We wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy National Hamburger Day! Cheese it up because you deserve it, or keep things simple with lettuce and tomato—either way, you're good. We rounded up some of the county's busiest spots for you to decide what's for dinner. But hurry and make up your mind— we're starving just writing this up.
Bruxie Burger From Bruxie
Our only bun with some personality, this local chain done good captures the qualities of a delicious burger and makes it better. It's easier to grip the Bold Fold than squeeze a top and bottom bun together (only to have contents spill out the sides). Kudos to Bruxie for being innovative and not waffling around. www.bruxie.com.
The Husky from Burger Lounge
Too much of a good thing? That's not what the kitchen behind Burger Lounge's Husky was thinking. Capturing double the meat and cheese, that 1000 Island sauce makes it reminiscent of another double trouble meal. But the American grass-fed beef sets it apart from many of their competitors. www.burgerlounge.com.
Frito Chili Cheese Burger from Burger Parlor
Clocking in as one hot mess is the culmination of a number of our favorite things. There's a savory addiction to Chili Cheese Fritos, a hankering for some house chili and saucy cheese (We can't give up our cheese. Sorry, not sorry) to properly bind things together. Oh, and jalapenos for some bite. It's messy and unapologetic— and we can relate. www.burgerparlor.com.
The Original Cut Burger from The Cut
We spy with our little eye a brick-and-mortar in its final stages off Alton in Irvine. Pair that with The Cut's luxe lonchera, and they are on their way to becoming a chain reaction. We are in full agreement with Cleo Tobbi (whatever happened to her?) when she gives her praises to the team: www.the-cut.com.
“The Original Cut is deceptive: just a patty, a shameless slathering of melted American cheese and the signature “cut splash” sauce. The beefy patty itself— ground fresh every day using 100 percent Angus chuck from humane, antibiotic-free cows— comes hand-packed. While the cheese and sauce do their part to make this hefty burger shine, the true heroes are the kosher dill pickles and the potato bun. The latter is delicately fluffy, yet dense enough to keep the burger intact and is similar to a Hawaiian roll minus the sweetness: a perfect accent to the juicy beef.”
Primetime from Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Caramelized onions, creamy brie and peppery arugula on Akaushi beef make for one decadent meal. We're hit with a variety of textures and flavors between a fresh baked bun. And that Akaushi is some of the finest we've chowed on. This is a burger you savor while taking advantage of Hopdoddy's full bar. www.hopdoddy.com.
The Karma Burger from Mick's Karma Bar
Okay, not quite a chain. But when you trademark the “Karma Burger” and open a very similar concept in Silver Lake, we say you're almost there. Part mad scientist, part philosophical restaurateur, Michael Schepers treats the Karma burger with utmost respect. While we admittedly order ours with bacon, the best parts in this equation are beef and sauce. Maybe it has something to do with the meat being freshly ground. Others may find the Sambal-flavored condiment to be the most integral. All the layers of flavor make for one satisfying bite. www.mickskarmabar.com.
Bun Taco From Naugles
Where else but in Orange County can a Mexi chain rise up from the ashes and be relaunched in Fountain Valley. And what better individual to describe one of their iconic menu items than our Mexican-in-Chief: www.nauglestacos.com.
“In a county where great hamburgers exist everywhere, why bother with a ground beef burger that looks like a cafeteria special? Remember your Luke 15:32, kids: for Naugles was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found. It's a good, hearty steamed ham that deserves the hundreds of posts that will come Ziebarth's way. And ain't it appropriate his name is Christian?”
French Onion Soup Burger From The Stand
When is a burger a soup, or even a dip? When it's on the specials menu at The Stand! We get if it's a tough concept to wrap your head around; it took a few minutes for us to process. So there's a double Parmesan-crusted bun encasing not only beef, but Gruyere, red wine braised onions and crisp onion strings. Then you dunk the whole thing into a side of onion soup. Seriously, is that even a burger anymore? We hope so, because damn, it was divine. Exactly what we needed when it gets cold outside. www.thestandlink.com.
Big Bargain Combo at TK Burgers
Someone asked if we were gonna include TK in our lineup. So we had dinner there that night to remind us of how satisfying their burgers were. They've got the formula down, from the personable service to the hand-written signs reminding diners it's cash only. Such a simple meal done right is a perfect example of how you don't need to be a corporate giant to serve high-quality eats. We polished that off like it was going out of style. www.tkburgers.com.
Cameron's Dallas BBQ Burger From Umami Burger
Available since last week, Umami plans to donate a dollar from each Cameron's Dallas BBQ Burger sold to Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Their double beef patty is joined by sharp cheddar, tempura serrano peppers, bbq sauce and miso-maple bacon. If you can handle your heat, this is the one for you. And if you're social media savvy, an option for free truffle fries is available with this special through the end of January. www.umamiburger.com.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.