Last week, we were all about the fries. This time around, it’s a burger society. Build all the poke joints you want; burgers are gonna stand the test of time.
Braizen Sexy Sandwiches – Santa Ana
These days, sandwich shops are getting on the bandwagon and adding meat-and-bun creations to their menus. Served with Kettle Chips (or upgrade to fries for a couple of bucks), the beauts here include tasty toppings such as shoyu mayo, pimento cheese and tahini yogurt sauce. Folks who are cutting down on bread are welcome to sub in greens or fries. 31 E. MacArthur Crescent, Ste. 102, (657) 900-2040; www.braizensandwiches.com.
So. Many. Options. Photo courtesy of Burgerim
Burgerim – Aliso Viejo (and soon Orange)
Completely customize your cravings at this growing chain. LTO (lettuce, tomato, onion) are standard and rest on the bottom bun. All your other choices are piled above the 2.8-ounce patty of your liking. With upward of five beef options, we do appreciate the alternative proteins: falafel, salmon, turkey, etc. Over on the toppings side, we’re going with a triple threat of bacon, avocado and fried egg—although the grilled onions and blue cheese are making us want to get a trio of bites. 26741 Aliso Creek Rd., Ste. E, (949) 600-8555; www.burgerim.com.
Graze: Handcrafted Burgers – Downtown Santa Ana
A new wave of Instagram-worthy meals has reached food halls. Don’t be fooled by Graze’s seemingly simple menu—there’s flavor packed into each patty thanks to a blend of brisket, chuck and short rib. Saucy moods are welcome, as proved by the Smokey and its bourbon barbecue sauce. Tequila aioli finishes an Agave Burger. And don’t forget those black garlic fries! 201 E. Fourth St., (949) 735-2389; www.grazehandcraftedburgers.com.
Ground House – Irvine
Replacing Pig Pen Delicacy at Irvine’s TRADE, Ground House found the hall’s underserved niche. Serving up a handful of options, including the Pinoy Burger, which we wrote about in March. If you love Texas toast, then dive into the Lone Star, with its beer-battered onion rings and jalapeños. Grab extra napkins . . . things may get messy. 2222 Michelson Dr.; www.tradefoodhall.com.
The Parkway American Grill – Rancho Santa Margarita
South County gets some love with a full-service grill spot—the only one on our list! Steak fries accompany all handcrafted, half-pound burger orders. Try a bacon-y Black and Blue, or get your fix with the Californian, stacked with mushrooms and avocado. Daring diners should bite into an El Diablo. 22411 Antonio Pkwy., (949) 713-9984.
Honorable Mention: Sessions West Coast Deli – Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine
Now on its third location in the Woodbridge community of Irvine, Sessions takes a break from the beach to establish roots closer to its upbringing. With more than a dozen sandwiches on the menu, it recently added a savory mix of apps and burgers. Chow on the Perfect Burger, featuring pepper jack cheese and X special sauce. Round it out with a side of Shaka Spuds. www.sessionswcd.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.