Ask someone to name his or her favorite burger restaurant and no matter what the answer, someone else will throw out the name of a place they like better.
Then there’s the debate over which is the preferred meet for a burger – Angus, Chuck, or Sirloin?
I tossed these two subjects at my co-hosts at atLarrys.com – the restaurant recommendation web site. The answers I got regarding the beef were all over the map. There was no clear winner. One person even said he preferred a combination of meats blended into a single burger. My personal preference is chuck that I grind myself at home so I can control the fat content.
When it came to favorite burger haunts, my atLarrys.com co-hosts were not shy. The list they compiled is by no means comprehensive. Nor is it geographically balanced. Nor does it pretend to be a list of the best burger joints in the state. It’s just a list of 23 places to get good burgers and start the conversation.
Rod Wright’s first choice is Cassell’s in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles as much for the history of the place as for the quality of the burger.
Larry Sheingold weighed in with a list of places from San Diego to the Bay Area and Sacramento. Remember, Larry likes the condiments as much as the burgers.
Then there’s Janice Lacy, who said, “To be bluntly honest, I never eat at burger joints. I can’t even name one. I rarely eat red meat, and when I do, I eat fillet mignon.”
Gotta love a woman like that. You can see biographies for Janice and her husband Jim and read about their restaurant recommendations at http://www.atLarrys.com
Here’s the list of burger spots the atLarrys.com co-hosts put together. After you’ve looked it over, click on comments below and add your own favorite burger spots to the list.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY
Hodad’s – 5010 Newport Ave., Ocean Beach, CA 92107 – (619) 224-4623 – Quintessential sloppy burger experience
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
25 Degrees – 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028 – (323) 785-7244 – You build it in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Barney’s Gourmet – 14006 Riverside Dr., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 – (818) 808-0680 – In the Fashion Square Mall; several other locations
The Bucket – 4541 Eagle Rock Bl., Los Angeles, CA 90041 – (323) 357 5654 – A hang out for Occidental College
Bun-N Burger – 1000 E. Main St., Alhambra, CA 91801 – (626) 281-6777 – 50’s style burger joint
Chronis – 5825 Whittier Bl., East Los Angeles, CA 90022 – (323) 728 7806 – An old cruising joint that goes back to the 1960’s
Cassell’s – 3266 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90020 – (213) 480-5000 – History on a bun
Gus BBQ – 808 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, CA 91030 – (626) 799-3251 – Chilean owners add their personal southern hemisphere touch
Mo’s – 4301 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505 – (818) 845-3009 – 24 varieties of burgers; formerly Paul Newman’s place – Hampton’s
Original Tommy’s – 2575 W. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA – (213) 389-9060 – A 24-hour L.A. institution
Pie’n Burger – 913 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106 – (626) 795-1123 – 1950’s style burger joint near Cal Tech
Umami Burger – 850 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA – (323) 931-3000 – Several locations; wide variety of burgers
Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant – 4320 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94112 – (415) 334-6699 – Choice beef chuck, consisting of rib eye and chuck steaks freshly ground at Joe’s.
900 Grayson – 900 Grayson St., Berkeley, CA 94710 – (510) 704-9900 – Good meat, good sauce, great bun
The Broiler Steakhouse – 1201 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814 – (916) 444-3444 – Perfectly prepared custom patty
Esquire Grill – 1213 K St., Sacramento, CA 95814 – (916) 448-8900 – Hand-made patties, cooked perfectly
Ettore’s Bakery – 2376 Fair Oaks Blvd. – Sacramento, CA 95825 – (916) 482-0708 – A bakery serving food, so the cheddar buns are unique and unmatched
Fanny Ann’s Saloon – 1023 2nd St., Sacramento, CA 95814 – (916) 441-0505 – Iconic Old Sacramento bar and restaurant
J’s Café – 1004 “J” St., Sacramento, CA 95814 – (916) 446-7456 – No frills, fast service near the Capitol
Jim-Denny’s – 816 12th St., Sacramento, CA 95814 – (916) 443-9655 – Old time burger joint
Roxy Restaurant – 2381 Fair Oaks Blvd. – Sacramento, CA 95825 – (916) 489-2000 – Colorado buffalo burger
Ten22 – 1022 Second St., Sacramento, CA 95814 – (916) 441-2211 – A mouth symphony in a brioche bun
Whitey’s Jolly Kone – 1300 Jefferson, W. Sacramento, CA- 95691 – (916) 371-3605 – Old-fashioned drive-in burger stand
I hadn’t thought about Cassell’s in a long time, but it was one of my favorites when I lived in LA. There used to be a place that I liked called Hampton’s Kitchen. Is it still around?
Although it is a chain, I try to get to Fatburger whenever I’m in town, and there is one now in Bellevue, a short drive from where I live in Seattle.
Any list of best burgers must include the Apple Pan on Pico in LA. I discovered it when I was at UCLA in the mid 60’s and we’ve been going there ever since.
Hampton’s on Highland in Hollywood is long gone. Paul Newman, the late actor, owned that one and the one in Toluca Lake. He sold them many years ago. The Toluca Lake location is now called Mo’s. Much of the old Hampton’s menu and quality remains. The burger menu has survived vitrually in tact. So have the curly fries and the great lemonade. I just had lunch there today. You can read my recommendation of Mo’s at http://www.atLarrys.com
The folks who manufacture cholesterol-lowering drugs weep with joy at this posting, but hey, a great burger today, tofu and broccoli tomorrow. One small natter about Cassell’s: what’s on the bun these days shouldn’t be shrugged off as mere “history”. It’s still pretty darn good. I believe today’s Korean owners continue to buy USDA Prime Colorado chuck, as Al Cassell did. Sure, Cassells is a part of L.A. History on a bun, but that same history includes Philippe’s, Cole’s, and Musso & Franks, among others, none of them geriatric in the taste and value department.
We have recently discovered Henry’s Hat on Ventura in North Hollywood. Great fries too.