There are few things as American as apple pie. Aside from baseball, the fourth of July, and six degrees of Kevin Bacon, we do have one quintessentially American food group and it’s making quite a splash lately both here and abroad. Chefs are finally coming to realize its full potential and are pairing it with all kinds of accoutrements that put the old ketchup and mustard to shame. Yes, the hamburger is having a renaissance what with the debut of caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and arugula replacing raw tomatoes and iceberg lettuce, and all the various types of beef (wagyu, kobe) making their way between two buns. Nowhere has this surge of hamburger creativity become more of a mainstay than in Los Angeles. It was hard to choose only five, but here they are: LA’s five burgers with haute to spare.
8 Oz. Burger Bar
On Melrose, just east of Fairfax, 8 Oz Burger Bar has a menu chock full of items that would make Uncle Sam shed a little tear of joy – Mini Kobe Corndogs to start alongside some Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds. The star of the show is, of course, their list of burgers. You can go with their Suds and Slider Sampler, which includes three draft beers paired with three sliders or order the real thing. The 8 Oz burger harkens back to an original – iceberg lettuce, tomato, white onion, and 8 Oz special sauce, but there’s also the Estancia Grass Fed Beef Burger (for the fancier among us) which sees your iceberg lettuce and raises heirloom tomato ketchup, garlic aioli, charred escarole, and roasted mushrooms. Now, what do you have to say to that?
8 Oz Burger Bar is located at 7661 Melrose Ave in West Hollywood (323) 852-0008
If you’re hankering for burger, but taking someone for dinner who would not appreciate an In ‘N Out Burger, you’ll want to put 25 Degrees into your GPS. Located inside the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, this isn’t your average bar for burgers and beer. Its old Hollywood glamour doesn’t prepare you for just how serious they are about burgers – you can order their Number One (caramelized onions, gorgonzola, bacon, and thousand island), build your own (Midnight Moon cheese goes very well with arugula and roasted red peppers, by the way). If you must complicate your palate further, their Sweet Potato Fries and Tomato Soup are both delicious ways to get those vegetables in.
25 Degrees is located at 7000 Hollywood Blvd. inside the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood (323) 785-7244
With a classic, no-frills bar atmosphere, Father’s Office – with locations in both Santa Monica and Culver City – doesn’t have much in the way of food options, but their small menu is full of items cooked to perfection, not least of which is the Office Burger. With caramelized onions, Applewood Bacon Compote, Gruyere Cheese, and Arugula, our mouths are all starting to water. Paired with any one of their 36 rotating craft beers and the only thing you’ll be left wanting is to come back the next night. Make sure you snag a table as soon as someone starts making a move – both locations tend to get pretty packed.
Father’s Office is located in Santa Monica at: 1018 Montana Ave (310) 736-2224 and in Culver City at: 3229 Helms Avenue (310) 736-2224.
It calls itself LA’s first Gastropub. If so, it started quite the trend. Owned by George Abou-Daoud, whose name should ring a bell from recently opened and delicious Mercantile, it’s open seven days a week until 2am and serves a mean Bowery Burger. Start with the basic – Grilled Sirloin Burger on a Toasted English Muffin, add cheese of your choice (Gruyere, St. Andre Goats Cheese) followed by a Fried Egg perhaps, maybe some Avocado, Red Onion Confit, or Bacon for $1 per item added. Spring for a side of the ever necessary house-made Thousand Island and you’re in business. If you’re interested in washing it down with an appetizer, their Roasted Tomato Soup or Macaroni au Gratin should do the trick.
The Bowery is located at 6268 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood (323) 465-3400
If you get anxious when you have too many options, The Counter is not for you. Their menu is entirely up to you. You start by choosing your meat of choice (Beef, Chicken, Turkey) and whether or not you’d like a bun or a bowl (health nuts rejoice). From there, you’ll choose one of twelve cheese options and up to four toppings from a list of over twenty that includes Spicy Pepperoncinis, Grilled Pineapple, Black Olives, Fried Egg, and Grilled Onions and lastly you’ll top it all with sauce- Russian Dressing or maybe Tzatziki? If it’s all too much, they do actually have a list of Signature Burgers for inspiration. And at a place called The Counter, it’s practically sacrilegious to leave before sampling a Float from the Fountain.
The Counter is located at 2901 Ocean Park Blvd. in Santa Monica (310) 399-8393