While many burger enthusiasts wait patiently for Shake Shack to finally open its doors in the cluster of new fast-casual dining spots called Apollo Landing on Rosecrans, the New York-based chain is facing some stiff competition—and not just from In-N-Out.
The South Bay is home to a bounty of delicious home-grown burgers. Here are six of our favorite burger places in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach:
Love & Salt
Though most of the menu at this downtown Manhattan Beach charmer leans Italian, Chef Michael Fiorelli’s signature "Downlow" burger can be found on the brunch menu, and is available "by request" most nights. Gourmet without being snobby, the cult favorite that chef brought over from his previous outpost, Mar'sel, is built from a black Angus blend of chuck and short rib, topped with Fontina cheese, caramelized onions, house pickles and tomato garlic aioli.
Love & Salt, 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach LoveandSaltLA.com
The Standing Room
Both the original bar counter in Redondo Beach and the newer sit down restaurant in Hermosa Beach serve the same list of amazing, juicy grass fed, half-pound beef burgers with addictive sauces made in-house. A standout is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink assemblage they call the "Napoleon" cheeseburger: bacon, caramelized onion, smoked Gouda, cheddar, arugula and a fried egg topped with braised short rib, truffle fries, tomato jam and Korean aioli.
The Standing Room, 144 N Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach or 1320 Hermosa Ave. Hermosa Beach TheStandingRoomRestaurant.com
The infamous Simmzy burger originated in 2010 and is now served in all Simmzy locations plus Lil' Simmzy's in El Segundo and Tin Roof Bistro in Manhattan Beach. Last year they sold their 100,000th, and I'm pretty sure my husband ate a meaningful percentage. The Simmzy formula takes an 8-ounce house ground Angus patty, grilled over an oak flame, nestled in a Breadbar brioche bun, and topped with a yummy chow-chow made from smoked and caramelized onions and their own secret sauce.
Simmzy's, 229 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach Simmzys.com
Wednesday nights are legendary at downtown Manhattan Beach's Ercoles for their two-for-one burger deal, when they can go through up to ninety pounds of beef. The meat, by the way, comes straight from Manhattan Meats right next door. If it were any fresher it would moo. Martine Anguiano has been operating the grill here for years, and he knows his business. Each patty gets a nice char and a pink center. Get there early and bring cash because this historic establishment doesn't take cards.
Ercoles, 1101 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach Mainstreethub.com/ercoles
At The Point in El Segundo, Hopdoddy is a hip, newish chain that originated in Austin, Texas with a concept built on sustainability and freshness. The beef is ground daily from hormone and antibiotic-free cattle. The sweetish, pillowy buns are baked in-house. The sauces are made from scratch, and they have lots of fancy toppings such as brie cheese and seared poblano peppers. They also offer a standout turkey burger and better than average lamb, chicken, tuna and veggie burgers.
Hopdoddy, 830 S. Sepulveda Blvd., El Segundo Hopdoddy.com
This gastropub in Hermosa Beach uses a combination of house-ground brisket, chuck and short rib in their burger patties, grilling them over a fire stoked with oak and applewood. The hickory burger is the standout here, topped with bacon and an onion compote made with smoked onion and mustard seed. That gives it a deep, smoky tang; it's then finished with a housemade hickory sauce, smoked cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and complimented by a potato flour bun.
Laurel Tavern, 1220 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach LaurelTavern.com/hermosa-beach