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OC "burger grills" - which are the best?

khoiberg | Nov 23, 200905:26 PM

Orange County is chock full of what I will call independent "burger grill" restaurants. (The Chowhound experts out there may have a more accurate term for them.) They are hard to define accurately but here are some leading indicators:

--These are order-at-the-counter restaurants usually leading with their hamburger and fries combo. They have large grill areas, small eat-in areas and usually a few booths.

--Their menu is generally quite large and often combines all the burger permutations, sandwiches, egg-based breakfasts along with a secondary menu of items drawn from the American-ized menu of the owners' ethnicity - most commonly gyros, teriyaki chicken, burritos - that kind of stuff.

--They are located in a variety of retail formats - usually older buildings but also, most interestingly, in small retail shops located in industrial areas.

--Many are called by single male names: TJ's, Ed's, Ted's, Bob's.

These aren't unique to Orange County. Los Angeles has a lot of them too. Having grown up in Southern CA, there is an appealing subjective feeling to many of them but, most of the time, the food is very average.

Anyway, is there any intel out there on unique or outstanding Orance County incarnations of this genre? Does anyone have a philosophical or sociological explanation of them?

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