Burger Heaven in WeHo

Passing the Shake Shack on Santa Monica reminds me how burgers have grown fancier and more expensive since I moved to WeHo 50 years ago. Still, we have plenty of options in the city and in the surrounding area so you don’t have to drive far to indulge your burger craving.

I found my personal burger heaven just a few months after moving to West Hollywood when Astro Burger opened on Santa Monica. The earliest version of this eatery was take-out only. I remember standing in line behind Peter Fonda, who I had a huge crush on after seeing “Easy Rider.” Astro Burger was pretty busy from the start and later added a room for sit-down dining. My favorite splurge from Astro Burger is the patty melt on rye with grilled onions and a side of fried onion rings. By the time I get this feast home, there’s always a greasy print at the bottom of the bag, a sure sign that something delicious but not especially healthy waits within.

I discovered Fatburger in the mid-seventies when I had PR clients that were totally hooked on the place, especially late nights after a show. The burgers were suitably fat and sloppy but were never really my favorite. About the same time, I was introduced to a restaurant on Highland called Hampton’s which was a favorite of the music business crowd. The main attraction of Hampton’s was that they cooked every burger to order and offered a large selection of condiments. Alas, Hamptons closed many years ago.

While some burger chains make a varied and frequently changing menu part of their appeal, one of SoCal’s most successful has thrived on simplicity. For decades, the In-and-Out burger locations have all had the same handful of items with no “new” specials or seasonal offerings. Obviously, this formula has worked for the chain since it keeps expanding. For years, there was no In-and-Out in the WeHo area so I had to indulge my cravings when I was in the Valley, but we finally got a location nearby, a few blocks outside the city limits on Sunset Blvd. next door to Hollywood High. As though this intersection wasn’t congested enough, In-and-Out has cars lined up bumper-to-bumper just about any time. I lived around the corner from this burger joint for a couple of years and made regular visits until moving back to central WeHo. Just avoid the place when classes get out at Hollywood Hgh.

This brings me to the most beloved and iconic of our city’s burger emporiums – Irv’s Burgers. Immortalized in a David Lee Roth song and on the inner fold-out of Linda Ronstadt album cover, Irv’s stood near the corner of Santa Monica and Sweetzer until encroaching “progress” forced owner Sonia and her family out of the compact property. I live close enough to the old Irv’s to have gotten delivery so I especially miss their yummy burgers served in bags that Sonia decorated personally for each customer. Irv’s, you are loved and missed.

No burger aficionado will mention McDonald’s as the most outstanding example of the dish but the gargantuan chain remains a guilty pleasure, the place to go after a night out when you want fast and easy – or everything else is closed. The hazardous drive-through at Crescent Heights and Sunset was a popular stop after a night on the Strip and will be missed when it falls to the wrecking ball, which could happen any day now.

Aside from hard-core vegans and health nuts, who doesn’t love a good burger every now and then? Unfortunately, getting your burger fix in WeHo costs a lot more than it used to.

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Bill G Skywatcher
Bill G Skywatcher
1 month ago

This article is old, but I find the editorial decision to praise In-and-Out in a news site catering to the citizens of West Hollywood a bit insensitive and tone deaf. That company worked tirelessly to deny the LGBTQ+ community their right to exist for years, and only scaled back their donating to anti-gay organizations when the tide of public opinion turned.

Cy Husain
1 month ago

Some of the best burgers by far are an option for “hard-core vegans and health nuts,” the impossible burger with diaya vegan cheese is available here in the Great City of West Hollywood. Beaches WeHo makes one of the largest and best vegan impossible burger available, considering their excellent high quality buns that really add to the burger’s overall taste. The taste of the impossible burger is nearly indistinguishable from real beef do to its leghemoglobin (legume hemoglobin) content, carrying heme that gives meat its flavor.

wehoBeaches.jpg
Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
1 month ago

never liked Astro Burger or Fatburger. I found them dry and/or too much bun. In-N-Out Burger the worst. Went twice to the one in the valley and it was so dry that I practically choked and that goes for the friend I was with too. We hated it but tried it once more to make sure and never again.if I go to McDonald’s I like to get the McDouble cuz it’s cheap and it’s nice and moist and delicious. and of course, nothing beats a Double Whopper with extra lettuce, no pickle no ketchup. That is absolute Heaven/perfection. Wendy’s is… Read more »

Cory
Cory
1 month ago

After all these years, Astro Burger is still the best burger, IMO.

Brent
Brent
1 month ago

Maybe I missed it but I am surprised nobody posted this about Irv’s. Used to live across the street from it and donated money to their move down the street. I will happily walk to the new location when it opens next year. How we love that family and were so sorry when Sonia’s brother Sean passed away suddenly

https://la.eater.com/2021/5/28/22449053/irvs-burgers-west-hollywood-reopening-closed-sonia-hong-news-coming

Malibu Boy 🌴
Malibu Boy 🌴
1 month ago
Reply to  Brent

Brent, thank you, my friend. Irvs is reopening wow! every time I drive into weho I will make a stop there.

Todd
Todd
1 month ago

How did this article miss the newly-opened Hollywood Burger next to Trunks? The burgers are fantastic – better than any of the above-listed places (IMO, of course). It’s their second store (first one on Hollywood Blvd, I think). People should give it a try. Their chicken sandwich is also great and I hate to admit I tried the Slaw Dog hotdog and liked that to. No, I have no vested interest in this or any other restaurant or fast food business.

More Burgers
More Burgers
1 month ago

While many folks in West Hollywood claim to have Filet Mignon and gourmet taste buds, we have a proliferation of burger and fast food options. Why is that?

Cory
Cory
1 month ago
Reply to  More Burgers

I think it’s because many people actually do not have sophisticated palettes. There are lots of ranch dressing lovers out there.

Randy
Randy
1 month ago

Let’s not forget about the shuttered Hamburger Hamlet and the one that was across from the Abbey. I personally prefer Astro Burger, still.

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

Burger Haven

Steve Too
Steve Too
1 month ago
Reply to  Randy

The place on the corner of SMB & Robertson was not a Hamburger Hamlet, which was a higher quality table service restaurant on Sunset.

:dpb
:dpb
1 month ago

I too love my burgers and the patty melt at Astro Burger is in my top 5. My newest obsession is Hollywood Burger at Santa Monica Blvd. between Larrabee and Palm. This joint is AWESOME. The Classic is beyond and every meal is made fresh to order. I hope it can stick around.

Curtis
Curtis
1 month ago
Reply to  :dpb

I have not tried it yet……I will check it out soon

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
1 month ago

In and Out owners are very religious and have donated to orgs. which try to limit the rights of Gay people. They even have bible passages on the bottom of their beverage cups. Once again, the whole story has not been told.

Grateful
Grateful
1 month ago

Are you ever grateful for anything? Please try to focus on the most positive aspects of life, be the best example and share your joy.

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  Grateful

In-N-Out Burger has fully supported and financed antivaxx extremists and anti-LGBTQ+ politics, even has pushed it’s religious/political agenda with references to Bible quotes printed on the wrappers and, following the same business model as the cult chain Chick-fil-A

Last edited 1 month ago by Cy Husain
Art
Art
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Thanks for that educational link. In-and-Out no more!

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

Cy your red font is childish.

Stevie
Stevie
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

I sorta like it, since In-n-Out’s colors are red and yellow. He’s promoting this great Southern California company without knowing it.

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

More like the Red & Black colors of ANTIFA ❗ ✊🏽

The Real DoucheBag
The Real DoucheBag
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

you’re an idiot, stevie. grow up

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

That is the color of the hyperlinks in the WEHOville and, NOT of my choosing. What’s childish is making your statements without a credible source link to back it❗

Last edited 1 month ago by Cy Husain
The Real DoucheBag
The Real DoucheBag
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

I won’t eat at In & Out. No business is gonna push their religious beliefs on me. I get that from my church.

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
1 month ago
Reply to  Grateful

Sorry Grateful, Eric Jon Schmidt has an excellent point. In-and-Out should be called out. Out if you’re not Christian, LGBTQ and is Antivaxx extremists as Cy Husain points out. “In,” if your if you don’t care we financially support Antivaxx causes, we send lots of money if you are anti LGBTQ. “In” if your a bigot or ignorant to who of IN-and-Out Burger’s values (?) They keep good company with Chick-fil-A, Carl’s Jr’s… Grateful, be the best example???

Grateful
Grateful
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

A person choosing to fight all these issues simultaneously is not likely to be successful. From a simple statement you have deduced that I might be either ignorant or a bigot. Please try to produce a cogent comment and not a continued stream of intolerance. Lastly, I never eat at fast food restaurants and can easily find an alternative anywhere.

Jimmy Palmieri
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

i never eat at in and out. i dont need religion mixed with my burgers.

Bill G Skywatcher
Bill G Skywatcher
1 month ago
Reply to  Grateful

When you have people denying your very right to exist, it’s really hard to look for sparkling unicorns.

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago

What’s wrong with bible passages? You could use a little religion.

C.R.
C.R.
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Religion is for hucksters and losers.

Stevie
Stevie
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

Yet Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are devote Catholics. Yea two hucksters and losers for sure. LOL

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

Notice how they don’t base their policies on catholicism?

Stevie
Stevie
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Yep true liberal hypocrisy at it’s best. Only for a certain topic when it suits their political agenda. Just like a slimy snake, they slither from being pro one topic one day to the complete opposite the next.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

Separating of church and state is a beautiful thing. If only the MAGA Qanon cult understood this.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Notice how both Biden and Pelosi recognize theirs is only one of many faiths that enjoy First Amendment recognition. And that they insist on the rule of law. And that church and state are not coterminous.

The Real DoucheBag
The Real DoucheBag
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

Trump worshipper

Art
Art
1 month ago
Reply to  C.R.

True!

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Well NO THANK YOU and, he is an extremely well adjusted human being without anyone else’s religion or their interpretation of it❗

Art
Art
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Many of us eschew superstition, which is what all religion is.

WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Art

Who’s us? Why does religion trigger you?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Art

Yup. Bunch of fairy tales.

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoFan

If your a “Christian,” nothing. Those that are not (majority) don’t need bible passages on the bottom of a fast food cup. Be confident and content on your faith as I am on mine and I don’t recommend “passages.” Just enjoy your favorite burger.

Stevie
Stevie
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

So they shouldn’t put a bible verse on the bottom of their cup? I wonder how many find the same reasoning to scream when you’re flaunting gay or lesbian causes with the rainbow flag or Human Rights Campaign logo flying all over your car or house.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

Maybe you should move to Indiana with Kat Von D.

Rudi Logan
Rudi Logan
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie

My house is not a burger joint and my wrappers usually say “Trojan”.

Yikes
Yikes
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Dolan

Yikes, words of a truly conflicted and intolerant individual.

Eobin
Eobin
1 month ago

U R absolutely right. The owner-family are all right wing religious fanatics & contribute to the Republicans – including the likes of Donald Trump
Restaurants open to the public should not be proselytizing. It’s not their job

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 month ago

I’ve never driven past one that wasn’t crazy busy. They’ll survive without your business.

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

They will have to survive without mine as well❗

Michael Dolan
Michael Dolan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cy Husain

and mine!

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

So will the dive bars. But then again, you don’t even live here.

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