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
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
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
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
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
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
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.