Quantcast
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

Football, hamburgers, and Oreos

Americans are too busy thumbing tiny screens to be bothered with rolling pie dough

The Hills' burger
The Hills' burger

Much as football replaced baseball, I believe hamburgers long ago ousted hot dogs from the traditional trinity of Americana: baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. Apple pie has probably been replaced by Oreos. Lamentably, we Americans are too busy thumbing tiny screens to be bothered with rolling pie dough. Baseball, possibly the world’s most boring game, was in bad need of replacement. No sadness there. Hot dogs I still love. But much like soccer, which I also love, they aren’t really American. Sausages are European by nature. Big slabs of beef — though they be ground, formed into patties, and put on buns — are as American as football and Oreos.

Place

Funky Fries and Burgers

115 W. Washington Avenue, El Cajon

Funky Fries and Burgers

I’m told this tiny hamburger heaven — the ordering/eating area is about ten-by-ten feet and has only four metal stools — is going to open a second, larger location a couple of miles east at Jamacha Road. I begrudge nobody the fruits of their hard work, but I could almost wish it weren’t so. There’s something romantic about a place so small turning out burgers so good.

Funky Fries and Burgers

The $7 Funky OG nears the pure platonic form of hamburger. No improvements could be imagined. One tastes beef, good beef. Not salt. Not grease. The lettuce, red onion, pickle, and spongy bun enhance but do not overpower. They have a menu of specialty burgers, pork sandwiches, fries, and dogs, too.

Place

Charley’s Famous Hamburgers

8213 Broadway, Lemon Grove

Charley’s Famous Hamburgers

Charley’s is the soul that In-N-Out lost when it added McDonald’s-style dining rooms to what was a local chain of funky little drive-thru/walk-ups. It’s crazy to me that a line of cars often wraps around the In-N-Out at Massachusetts and Broadway when Charley’s lies a few blocks to the east. It’s fun to drive through this old-timey red-and-blue burger shack. You get a pre-dinner show watching the crew hustle in the tiny glassed-in kitchen hut. The burger comes in a sesame-seed bun bearing an inoffensive amount of thousand-island dressing. Fresh shredded lettuce and thinly sliced white onions add crunch and piquancy. A few pickle slices supply a touch of saltiness. The tight yellow paper wrapping makes one-handed burger management a snap. It’s drive-thru burger perfection for $3 ($3.35 if you want cheese).

Place

Anny’s Fine Burger

9862 Mission Gorge Road, Santee

Anny’s Fine Burgers

This joint sits at the eastern terminus of the Orange trolley line. The menu features 37 burgers from basic to non-beef to gimmicky. I tend to stick to the Classsic ($6). Why gild the lily of a perfectly cooked medium patty, thinly sliced purple onion, leafy lettuce, pickle, and tomato on a brioche bun? Instead of burdening my burger with pastrami, potato chips, and eggs — though buddies tell me that combo, called the Hangover ($8), is delicious — I like to pair it with a local brew from one of Anny’s taps and watch the East County sunset on the busy patio out front.

Place

Hills

8758 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa

The Hills

It’s kind of a pub, kind of a sports bar, but also an all-ages venue. There’s a well-stocked full bar, but better news for burger lovers are the 21 taps of local beer. I found the Karl Strauss Dos Californianos Mexican-style lager with agave and habanero complemented my Hills Burger well. At 10 bucks, 11 with cheese, it’s the eponymous pub’s entry-level number — a thick patty so soft and juicy that the condiments on the plank-and-steel table aren’t needed. Normally, I’m all for the basics, but here I prefer the Bouffant Burger ($12) — named for the hair salon next door — which is served on a croissant and topped with avocado, chipotle sauce, and a fried egg. Warning, the crunchy fries here cause addiction.

Burger from Halphen's Red Burgers
Place

Halphen’s Red Burgers

1550 East H Street, Chula Vista

Halphen’s Red Burgers

Across one street from a junior college (Southwestern) and another street from a high school (Bonita Vista) is a smart place to open a burger joint. Also smart, bucking the trend of gimmick burgers and offering five basic burgers at great prices: Classic cheeseburger ($6), Classic with bacon ($7), Giant Classic, Small cheeseburger ($3) and the strangely named Double Small cheeseburger($5). Their buttered brioche buns might be the best I’ve had in San Diego. The Classic Cheeseburger is a stomach stretcher (I can only imagine what the Giant looks like) and so good that at $6, it might be the best burger value in all of San Diego. You can pay thrice that for inferior burgers in more fashionable parts of town.

Jordan's Krazy Burger
Place

Jordan’s Krazy Burgers Hot Dogs & Shawarma

2959 Jamacha Road #20B, San Diego

Jordan’s Krazy Burgers Hot Dogs & Shawarma

I can’t speak for the hot dogs and shawarma, having had neither. But I could speak for hours about the burgers. Despite the burger-joint decor, these aren’t fast-food hamburgers. Be prepared to wait. But if anything were worth waiting for.... The basic Jordan’s Burger is $7, but this is a place where I like to get gimmicky, because they do it so well. Who knew lime and cilantro would work as well as they do on the Avocado burger ($9)? Cilantro also appears in the Mexican burger along with queso fresco and sauteed jalapeños($8.50). I love the grilled pineapple and the teriyaki aioli on the Hawaiian ($9).

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Polo G and Chief Keef, Hallo-Wine Fall Festival, Cinema Under the Stars: The Graduate

Events October 22-October 25, 2020
Next Article

Ben Wanicur brings DIY ethic to Robb Field

“It was great to be able to have some fun and have a communal type experience playing music in the sun.”
The Hills' burger
The Hills' burger

Much as football replaced baseball, I believe hamburgers long ago ousted hot dogs from the traditional trinity of Americana: baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie. Apple pie has probably been replaced by Oreos. Lamentably, we Americans are too busy thumbing tiny screens to be bothered with rolling pie dough. Baseball, possibly the world’s most boring game, was in bad need of replacement. No sadness there. Hot dogs I still love. But much like soccer, which I also love, they aren’t really American. Sausages are European by nature. Big slabs of beef — though they be ground, formed into patties, and put on buns — are as American as football and Oreos.

Place

Funky Fries and Burgers

115 W. Washington Avenue, El Cajon

Funky Fries and Burgers

I’m told this tiny hamburger heaven — the ordering/eating area is about ten-by-ten feet and has only four metal stools — is going to open a second, larger location a couple of miles east at Jamacha Road. I begrudge nobody the fruits of their hard work, but I could almost wish it weren’t so. There’s something romantic about a place so small turning out burgers so good.

Funky Fries and Burgers

The $7 Funky OG nears the pure platonic form of hamburger. No improvements could be imagined. One tastes beef, good beef. Not salt. Not grease. The lettuce, red onion, pickle, and spongy bun enhance but do not overpower. They have a menu of specialty burgers, pork sandwiches, fries, and dogs, too.

Place

Charley’s Famous Hamburgers

8213 Broadway, Lemon Grove

Charley’s Famous Hamburgers

Charley’s is the soul that In-N-Out lost when it added McDonald’s-style dining rooms to what was a local chain of funky little drive-thru/walk-ups. It’s crazy to me that a line of cars often wraps around the In-N-Out at Massachusetts and Broadway when Charley’s lies a few blocks to the east. It’s fun to drive through this old-timey red-and-blue burger shack. You get a pre-dinner show watching the crew hustle in the tiny glassed-in kitchen hut. The burger comes in a sesame-seed bun bearing an inoffensive amount of thousand-island dressing. Fresh shredded lettuce and thinly sliced white onions add crunch and piquancy. A few pickle slices supply a touch of saltiness. The tight yellow paper wrapping makes one-handed burger management a snap. It’s drive-thru burger perfection for $3 ($3.35 if you want cheese).

Place

Anny’s Fine Burger

9862 Mission Gorge Road, Santee

Anny’s Fine Burgers

This joint sits at the eastern terminus of the Orange trolley line. The menu features 37 burgers from basic to non-beef to gimmicky. I tend to stick to the Classsic ($6). Why gild the lily of a perfectly cooked medium patty, thinly sliced purple onion, leafy lettuce, pickle, and tomato on a brioche bun? Instead of burdening my burger with pastrami, potato chips, and eggs — though buddies tell me that combo, called the Hangover ($8), is delicious — I like to pair it with a local brew from one of Anny’s taps and watch the East County sunset on the busy patio out front.

Place

Hills

8758 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa

The Hills

It’s kind of a pub, kind of a sports bar, but also an all-ages venue. There’s a well-stocked full bar, but better news for burger lovers are the 21 taps of local beer. I found the Karl Strauss Dos Californianos Mexican-style lager with agave and habanero complemented my Hills Burger well. At 10 bucks, 11 with cheese, it’s the eponymous pub’s entry-level number — a thick patty so soft and juicy that the condiments on the plank-and-steel table aren’t needed. Normally, I’m all for the basics, but here I prefer the Bouffant Burger ($12) — named for the hair salon next door — which is served on a croissant and topped with avocado, chipotle sauce, and a fried egg. Warning, the crunchy fries here cause addiction.

Burger from Halphen's Red Burgers
Place

Halphen’s Red Burgers

1550 East H Street, Chula Vista

Halphen’s Red Burgers

Across one street from a junior college (Southwestern) and another street from a high school (Bonita Vista) is a smart place to open a burger joint. Also smart, bucking the trend of gimmick burgers and offering five basic burgers at great prices: Classic cheeseburger ($6), Classic with bacon ($7), Giant Classic, Small cheeseburger ($3) and the strangely named Double Small cheeseburger($5). Their buttered brioche buns might be the best I’ve had in San Diego. The Classic Cheeseburger is a stomach stretcher (I can only imagine what the Giant looks like) and so good that at $6, it might be the best burger value in all of San Diego. You can pay thrice that for inferior burgers in more fashionable parts of town.

Jordan's Krazy Burger
Place

Jordan’s Krazy Burgers Hot Dogs & Shawarma

2959 Jamacha Road #20B, San Diego

Jordan’s Krazy Burgers Hot Dogs & Shawarma

I can’t speak for the hot dogs and shawarma, having had neither. But I could speak for hours about the burgers. Despite the burger-joint decor, these aren’t fast-food hamburgers. Be prepared to wait. But if anything were worth waiting for.... The basic Jordan’s Burger is $7, but this is a place where I like to get gimmicky, because they do it so well. Who knew lime and cilantro would work as well as they do on the Avocado burger ($9)? Cilantro also appears in the Mexican burger along with queso fresco and sauteed jalapeños($8.50). I love the grilled pineapple and the teriyaki aioli on the Hawaiian ($9).

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jupiter Symphony – good to vacuum by

Coming up at Mainly Mozart
Next Article

Frank O’Hara: an immediate and exploratory American poet

Poetry should be “between two persons instead of two pages.”
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close