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Burgers and beer, then and now

La Jolla Tap and The Shack

Bonair Burger, with carrots instead of fries
Bonair Burger, with carrots instead of fries
Place

La Jolla Tap & Grill

6830 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego

It’s easy to talk about a restaurant’s food. Almost too easy. Sometimes there are better stories to be told if you go a little deeper.

In the mid-‘90s, all we wanted was cold Tecate, cheap burgers, and maybe a pool table or two. Wrap that dream in tiki surf, and you’ve got The Shack Bar & Grill, named after the eponymous surf shack at Windansea.

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La Jolla Tap & Grill

Fast forward a couple decades, and look at the demands of the beer-guzzling, burger-grinding consumer now. The La Jolla Tap & Grill replaced conceptually excellent (but apparently doomed) Greek restaurant Barleyanfigs sometime last summer. The replacement concept of burgers, beers, and sports on TV is virtually identical to the neighboring Shack, but the devil is in the details.

Instead of grimy surf, it’s all dolled up in This & That–style tavern chic, with lots of carefully exposed brick and plenty of Edison bulbs. $7 to $8 microbrew flows from some 30 tap handles, the better to slake a 2016-era thirst.

Coconut shrimp with tangy slaw

Burgers remain burgers, but the Tap & Grill’s rest between tender brioche buns, and the kitchen will attempt to cook them to temp if so requested. The Bonair burger takes its name from the nearby street, not the municipality of the Dutch West Indies. It has bacon, cheese, and grilled onions. The ‘90s isn’t all that far away, however. Tap & Grill also serves coconut shrimp.

You could not ask for a better vision of the past and the present within a few blocks from each other. Burgers and beer have not changed all that much, but their packaging has certainly evolved.

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Bonair Burger, with carrots instead of fries
Bonair Burger, with carrots instead of fries
Place

La Jolla Tap & Grill

6830 La Jolla Boulevard, San Diego

It’s easy to talk about a restaurant’s food. Almost too easy. Sometimes there are better stories to be told if you go a little deeper.

In the mid-‘90s, all we wanted was cold Tecate, cheap burgers, and maybe a pool table or two. Wrap that dream in tiki surf, and you’ve got The Shack Bar & Grill, named after the eponymous surf shack at Windansea.

Sponsored
Sponsored
La Jolla Tap & Grill

Fast forward a couple decades, and look at the demands of the beer-guzzling, burger-grinding consumer now. The La Jolla Tap & Grill replaced conceptually excellent (but apparently doomed) Greek restaurant Barleyanfigs sometime last summer. The replacement concept of burgers, beers, and sports on TV is virtually identical to the neighboring Shack, but the devil is in the details.

Instead of grimy surf, it’s all dolled up in This & That–style tavern chic, with lots of carefully exposed brick and plenty of Edison bulbs. $7 to $8 microbrew flows from some 30 tap handles, the better to slake a 2016-era thirst.

Coconut shrimp with tangy slaw

Burgers remain burgers, but the Tap & Grill’s rest between tender brioche buns, and the kitchen will attempt to cook them to temp if so requested. The Bonair burger takes its name from the nearby street, not the municipality of the Dutch West Indies. It has bacon, cheese, and grilled onions. The ‘90s isn’t all that far away, however. Tap & Grill also serves coconut shrimp.

You could not ask for a better vision of the past and the present within a few blocks from each other. Burgers and beer have not changed all that much, but their packaging has certainly evolved.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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