresh squeezed lemonade was beyond fucking dope too.

                                      1. re: kevin

                                        Yes there was a San Diego location, only lasted a few years. Jay moved to San Diego to retire and play golf. Once you get burgers in your blood it is always there!

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          Hey Kevin, FYI, Jay passed this past Monday, I just heard the news! He was a good man and good friend to the community and his employees!

                                        2. re: BrewNChow

                                          Bacon was an add-on in Los Angeles. Double cheese all the way had, beef, chili, cheese, onion, mustard, tomato and pickle.

                                          1. re: Burger Boy

                                            Damn. Jays was like a gourmet version of Tommy's if that makes any sense at all.

                                            And that lemonade.

                                            And no fries. Just bags of chips and slabs of fruit pies that past their expiration date at the commencement of the Nixon administration.

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              Kevin, The story goes that Jay worked for Tommy, one day he said to Tommy that he thought they could make the chili tastier and less greasy. Tommy said that he should go start his own place then. He had 3 locations, one on Vermont across from LACC, it burned down, Tommy was never convicted, just a Joke! The 2nd location was Santa Monica & Virgil. When Jay retired to play golf in San Diego he opened number 3, I guess he missed the action. I think the San Diego location lasted about 3 or 4 years.

                                            2. re: Burger Boy

                                              Interesting. At the San Diego one bacon was standard. Everything was standard. There was no "all the way." You want anything different you get a "(double)jayburger without..."

                                              Dammit I miss that place. I was in my teens when it closed and ten, fifteen years later I'm still pissed about it. I didn't know a damn thing when I was 14 and even I knew it was an all-time great burger. Can't even find a picture of it online.

                                        3. re: BrewNChow

                                          Love Big Jo's chili cheeseburgers......

                                            1. re: WildSwede

                                              It's on broadway & 20th st, Santa Monica. Small family run stand. You sit outside in what looks like a converted garage. Cash only, and they are only open to about 3 pm, I think. Closed Sundays.

                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                Awesome, thanks! Is the chili any good?

                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                    That works - that is how I like my chili! Thanks.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  Anybody tried the Philly cheesesteak at Big Jo's?

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      Thin, smashed, Steak'n'Shake style?

                                                      1. re: nosh

                                                        Yes they are thin. Don't think I'd describe them as smashed tho.

                                            2. re: BrewNChow

                                              I've never gone there.

                                              But I did love Jay's jayburgers for a triple chili cheese burger. On Virgil and Santa Monica. Sure do miss that fucking place.

                                              B and R burgers. Though the royal will set you back more than five bucks.

                                              Fred's down home burgers on slauson.

                                              Moms is good too.

                                              And shit, is the Hawkins location in Compton still open or is it Watts ? ( id hit up their pasadena location which is now closed but never made it to their south la original.

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                Hawkin's is Watts. Compton starts South of 105.

                                            3. Boulevard Burger in Woodland Hills for downright messy and delicious burgers cooked to order, including extra rare, They're on Ventura between Canoga and Topanga

                                              1. In my corner of town (NELA) Abby's Diner in Eagle Rock does a really solid burger for $3.45 ($3.75 with cheese) and a double burger for something in the neighborhood of $4.75.
                                                Fresh lettuce, tomato, onion etc., cooked the way you want it
                                                It reminds me a bit of the In N Out model, but Abby's is a full service restaurant, not fast food. Annddd, for the time being at least, on Wednesdays the burger is only $2.00. Can't beat that folks.

                                                1. Art's The Art of the Burger on Valley Blvd in El Monte. It is just like In n Out but when the owner, I forget his name, is on the grill, forget about it! That being said I do love the old In n Out!