Burger Kitchen co-owners, (father) Alan Saffron and (son) Daniel Saffron, have considered a restaurant for the last 10 years. Alan is in the film industry, and to prepare for this investment has moved his agency and staff from Beverly Hills to a space right across the street from The Burger Kitchen on West Third near Crescent Heights Blvd. But this isn't his first foray into the restaurant biz. "I'm from Australia, where I had a steakhouse for many years, and originally wanted to do a steakhouse here too. About a year ago, we decided to go for a high-end burger concept instead," says Alan. He made his rounds, trying the famous Father's Office burger, juicy Umami burgers, 8oz creations and everything up, down and in-between. Then he drew up the plans with son Danny. "We're doing 22 burgers, that's the number, 22."
And are they. There's a standards section, with Chef Marc Sims' Burger Delicious - heirloom tomato, caramelized onion, pickles and a chipotle ketchup, The Skinny Burger - wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, Hawaiian Surfer Dude - grilled pineapple and orange teriyaki sauce, and even Cutie Burgers - their take on sliders, with three different sauces, mild, medium and hot.
Their Burgers Around the World section features The Eiffel Tower with blue cheese, lemon fennel, and mustard grain sauce. The Godfather has arugula, mozzarella, lemon and spicy tomato sauce. The Moroccan Bazaar is a lamb patty dressed with chopped cilantro, garlic and mint yogurt. There's a lighter burger section too, with Turkey and Veggie patties making an appearance. All burgers are priced from $9 to $14, a la carte. Sides, hand-cut, twice cooked fries, beer battered onion rings and cole slaw, are available for an extra $3 to $4. There are some other things on offer, a Lobster Roll, Dry Aged Steak (you can take the man out of the steakhouse, but you can't take the steak out of the man), and $50 Died and Gone to Heaven Burger (full of such lux ingredients, they said, "if we told you what was in it, we'd have to kill you").
Besides the gimmicky names, what sets this place apart from other contenders is its beer focus. A bar has been installed, along with comfy booths, in the old Surya space. 20 craft beers are available, 10 on tap, 10 by the bottle. "If you want an Amstel Light, we're going to point you to something like a Hitachino Pale Ale," says son Danny Saffron, "We want people to try new things here, especially in this neighborhood where craft beers are hard to get." Duly noted. And about those beer steins lined up on the bar? "We're getting them from everywhere, around the world, online, from fans, neighbors, friends. We're going to collect 100 of them by October and serve beer in them for Octoberfest." Sounds pretty special. Worth mentioning too is their dessert focus. Pastry Chef Rene Park has a glass-fronted pastry case adjacent to the bar and he plans to fill it with all manners of tarts, cakes and truffles. Truffles at a burger joint? Why not? With almost 80 seats inside and, if the permit goes through, another 20 outside on the patio, this burger joint aims to have something for everyone. The Saffrons open their first Burger Kitchen this Saturday. If all goes well, they plan to open four more throughout the SoCal area. Opening for lunch and dinner from 11AM until 11PM, daily.
And you heard it here first. Mention Eater LA during Burger Kitchen's first seven days of business (from Saturday through next Friday) and get 50% off your burger as long as you fill out a quick questionnaire. Burger Kitchen wants to feed you, and wants your feedback. Think you know burgers? This is your chance to be the critic.