Everson Royce Bar

LA’s 10 finest burgers for 10 bucks or less

By Joshua Lurie

LA is a burger town at heart, but with a fierce spirit of competition and a showbiz soul, the city’s restaurants have vied for the spotlight by bringing luxury ingredients like caviar, foie gras, and shaved black truffle to this simple favorite. Thankfully, you can also still find plenty of tantalizing, eminently satisfying burgers at a reasonable price—hold the culinary theatrics. Sure, that includes beloved chains like In-N-Out Burger and Shake Shack, but dig a little deeper and there are some stone classics, old and new, that you can count on to deliver your burger fix. Here are 10 of our favorites right now.

The Apple Pan
Ellen Baker and husband Alan haven’t been behind The Apple Pan’s U-shaped counter in years, but by entrusting the biz to daughter Martha Gamble and several long-time employees, they helped ensure that the motto “quality forever”—started in 1947—carries on. The Hickoryburger is their time-tested showstopper, involving a griddled burger patty slathered with smoky hickory sauce and piled with crunchy iceberg lettuce, mayo, and pickles. For a simpler option, check out the Steakburger.
Cost: $7.10 (Hickoryburger)
Neighborhood: Rancho Park

Christian Page and Hotel Normandie owner Jingbo Lou came together to revive Cassell’s (pictured above), a classic Koreatown burger spot, at the base of the hotel. A unique cross-broiler simultaneously sears burgers on both sides. For under $10, you can get a 1/3 pound burger with house-ground chuck and brisket, special sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle on a sturdy Parker House roll from La Brea Bakery. Add molten Cheddar or Swiss for an extra buck.
Cost: $8.99 (burger)
Neighborhood: Koreatown

Belcampo, a business that Anya Fernald and Todd Robinson cofounded in 2011, has a vertically integrated supply chain that delivers premium beef from the base of Mt. Shasta to three LA butcher shop/cafés, in Grand Central Market, Santa Monica, and Mid-City. They offer a substantial signature burger and a deluxe variation with 100-day, dry-aged beef, but their high-value “fast burger” is what keeps us coming back. A thin, grass-fed patty is hard-seared and served with molten American cheese, butter lettuce, tomato, onion, and “house sauce” on a soft burger bun that soaks up residual beef jus.
Cost: $6.50 (single Fast Burger)
Neighborhood: Santa Monica, Mid-City, Downtown (Grand Central Market)

Bill’s Burgers
Bill Elwell has kept watch over the same griddle since 1965, set amidst car repair shops in Van Nuys. Saddle up to the counter on a stool or grab a seat on the back patio and enjoy the ideal California-style burger with mayo, tomato, and lettuce on a griddled bun. Make it a double, add American cheese, crispy bacon strips, and grilled onions, and you’re still well under budget. Bonus: Each order comes with potato chips.
Cost: $3.50 (hamburger)
Neighborhood: Van Nuys

Everson Royce Bar
Silverlake Wine cofounder Randy Clement teamed up on Everson Royce Bar with former Campanile cohort Matt Molina, who earned a 2012 James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Pacific” with Mozza. This Arts District oasis has a beautiful back patio, plenty of adult beverages, and some excellent comfort food. Their textbook burger features a juicy Prime chuck patty, Tillamook Cheddar, and piquant aïoli on a toasted brioche bun. Burgers are classically crafted with beef, but for the same price, you can get a spicy Mexican-inspired pork chorizo burger with cabbage, lime, cilantro, red onion, and chipotle aïoli.
Cost: $10 (single burger)
Neighborhood: Arts District

Irv’s Burgers
Irv’s Burgers, a West Hollywood stalwart since 1950, relocated in 2014 and remains a go-to spot for simple, well-constructed burgers. Sonia Hong and her family have run the show since 2000 and continue to dish out burgers with tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion, and “secret sauce” on a soft, squishy bun. Embellish with toppings like egg, chili, or bacon if you’re feeling flush. Each burger comes on a paper plate with your name and a personalized doodle that remains an endearing part of Irv’s burger legacy.
Cost: $2.91 (hamburger)
Neighborhood: West Hollywood

The Oinkster
Chef Andre Guerrero debuted The Oinkster in an Eagle Rock A-frame in 2006; a sleeker Hollywood spinoff now serves a similar menu. Go classic, with a 1/3 pound hamburger that pairs a Nebraska Angus beef patty with Thousand Island dressing, dill pickles, onion, tomato, and lettuce, or mix it up with the pork adobo burger, which honors Guerrero’s Filipino heritage with a house-made pork adobo patty, garlic aïoli, pico de gallo, and pan de sal bun. Each year, The Oinkster features a seven-day Burger Week with limited edition items that plays on popular burger brands and gets wilder than normal with preparations. Guerrero’s sons Max and Fred also run retro burger windows under the Burgerlords banner in Chinatown and Highland Park.
Cost: $7.50 (classic 1/3 lb hamburger)
Neighborhood: Eagle Rock

Pie ‘N Burger
Aspiring Einsteins from CalTech and working-class hustlers all fill the windy counter at Pie ‘N Burger, a true Pasadena institution. Current owner Michael Osborn has worked for the restaurant since 1972, where the burgers all feature Thousand Island dressing, punchy pickles, and crispy iceberg lettuce on a soft bun. Bacon and Swiss are popular additions. So is, ahem, pie.
Cost: $8.05 (hamburger)
Neighborhood: Pasadena

Grill ‘em All
In downtown Alhambra, former food truckers Ryan Harkins and Matt Chernus have ensured that several Grill ‘em All “burgs” rock for $10. These creative, over-the-top, half-pound burgers riff on albums and acts from the heyday of heavy: The “Dee Snider” honors Twisted Sister’s frontman by piling a beef patty with peanut butter, strawberry jam, bacon, and Sriracha; the “Powerslave” pays tribute to the Iron Maiden album of the same name with Brie, grilled apple, balsamic aïoli, and greens; and the “Waste ‘Em All” packs a punch with pepper Jack cheese, green chile, and grilled onion. In all cases, they promise, “Death to false burgers!”
Cost: $10 (Dee Snider, Powerslave, or Waste ‘Em All)
Neighborhood: Alhambra

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