Ghetto Burger Marathon

On a day when Hollywood was glamming it up on the Red Carpet at the Kodak Theater, the gf and me joined Food Marathon for lunch (and dinner) on the opposite end of the spectrum of Hollywood glam. On the menu, Ghetto Burgers from Compton, Watts, Inglewood and Leimert Park. What we found were some of the biggest burgers in town and friendly people, all with the same thing in common, the love of a good burger. All the burgers are ranked by level of ghetto and overall flavor on a scale of one to six, one being the best.


Our first stop of the day was Mom’s Burger in Compton. But like all good mothers, this mom took Sunday off. So we stopped at the closest burger joint that came up on Yelp, and it was aptly named, Marathon Burger. The run down burger shack with bullet holes in the windows was ghetto worthy. This first burger, a chili cheese burger, is pretty standard. Canned chili, flat pressed patties, and shredded lettuce. GHETTO RANK: #6

<em>Where else would you start a Ghetto Burger Marathon</em>

Where else would you start a Ghetto Burger Marathon

<em>The Marathon burger set the bar pretty low for the day.</em>

The Marathon burger set the bar pretty low for the day.

Our second destination of the day was in Watts. Hawkins House of Burgers wins the award for the most ghetto of all the days burger joints. Located across the street from some bonfied “projects”, in an old run down mini mart building. They are famous for their massive Hawkins Burger. A multi layer burger filled with two fried eggs, bacon, chili cheese, pastrami, four 8 oz burger patties, spicy sausage, and all the fixings.

But we have a long marathon ahead of us, so we order the standard King Burger with cheese, chili, and bacon. Don’t get me wrong, this 8oz hand crafted burger is massive too. The ground beef patty is fresh, charred perfectly, just the right amount of chili (with a slight kick) and cheese. GHETTO RANK: 1

<em>We actually witnessed a drug deal go down while sitting on the patio.</em>

We actually witnessed a drug deal go down while sitting on the patio.

<em>A perfect balance of egg, bacon, chili, burger and bun.</em>

A perfect balance of egg, bacon, chili, burger and bun.

Our third stop, and midway point, is a burger joint featured on Alton Brown’s Food Network Show Feasting on Asphalt. B & R’s Old Fashioned Burgers located in Hawthorne is in a slightly more commercial neighborhood, located in a small strip mall. Similar to Hawkins, they too have a massive specialty burger. This one is called the Monster Royal Burger, stacked with two 8oz patties, egg, cheese, bacon and chili. We quickly find out that all these places have the exact same menu, with the same burger names. King, Double King, Royal, and Grandma, each with 8oz patties, all configured the same.

So to stay consistent, we get the King Burger. A 8oz patty, with chili, egg and bacon. You can feel the love in this burger, fresh hand pattied burger, home made chili, and thick bacon. The chili was a little bland compared to Hawkins, and needed a little more tomato sauce and spice. But the meat was nice and peppery, and salted perfectly. GHETTO RANK: 2

<em>Alton Brown was here.</em>

Alton Brown was here.

<em>King burger piled high with fresh ingredients.</em>

King burger piled high with fresh ingredients.

Our fourth stop takes us into the Hyde Park neighborhood of Inglewood. The Fresh and Meaty Burger workers are encased behind bullet proof plastic, increasing it’s ghetto fabulousness. We order, you guessed it, the King Burger with chili and cheese. The presentation of the burger was discouraging, and after our two previous stops, wasn’t up to par. Salty, generic canned chili, and meat that was falling apart as you bit into the burger. GHETTO RANK: 4

<em>Bullet proof glass and a green awning at Fresh and Meaty</em>

Bullet proof glass and a green awning at Fresh and Meaty

<em>Our flattened burger, with processed cheese, blah</em>

Our flattened burger, with processed cheese, blah

For our fifth stop of the day we hit up Fred’s Downhome Burger. Fred’s is pretty much just a square concrete building, on a parking lot serving burgers. Nowhere to sit, so we get this one to go and eat it at our next stop while we wait for yet another burger. At this point I can begin to feel my body say to me, “hey, no more burgers”. But we power through it. The King Burger here, eaten alone on any other day, would be a tasty burger. Big, slightly on the dry size, with American cheese and large thick pieces of bacon. GHETTO RANK: 3

<em>If you're wondering, EBT is like an ATM card for food stamps.</em>

If you're wondering, EBT is like an ATM card for food stamps.

<em>My vision is beginning to blur, but that's another King Burger I think.</em>

My vision is beginning to blur, but that's another King Burger I think.

The final stop of the day is located just down south of me on Western, let’s call it Ghetto Adjacent. Master Burger, a small neighborhood chain, not only has burgers but pastrami, burritos, friend chicken, and whole lot more. The location on Western is noisy and buzzing with people picking up their called in to-go orders. Their King Burger is well formed, but dry and very salty, the bun stale and cold. This being our last stop, we can’t bring ourselves to finish it. GHETTO RANK: 5

<em>Don't adjust your monitor, they like neon colors at Master Burger.</em>

Don't adjust your monitor, they like neon colors at Master Burger.

<em>Overly salted and dry, too bad, look at that massive meat patty!</em>

Overly salted and dry, too bad, look at that massive meat patty!

3000 calories or so and 4 hours later we have survived our burger marathon deep into the heart of South LA. And I don’t think I will be craving a burger for at least a few days.

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Author:Matt Mitchell

A lover of everything LA has to offer, Matt created Dig Lounge to tell his friends about all the fun things to do in the city. Matt has worked in the dot com world since 1996, including some of the top online entertainment companies and digital marketing firms. He currently works as a Digital Producer.

19 Responses to “Ghetto Burger Marathon”

  1. February 23, 2009 at 10:29 am #

    how fresh was Fresh and Meaty???

  2. February 23, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    I’m impressed and inspired. Six burger in Six ghettos and you didn’t even have to pulled you gat. Great post.

  3. mollypark
    February 23, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    ghetto rank #1 is looking super sketchy *_* im surprised you came out of this day alive + w/o having coronary in the streets!!

  4. Matt Mitchell
    February 23, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    Not as Fresh and Meaty as the name implies, but it’s all good in the hood.

  5. February 23, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    haha man that’s awesome. i’m craving a burger now.

  6. February 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm #

    Wow, I think my arteries virtually hardened just reading this post, but man, some of those burgers look like they would be worth it. :) That photo of the King Burger from B&R looks awesome!

  7. Steve Livigni
    February 23, 2009 at 12:55 pm #

    Dude, awesome post. Some of that stuff is disturbing!

  8. February 24, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    Ghetto burgers are all the rage now. Pretty soon Hawkin’s will be like McDonald’s on every corner.

    By the way, I think 3000 calories is wishful thinking. I hope you felt alright the next day.

  9. Matt Mitchell
    February 24, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    I actually felt good the next day. All is operating as normal! Thanks for the comment.

  10. Vanessa
    March 3, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    Now if this isn’t disturbing…It’s interesting how you can have a complete disregard for a neighborhood and use it as some sort of exhibit in a Museum or as if you were on a tour for some sort of African safari. Keep strictly to your food criticism, and leave your dry, uninformed, and sarcastic humor off the page. Perhaps, it would also serve you to make use of your spell check more often.

  11. Matt Mitchell
    March 3, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    Thanks for the comment Vanessa. Did you read the article or just react to it? I actually talk about how nice everyone was, trying to dispel the belief that those areas of town are really that dangerous. But you’re probably right, I’m just a bigot.

  12. MIke
    March 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    Nice trip but I sense a racist tone to your article. Next time just review the food instead of trying to sound like an ASS.

  13. Greg
    March 27, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    You Crazy

  14. Keisha
    April 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm #

    How did you miss 3 Bears on 120th and Figueroa??!?!?

  15. chimltrufia
    April 20, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    Or Bertha’s on Century/Western. No need to take a bite of that burger to clog your arteries.

  16. Valeigh
    January 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    I assume you’ve done the Eagle Rocks, Bucket Burger? Not too far from the ghetto and definitely a mighty delish cardiac on a platter. In fact, one of their tastiest burgers is “The Cardiac”….w/ ham, bacon, mushrooms and cheese.

    Dig it!

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