In the burger world, there are three schools. First, you’ve got the high-sodium, cheap fast food fare: McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., and so on. Though low on the culinary totem pole, they have their place. Some days, you just want to go to a drive thru and call it a night.
Next, you’ve got the respected institutions that know how to put out a fast but quality burger: In N’ Out, Five Guys, etc. It’s hard to find haters when it comes to these well-regarded establishments, though you’ll definitely come across rivalries between the two.
Finally, you have the burgers with double digit prices, the so-called “gourmet” burgers you can find at gastropubs and fancy restaurants all over the county. These high class creations may burn your cash, but some of them are truly out of this world. In this best-of list, we’re sticking with the classiest of burgers that meet this coveted position in the world of gourmands.
In any art, hard work and dedication show through in the final product. Jason Quinn, head of Playground, understands this perfectly. Every day, he takes whole cuts of carefully selected quality beef, cuts them by hand, and grinds the bits multiple times to produce some of the juiciest and most flavorful patties you can find in Orange County. Don’t ask for well-done pieces of shoe leather at this Santa Ana establishment. The kitchen goes by a medium-rare-only rule. Good guys.
Based in Old Towne Orange, Haven Gastropub was one of the first gastropubs to open in Orange County. The ingredients on their signature burger include peppers roasted to perfection, fresh arugula, and a hearty patty of expertly cooked medium-rare beef. Haven also has an extensive selection of well-curated beers. Pair a glass of quality lager with your burger, and you’ll find a haven of your own.
Burger Parlor started up as a pop-up burger joint in the Rialto Café in Fullerton. Locals took to the amazing menu so quickly that Head Chef and Owner Joseph Mahon had no choice but to start a full-fledged restaurant of his own. Today, Mahon continues putting out beautiful and original burger creations that are meant to be savored slowly, not scarfed down.
What’s your favorite gourmet burger in Orange County? Let us know by posting on the McFarlin LLP Facebook page.