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Top Five Cheeseburgers for Less Than $5--and Our Top Five Cheeseburgers for More Than $5

InNOutBurger.jpg
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
In-N-Out: A god among burgers, but OC's best?
Let's get this out of the way quick: I'm no food critic. ​
I'm just another blue red-blooded American who loves him some bloody beef and flavorful cheese on a big, toasted bun. If there's a beer and a ball game (anything but baseball, please), that makes the experience all the more merrier. 

I won't discuss consistency or any of the particulars where foodies make their critiquing claims. But I like me some cheeseburgers. I do regularly devour meals in the following three food groups: burritos, breakfast burritos and burgers (the other two may come in another post). Which is why I got the delightful task of tracking down the best of what OC had to offer on a bun--for less than $5 and more than $5.

The only rule: Each burger I tried had to be some variation of or as close to a cheeseburger as possible, based on what said burger joint/restaurant/stand had to offer. After many miles driven to the furthest burger outposts in our county (damn, OC is much bigger than I thought!), many a burger consumed and several TUMS later, we have the breakdown for what my belly most recommends, depending on your budget.


LESS THAN $5
TK Burgers
tk-burgers-550-gustavo-arellano.jpg
Gustavo Arellano/OC Weekly
$4.29: Long considered In-N-Out's OC burger nemesis, TK is the pride of OC's burger-eating masses. Many a man has tried to second-guess its finger-licking goodness; most have been proven wrong. TK has all the key components to present a simple yet delicious cheeseburger. No flashy claims or tough-to-say ingredients. Just meat, cheese, a bun and the veggies. And like everyone in the burger biz, there's a "secret sauce" (is any secret sauce all that secret, or anything more than a variation of Thousand Island?). Though we're just talking burgers, the "Big Bargain Combo" is absolutely the way to go. TK's fries are a big part of the sell--thick and crunchy, and you're never cheated on quantity. I recommend asking for an extra cup of sauce and adding a shot of ketchup. Extra perk: There's always a nice-looking lady working the counter--that's part of the TK Burgers business plan.
2119 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach, (949) 673-3438. 2966 Bristol St., Costa Mesa,  (714) 662-2572. 615 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-2858.


EZ Take Out
EZ-TAKE-OUT-550.jpg
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
$3.15: Aesthetically, the closest thing to In-N-Out without being In-N-Out, from the layout of the drive-through restaurant to "Double-Take" vs. "Double-Double" to "Wild Thing" vs. "Animal-Style", along with the general burger presentation. It looks like and tastes like a burger worth considering from time to time, but like any copycat, it's not nearly as good as the original.
310 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-5951.


A's Burgers
As_Burgers-550.jpg
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
$3.89: The best reason to try A's is for the breakfast burritos or the fried zucchini. With that said, the burger isn't a terrible third option. It's a good amount of meat, and there is usually plenty of cheese overflowing onto the paper wrapper. If you're in need of a quick burger fix and In-N-Out isn't in the vicinity, A's is a suitable second choice. One tip: Pace yourself if you get the fried zucchini to go along with the burger; sodium overload is sure to follow.
Various locations.


793954_bacon_1.jpg
So due to technical difficulties, we don't have an image of this one. But hey look, BACON!
Apollo Burgers
Bacon cheeseburger, $4.35: Apollo is one of those places that has been in the neighborhood for ages and goes about its business without much acclaim, but with enough local knowledge to keep it afloat. The charbroiled bacon cheeseburger is the pride and joy. Get some chili for tipping or topping, and you're got yourself one hell of a meal and a great way to carb-load.
12012 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove, (714) 971-0825.


In-N-Out
Thumbnail image for innoutburgers_and_fries.JPG
Edwin Goei/OC Weekly
Cheeseburger, $2.65: Surely, the king, right? From a publicity standpoint, certainly. It's the California burger that even New Yorkers know about. Stacked against the legends of OC Burgers, it would probably fit somewhere into the top three, especially considering the price. But OC Burgerdom is about more than the white-and-red burger empire. That said, if I was told my last meal would consist of all the meat and cheese and "secret sauce" In-N-Out packs into the Double-Double, I wouldn't join the gods any less disappointed.
Various locations; visit www.in-n-out.com for a complete list.

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34 comments
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Cmerit
Cmerit

Are you kidding me, EZ take out has recently begun freezing their patties. They are horrible now. Heartbreakingly horrible.

Oclivin
Oclivin

Fat Burger??? HeLLOOOO, you can get the Smal or Med under $5

Gun_will_travel
Gun_will_travel

Good call on Fatburger as best bargain cheeseburger! I would also throw in Fuddrucker's on the premium burger side, and Bob's Big Boy as the burger that takes me back to childhood with every bite.

libertylaw
libertylaw

have to consider the surf and turf burger at the long bar- and Marie Callendars are always tasty.

libertylaw
libertylaw

sorry not the long bar- the yardhouse

The guest that wouldn't leave
The guest that wouldn't leave

Wow. Where is the Habit burger? Their moderately priced burger dominates over most of the over priced burgers the writer ate with his expense card. Meh, It's probably for the best... Habit should not be on the same list as that awful looking TK Burger.http://img251.imageshack.us/im...

Did Taco Bell make the list for best mex food also?

The Burger Judge
The Burger Judge

In-N-Out? Are you kidding me? They are just one step above McDonalds. You should be embarrassed just to mention them. If you want a REAL burger, come to Coeurdalene, Idaho. Try Hudsons on Sherman st. Been there 107 years. That’s a REAL burger. In-N-Out, what a joke. What are you, 15?

Mr Salty
Mr Salty

A friend offered to buy me lunch at The Riders Club yesterday, two burgers & two beers with tip came to $35! It was good but it wasn't THAT good.I'll stick with In n Out.

Mhelectric
Mhelectric

a place in bellflower called fronks makes a damm good burger

Rex
Rex

If you are looking for a good burger check out Rex Hunglers Hamburger Hunt

DanGarion
DanGarion

Get rid of the autoplaying music it's annoying...

DanGarion
DanGarion

I call foul on Apollo's Burgers, they used to be one of the kings, and although they are still ok, they aren't at all as good as they used to be. The owners that bought the place about 5-6 years ago aren't flipping as great of burgers as the previous owners did...

Hoovs42
Hoovs42

Peter's Gourmade in Santa Ana is money well spent my freind...

Jeff Overley
Jeff Overley

The 50/50 bacon/beef burger sounds like obscene gut-busting heaven, but is in fact quite abysmal, owing to the fact that Slater's serves it well done. That said, the all-beef PB&J burger at Slater's is brilliant.

The Late Ixo
The Late Ixo

Start by announcing you don't know what you're doing. Segue smoothly into inanities ("blue-blooded American" -- if you're rich, keep it to yourself!) and the latest boring clichés ("who loves him some bloody beef," "I like me some cheeseburgers," etc.), then sprinkle with old-fashioned stilted writing ("said burger"). Top it off by missing some of the most popular or, at least, controversial places in the county for hamburgers -- the Haven, DG, Morton's, .... -- and you've got a perfect OC Weekly throwaway. I want me my said money back.

JackNuna
JackNuna

Dude it was a political dig, calm yourself. OC Weekly = any chance to promote liberal propaganda!

Chasen_Marshall
Chasen_Marshall

Also, a Freudian typo on my part: blue-blooded, not red. Though I may want to be elbow deep in Benjamins, I'm a journalist, and therefore, far from rich.

Justknox
Justknox

3 places you must try: Santora's, Mission Viejo(best wings on the planet, go extra hot), The Alley, NB, Cassidy's, NB.

Chasen_Marshall
Chasen_Marshall

You seem a bit too revved up over a casual blog post about burgers. Not corruption, not crime, but burgers. Calm yourself. But thanks for the traffic.

digkv
digkv

Well Dave called Haven's burger one of the top 100 dishes of orange county. Maybe the author just isn't trying to repeat anything. Personally, I don't like the Haven or its burger, and their ketchup is nasty but it's my own opinion. I very much like Slater's 50/50 though, the oft overlooked burger place in orange county due to its location in anaheim hills. mmmm 50%bacon 50%beef.

1000steps
1000steps

"...by missing some of the most popular or, at least, controversial places in the county for hamburgers"

Yeah, OCWeekly's playing it safe. Also what the Hell is a controversial place for burgers? This isn't the X-Files.

Retardation, a celebration!
Retardation, a celebration!

AWWW no HAVEN. Maybe it's all the arrogance...

1000steps
1000steps

Agreed, been to Haven and Crow Bar. Haven is much better, now the $6 Octopi tacos at the Camp....Meh

1000steps
1000steps

Thanks for including Rider Club. By far the best Burger I've had in OC. Maybe the best ever.

Joe
Joe

Good call on the #1 at 25 Degrees. That's one tasty burger.

woohoo
woohoo

I just tried TK at the advisement of this article...disappointed sir!! In-N-Out rules the burger roost!!! No burger stacks up with the Double-Double..I shall never doubt "white and red burger empire" again.

Justknox
Justknox

You must try Santora's burger.

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