LA's Best Burgers
By Victoria Namkung
At LA’s gourmet burger bars, the humble hamburger is being elevated to new heights.
Vibe: This always-packed strip-mall space features retro shakes and friendly staffers, and the industrial décor harkens back to classic burger joints of the past. The vibrant artwork on the walls (part of a rotating collection) keeps the view interesting.
Burger boss: Founder/CEO Jeff Weinstein
Number of burgers: 300,000-plus combinations are available
Toppings include: Fried egg, Danish blue cheese, chili, ginger-soy glaze, dried cranberries, spicy pepperoncinis
Why we love it: You can build your own burger (beef, turkey, veggie or grilled chicken) from a massive list of ingredients. The same burger is rarely made twice in one day. And while the original Counter is in Santa Monica, there are nine other California locations as well as franchises throughout the world. 2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-399-8383; thecounterburger.com
Founded: 2000 in Santa Monica; 2008 in Culver City
Vibe: Beach boys and Westside gals keep the diminutive Santa Monica locale hopping, while the Culver City outpost boasts a 50-foot bar and spacious patio that attracts studio execs and scenesters alike.
Burger boss: Owner/chef Sang Yoon Number of burgers: One, the “Office” burger, served on a French roll
Toppings: Caramelized onion, bacon, arugula, Gruyére, Maytag blue cheese. There’s no ketchup on the premises, and there are no substitutions or changes allowed.
Why we love it: In addition to the Office burger, which has a cultlike following, there’s a seasonally rotating selection of 36 craft beers on tap, along with dishes inspired by the bar culture of Europe. 1018 Montana Ave., Santa Monica, 310-736-2224; 3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, 310-736-2224; fathersoffice.com
Vibe: Featuring black-and-chrome mirrored tile and rich, textured fuchsia wallpaper, 25 Degrees—located inside the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel—has a bit of a punk-rock feel (think tattooed servers and loud music). Burger bosses: Owners/chefs Tim and Liza Goodell
Number of burgers: Three signature burgers and countless build-your-own-burger combinations
Toppings include: Burrata, pesto, roasted red pepper, horseradish cream, portobello mushroom, green chili, avocado
Why we love it: The name 25 Degrees refers to the temperature difference between a medium-rare and well-done burger. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-785- 7244; 25degreesrestaurant.com