“Forget what Jimmy Buffet says, the best cheeseburgers aren’t found in paradise; they’re found on the mean streets,” says losangelicioustimes. Products of tough neighborhoods where money is often tight but stomachs aren’t, hood burgers are a unique category unto themselves. losangelicioustimes even offers us a definition: “Hood Burger [hood bur-ger]-noun 1. A large hamburger consisting of multiple thick beef patties as well as the addition of highly caloric toppings, including but not limited to: cheese, bacon, pastrami, egg, hot links, and chili.”

losangelicioustimes’ favorite seems to be Mom’s Burgers, considered by many to be the finest hood burger, and the finest burger, period. “Compared to the heft of many other hood burgers, the creations served at Mom’s are noticeably restrained. That’s not to say the burgers are petite, but they certainly are less likely to induce labored breathing and heavy belt loosening. Take, for example, the popular ‘Chronic Cheese Burger’, a solitary patty topped with creamy yellow cheese, a hard-cooked fried egg, and several curly tendrils of crispy bacon. The burger patties, slightly thinner than the hood standard, are seasoned with a nice balance of salt and pepper and cooked just well enough to preserve a tender, not too juicy, interior. When bacon, egg, and cheese are added, along with the requisite roughage, the final product nails the ideal burger proportions.” The result is, except for a few pockets of heavy mustard and mayo, a superb balance of flavor and texture. “It’s worth nothing that despite its location within the notorious Compton neighborhood, Mom’s is probably the least threatening burger joint on the list, occupying a pale blue shack nestled in the quaint sprawl of the South Bay. Regulars here elbow up to the outdoor counter encircling the kitchen and savor their burgers slowly; Mom recommends you do the same.”

Another local icon is Hawkins House of Burgers. “Though some die-hards (who prefer size over taste) order the $16 Hawkins Special: a three-patty, egg, pastrami, bacon, sausage, and chili topped monstrosity that measures at least a foot tall, most opt for the staff favorite Whipper Burger,” explains losangelicioustimes. The Whipper is a double stack of beef patties with American cheese, shaved pastrami, and a butterflied hot link. “The pastrami is peppery and tender, while the sausage link snaps and bursts with spicy juice, making for excellent companions to an already superb burger. Topped with mustard, onions, dill pickle chips, and sweet relish the Whipper tastes like the hulking love child of all things greasy spoon.”

For the messiest burger, try the Royal Burger at Fred’s Downhome Burgers. This gives you two thick beef patties, crispy bacon, a fried egg, chili, and thick-cut pastrami. “The result is a hearty burger that despite its overwhelming appearance is surprisingly harmonious. Eating it with your bare hands may be ill-advised, but you’ll probably try it anyways.”

Mom’s Burgers [South LA]
336 W. Alondra Boulevard, Compton

Hawkins House of Burgers [South LA]
11603 Slater Street, Los Angeles

Fred’s Downhome Burgers [South LA]
2524 W. Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles

Discuss: Hood Burger Round-Up: 5 of LA’s Best, Straight Outta LA

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