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Apr 25, 2013 09:42 PM

The famous Jalama Burger (near Lompoc)

Finally made the lovely spring drive out to gorgeous Jalama Beach State Park, south of Lompoc off Highway One for their famous cafe burger. Daunting to see at first the $10 charge per car entry into the state campgrounds, but tell the guard you just want to visit the cafe and you get a "burger pass".

You need to take this pass to the cafe and get it validated at the store where you pay for your burger that you are indeed dining there, and then go back and stick it in your car window. This allows you one hour and you are warned don't get carried away and go hiking or spend any extra time on the beautiful beach.

Is the burger worth the effort and the long windy 14 mile drive off Highway One? Sure, it is a good hamburger classic. Nothing special about it other than it is just a good burger - crisp shredded lettuce, grilled sesame bun that actually holds up pretty well until the end, tomato and onion slice and their "secret" sauce with a pickle slice in the middle.

Definitely a 6 napkin burger and they only give you two, but they are large and good quality so use one to mop up while you are eating and then the other one to mop up after. I am sure they would offer more if you need them. it is a nice sized, juicy, sloppy burger.

Surprising array of other camp gear, food and snack items at the little store, so you are well fixed if you make this drive and want to create your own picnic with any other additions -- just keep it under an hour and you are safe with your limited use pass.

$6.75 for the basic burger with a fairly credible slice of melted cheddar cheese. Lovely views from a snug dining area with full windows out to the sea. Or outside picnic tables.

Last week had the Far Western Tavern burger in its new digs in Orcutt - that was one fabulous burger for $16, with fries. So the Jalama burger had some competition for flavor and quality, with this memory still in mind. But the whole Jalama experience is priceless, so it is a food trip well worth making.

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  1. I thought you were a hiker & was sad you didn't spend more time there & do hiking or whatever. I live in Northern Calif so don't know this park, found out it's a County Park!


    1. Thank you for correcting this is a Santa Barbara county park, and not a state park. Hiking in this area does look enticing and make the burger at the end of the trail even more welcome. If one stays to hike, it will require the $10 entrance fee and not just the one hour free "burger pass".

      2 Replies
      1. re: glbtrtr

        I found on their website of the cafe a pic of the Jalama Burger, wow! Only $5.95? A good bargain it seems & that "burger pass" is funny!

        Pic here:

        Menu linked, I can't make it larger: Breakfast, Lunch, Early Dinner:

        1. re: hhc

          Good find. Cheese on the burger was extra, and then throw in a drink which you get out of the refrigerator cases - Hansen's mango nectar for me. They have a surprising array at that little store, including quite a range of wines. I found the Jalama store quite fascinating to see what was packed into that small of a space. One could almost just show up on a whim to the campground and buy everything you would need for a long stay, including warm clothes, sleeping bag, all your cooking gear, toothbrush, sun cream and almost any ingredient you would want both fresh and processed to deliver culinary treats, fishing gear and even a ukelele.

      2. Glad you made it out- and enjoyed your afternoon! There really is no hiking at the County Park- no trails...though of course you can go North on the beach and south as well, though one must be careful not to cross onto VAFB - they don't take kindly to it. The Cojo Ranch to the south will also protest your entering their property. We have had wonderful afternoons of a nice drive, a good burger and a wonderful walk- keep atop the tides is a good idea- as a minus low tide is THE BEST time to visit Jalama!