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There’s Always Money to Be Made With Hamburgers

Plus a popular chef leaves for New York, and Scratch Bar expands to Santa Barbara

Cassell’s, Koreatown
Ryan Tanaka
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Believe in the power of the burger

There is enduring power in the hamburger, especially in Los Angeles. It’s simple comfort food for the masses, and provides a fat, rich, salty escape from the kind of salads and green shakes we’re supposed to be enjoying. This city is thick with burgers at every price point and in every corner, but it isn’t stopping newcomers from still trying to perfect the medium all over town.

Case in point: Burgerim, the Israeli-backed mini burger chain that shook off a failed first franchise location in West Hollywood to return in force. Now they’ve got a shiny new outlet at Melrose and Western, but apparently plan to dive deep into greater Los Angeles.

Beyond the first outlet there’s another in Montclair, and this ABC license points to a third heading for Colorado Street in Glendale. A look at the company’s locations page shows a lot more than that though, with possible openings in Azusa, Mar Vista, along Wilshire, and in Torrance, plus out of town stops in Victorville, Santa Maria, and Bakersfield, among others.

Look similarly at what’s happening with Shake Shack. After years of ignoring the larger Los Angeles market, the East Coast burger chain is now pushing in with force, opening three locations in one year and plotting even more. Each is fairly busy too, thanks to tons of brand recognition, a relatively low price point, and some favorable business details from the perspective of the operators. Burgerim operating as a counter service model that also serves high-margin alcohol is a smart move for high fixed cost Los Angeles, and one that will likely only be emulated more in the coming years.

So as more and more Middle Eastern sandwich-or-a-bowl places come to life (many of them working the döner kebab angle), let us not overlook the enduring burger. There will always be room for more beef and bun in Los Angeles. Despite our best vegan efforts, the cheeseburger is a backbone for this city.

Chef Fabian moves on

Looks like Petty Cash chef Fabian Gallardo is moving on from Los Angeles, landing a prime new gig in New York City. He’s mum on just where he’ll end up in the new year, but expect a new lead in the kitchen at Petty Cash come December.

Love & Salt is two years in

It’s been a full two years in the game for Love & Salt, one of the South Bay’s best restaurants. To celebrate this Friday, the company is trying to get to 20,000 Instagram followers. If they can do that everyone who dines in will get $2 bundt cake slices from pastry chef Rebecca Merhej. Sounds great.

Scratch Bar expands to Santa Barbara

Looks like the long-running Montecito Inn will get a new restaurant tenant, as a deal has been made to bring Phillip Frankland Lee’s Scratch Bar to the Central Coast property. The plan is to drop in a number of small concepts, likely, with Scratch Bar taking over 16 seats to perhaps run a tasting menu, while the rest of the 2,500 square foot space is sure to come under the tutelage of wife Margarita Kallas-Lee and chef Luke Reyes, though nothing is confirmed on that front yet, says Santa Barbara outlet Noozhawk.

The Miles Thompson revolution

The Argonaut talks all things Michael’s and Miles Thompson, tracking the restaurant from its home base a block north of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. From there the story unfolds as a tale of Michael’s over time, with the restaurant as the backdrop to many now-famous chefs. Thompson is the next in line, and he’s already doing some pretty great work.

The Recess Room gives back

Those folks with limited options for Thanksgiving are invited to dine-in at The Recess Room in Fountain Valley, where the restaurant will be giving away a free Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday. The free meal runs 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes a turkey porchetta situation, plus a ton of sides.

Pie time at Proof Bakery

You might still be able to get a few last minute pies from Roxana Jullapat if you call Proof Bakery like, right now. The long-running chef is popping up with some seasonal offerings for Thanksgiving that you can impress your family with, but beware: they tend to sell out.