Most people probably regard burgers as a food item that is satisfying, fast and simple. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers alike are frequently a no-brainer for dining on the run and eating cheaply. As in the case of many fast food menu items, however, there are burgers, and then there are burgers. With this list, Irvine Weekly proudly presents a cross-section of the cherished specialty and gourmet burgers that can be enjoyed without leaving the city. With contributions by Scott Feinblatt and Tara Finley.
A great choice for a lunch burger, S’wich’s burgers are definitely on the gourmet side. Check this out: Their “loaded” burger features house glazed bacon, bleu cheese, caramelized onions, wild arugula, house dressing (aka “wink wink” house Thousand Island), and it is served on a potato bun. For the non-carnivore, their veggie burger is a “Sonoma-style” patty with quinoa, legumes, goat cheese and cranberry with pesto, tomato, spring mix and red onions. 16277 Laguna Canyon Road, Unit B, Irvine.
The Burnt Truck
You guessed it: This is a food truck. Their menu is not that extensive, but about 9,000 people keep track of them on Twitter — most likely because of their Angus beef sliders, which are served in a couple of styles: cheeseburger and Mini Mac. Both options of their little-in-size-but-big-in-taste burgers include American cheese and grilled onions; the former is served with an avocado spread and the latter features homemade Thousand Island, shredded lettuce and pickle. They both go great with an order of the fried mozzarella, which is served with basil aioli and tomato jam.
Their menu is the result of the founders’ simple ethos of wanting “to deliver simple burgers without all the gimmicks and overly complicated toppings,” and the culinary acumen of world-class chef Andrés Dangond, as stated on their website. We recommend the Savory Cut, which includes bacon relish, swiss cheese, aioli and “3,000 Island.” Or, if that’s “overly complicated,” the Original Cut, with American cheese, pickles and Cut sauce should do you just fine. 3831 Alton Parkway, Irvine.
While some people swear by Burnt Crumbs’ unique menu items such as the spaghetti grilled cheese (you heard me right, Pilgrim: spaghetti grilled cheese sandwich), that’s not what we’re about in this issue. So, let’s talk about the Biggie Mac. This mammoth specimen of an Angus burger is comprised of two beef patties, American cheese, Mac sauce, diced onions, house pickles and lettuce. Although Burnt Crumbs does offer hand-cut fries, we recommend a side of the hand-cut chips, which are served with sour cream and onion dip. 8549 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine.
The excellent and friendly service at The Stand is just as renowned as their food, and the variety of burgers on their menu run the gamut from the bare-bones essential of the Stand Burger (grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Stand sauce) to the Big Blue (bleu cheese, grilled onions, bacon, roasted tomato, arugula and barbeque sauce). Vegetarians that can stand the sight of other people eating meat will probably find delight in the Veggie Goddess (veggie patty, gruyère cheese, red onion, tomato, avocado, arugula and Green Goddess dressing). 5633 Alton Parkway, Bldg. 200, Irvine.
Although this chain originated in Baldwin Park, their corporate headquarters is in Irvine, so, you know, we’ve gotta own that. While we don’t believe that a description of their menu is required, we’ll give a shout-out to a few of their secret menu items. Naturally, a burger ordered protein style (no bun) will get you through your bout with an Atkins diet; the 3×3 takes the double-double and adds one more patty and slice of cheese; and then there’s the most well-known secret menu item, the animal style burger (pickles, grilled onions, extra dressing and mustard cooked onto the patty). University Center, 4115 Campus Drive, Irvine
Ground House Burger
Easily the most Instagrammable burger around, Ground House Burger’s famed Magical Burger is truly a sight to behold. We’re not sure where to look first, the psychedelic rainbow bun, the splattering of sprinkles, the ooey-gooey sauce waterfalling down the sides — it’s almost too incredible to eat. Almost. Prefer something a little less intimidating? Their Crispie Burger is an O.C. favorite, true to its name with a crisp texture and delicious taste that is melt-in-your-mouth yummy. Don’t miss the Fry Roulette — a smorgasbord of fried sides with every sauce you can imagine. 2222 Michelson Drive, Irvine.