Tips from James Tipper on Finding the 5 Best Burgers in WeHo

Rounds Premium Burgers
Rounds Premium Burgers
Southern California is world-renowned for its burgers. After all, McDonald’s started here, and if you grew up in L.A. you might have spent your adolescence defacing In N’ Out bumper stickers to make them read, “In N’ Out urge”. Yes, there’s bovine in our bones; our arteries have been well-greased since we were knee-high to a French fry.

From the Apple Pan’s steak and hickory burgers, to the re-inventing of the wheel with the Office Burger at Father’s Office, to the return of simplicity at Golden State, to the upscale Umami revolution, L.A. certainly knows how to wield a spatula. But here at WEHOville, we are particular to our hometown favorites. So, grab a pile of napkins because it’s about to get juicy. Here is the countdown of WeHo’s top five burgers:

5. Hamburger Mary’s
(Santa Monica Boulevard at Sweetzer Ave.)

The burger: The Queen Mary
This gay-themed and LGBT-friendly chain started in San Francisco in 1972 and now has a dozen locations nationwide, but no longer operates from the City by the Bay. Instead, the offices are now in Chicago and…wait for it…WeHo.

Hamburger Mary’s motto is: “an open-air bar and grill for open-minded people.” And what better way to chow down on some beef than sitting at a high-top table on a Sunday with a Bloody Mary while drag queens lip-synch to disco on the restaurant’s stage?

Hamburger Mary's Burger
Hamburger Mary’s Burger
There are burgers stuffed with salsa and topped with jalapeños, sloppy burgers covered in chili and even one crowned with mac n’ cheese, but the Queen Mary gives you a classic combination: melted cheddar and Jack cheeses, grilled onions, bacon and Thousand Island dressing. The bun is sweet, reminiscent of Hawaiian bread, and set against the smoky carbon of the charbroiled patty, it beguiles the caveman within.

4. Rounds Premium Burgers
(Santa Monica Boulevard at San Vicente Blvd)
The burger: Build Your Own
What would a burger list be without a “build-your-own” entry? The BYO trend is pervasive, with the likes of Burger Lounge, Burgerim, The Counter and Rounds all vying for the burger artistes of “The Creative City”. So why does Rounds snag the spot over those others?

It was a tough call, but given that Rounds has probably saved you, Dear Reader, from starvation and a far meaner hangover one fuzzy night on the town due to its prime location in the heart of nightclub traffic, it is only fair to give it the deference it deserves.

Offering chicken, turkey, and veggie patties along with good ol’ fashioned beef to forever sate L.A’s mercurial tastes, founding brothers George and Charbel Ghaby pay special attention to quality and provide a fully customizable experience. In fact, they are one of the only fast food operations that actually ask “How do you want that cooked?”

Ordering “The Classic” (Thousand Island, lettuce, pickles, tomato and onion) may disappoint at Rounds as the obtrusive brioche bun is built for greater things. But if you bring your imagination, that potentially bready bun can support a wealth of dining choices like six kinds of cheese and nine varieties of sauces. And you can eat it all at a sidewalk table as you watch the gorgeous scenery stumble by.

Connie & Ted's Burger
Connie & Ted’s Burger
3. Connie and Ted’s
(Santa Monica Boulevard at Havenhurst Drive)
The burger: The Hook Cheeseburger
Like sunken treasure hidden deep in a menu reminiscent of a New England clam shack, where the bountiful raw bar and fresh fish garner most of the attention, lies an unassuming and perfect cheeseburger.

Sure, Michael Cimurusti’s C&T’s is still an annoying reservation to come by, and no one really wants to plan three weeks ahead for a burger, but the Hook Cheeseburger is surprisingly good if you ever find yourself graced with a table in the buzzy dining room and suddenly in a red meat kind of mood.

Presented on a square bun and with plenty of pickles and Thousand Island, the burger is swathed in the king of American cheddars from Hook Farms in Wisconsin: a 4-year-aged slice of sharp and gooey heaven that turns this rather simple offering into something special. Make it 100% Wisconsin by adding another Badger State fave, crispy Nueski’s applewood smoked bacon, and terrify your friends when your eyes roll back into your head.

2. Fatburger
(Santa Monica Boulevard at Gardner Street)
The burger: The Fatburger
Lest we take for granted the self-proclaimed “Last Great Hamburger Stand” at our doorstep…

It was called Mr. Fatburger when it first opened on Western Avenue in 1947. Now headquartered in Beverly Hills, there are locations in 14 countries, but Fatburger is still emblematic of Southern California.

Who can forget David Letterman taking a bewildered Zsa Zsa Gabor, post cop-slap, to have her first Fatburger at the now-closed La Cienega location? Fatburger’s beef seemed to be the only thing that could ease the East Coast/West Coast beef that plagued hip-hop in the ‘90’s. Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur both mentioned the burger stand independently in their music, as did the Beastie Boys who were always “fly at Fatburger when (they were) way out West.”

Simple, well-balanced, and as satisfying as a good fireworks display on the Fourth of July, this burger may not be the hippest sandwich in town, but it is legend and an American proverb in a bun. Every time I eat one afresh I make a mental note to eat them more often.

Five Guys Burger
Five Guys Burger
1. Five Guys
(Santa Monica Boulevard at Hancock Avenue)
The burger: The “All The Way” Cheeseburger
Five Guys has been a Washington, DC-area favorite since 1986 when Jerry and Janie Murrell offered sage advice to the four young Murrell brothers: “Start a business or go to college.” All of a sudden there was a new carry-out burger joint in Arlington, VA. So much for the halls of ivy.

So why is a Five Guys burger so good? I suppose if you are going to feed a bunch of Washington fat cats, you better know what you’re doing. The burgers here are exceptionally juicy and the “All The Way” cheeseburger comes standard with two patties and double cheese. Then they slather it with condiments and run it through the garden.

And as if you need more, there is a list of extra toppings to add to the avalanche, like A-1 steak sauce for that old school tang or jalapeños for extra “sabor.” However you like it, it’s a classic, double-fisted burger that allows no time for small talk. This meat apple demands your undivided attention.

Pair the burger with an order of Cajun fries that are so bountiful that they spill into the bottom of your paper sack in hot, crispy piles. The joint also has one of those cool Coke machines where you can design your drink and have it mix right into your cup. Although our outpost here in WeHo got off to a shaky start when it opened over a year ago, these guys have found their groove and are now flipping the best flippin’ burgers in town.

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Scott Kroger
Scott Kroger
6 years ago

Dad used to take onions from his garden to the Runza in town and ask them to make onion rings (I don’t know what he paid). I used to think he was crazy, but now I don’t.

Scott Kroger
Scott Kroger
6 years ago

What’s a grass fed burger?

kab1200
kab1200
6 years ago
Reply to  Scott Kroger

It is grass fed beef.

90069
90069
6 years ago

@kab1200, I have been to Hamburger Haven and it is a mess. The burgers are nothing to write home about and the ambiance is that of a backwoods County Fair. Five Guys is not “high-end” it may not be a $1.29 double cheeseburger but it is affordable and quick.

kab1200
kab1200
6 years ago
Reply to  90069

90069. I beg to differ with you, but we will have to agree to disagree. Five Guys is just an expensive rip off of IN and OUT. Hamburger Haven is exactly what it is supposed to be, a hole in the wall, and has been there forever, If they are so bad, how do they continue?

90069
90069
6 years ago

Hamburger Haven is not good. Buns are from Jons and skillet hasn’t been cleaned since the 80’s. Hamburger Mary’s is very hit or miss. I should check out Burger Lounge, they have nice decor from what I can tell on the outside. Rounds and Five Guys are very good “budget burgers” and Fatburger’s fatty meat is certainly tasty albeit heart clogging. Good list overall, now I’m starving….

kab1200
kab1200
6 years ago
Reply to  90069

Why are you commenting on places you do not go to? Hamburger Haven is really good, whether you think they are clean or not, They are old school. Five guys is hardly a budget burger place. Have you even been there? Sheesh!

kab1200
kab1200
6 years ago

Everyone has their own opinion. But I do think this list is way off. Burger Lounge on Sunset is amazing, and Hamburger Haven is really good, old school. Astro burger is great too! Some commenters on here have def not been to the places they have deemed seedy. Hole in the walls are quite often the best places. If there was an IN and Out in Weho, I would vote that over many of the others as well.

JohnKelly
JohnKelly
6 years ago

Burger Lounge on Sunset is my fave, taste is great, fries as well and great shakes, I vote it #1!

ST
ST
6 years ago

Astro Burger and Comme Ca have great burgers!

Fallopia Lopez
Fallopia Lopez
6 years ago

@James Short Order and Golden State are not even in West Hollywood, dude. You would put Hamburger Haven above Rounds or Five Guys? Really? That’s just blatenly ridiculous. BTW, Huff Post just voted Five Guys “best burger chain in the nation”. If I disagree with anything on this list I think it would be Hamburger Mary’s. That place is very hit or miss. .

James
6 years ago

This list is a joke. 1. Golden State 2. Hamburger Haven 3. Short Order 4. Hamburger Mary’s
5. Astro Burger

Tristan Schukraft For West Hollywood City Council

What about BurgerLounge on Sunset – great burgers!!

James
James
6 years ago

You missed Burger Lounge, the best place for fantastic grass-fed burgers that don’t cause cardiovascular disease, which corn-fed beef burgers do. And the onion rings are amazing!

Fallopia Lopez
Fallopia Lopez
6 years ago

I kind of agree that Rounds’ bun is a little too big for the meat and can get bready. I’m a Fatburger loyalist though when I can’t make it to In N’ Out). Five Guys is pretty damn good too. I agree they have the best fries. This is kind of like picking your favorite pizza. No one ever agrees.