>> Hawkins House of Burgers | Eat the World Los Angeles

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Hawkins House of Burgers


EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (25 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
On your first visit to Hawkins House of Burgers, you will do what everyone does. While cruising down this wide and auto shop oriented part of Imperial Highway, the two story building that houses the business will stand out and get you to turn on Slater Street. But before you can realize it, you have basically pulled into a private block party, an enduring one that has been going on for decades. Put the car in reverse and get back on the main street, because there is little chance to find parking here on a sunny day.

When you walk back to the shop, the block party is less private than it may have seemed when you first invaded. Under a temporary canopy adorned with a banner reading "Voted Best Burgers in Los Angeles," a few tables seem to be the permanent businesses of smiling men selling various things, but who will be more than willing to make space since technically the chairs are put out for customers.

Everyone is used to strangers driving from afar to get their hands (don't try to pick this burger up with one) on what Hawkins House does best. Since a recent profile in the LA Times, I am sure they are getting even more out of neighborhood business. The burger stand has grown up some since its opening in 1982, but it is also easy to imagine the feeling being similar. Most of the regular customers may not be uploading photos of their burgers to Instagram, but people swiping smartphones is the only hint of the current year.

Otherwise, taking your burger outside to eat is like enjoying an 80's backyard barbecue. Many folks get back into their air-conditioned cars and start digging in, but eating your burger right on Slater surrounded with music and neighborly conversations is a better idea.

For some people, the burger may be left a bit too long on the grill in this particular "backyard," but this is the Hawkins style and not worth fussing about. The nice char on each enormous patty really transports you to some of your favorite cookout memories. The Fat Burger ($5.99, above) is two of those patties and can be upgraded with cheese for another buck. When ordering, pay at the counter and grab a number. It will be called out, and someone will even come outside if they can't get your attention after a few tries.

The drawback of two plump patties and all the fixins of course is that it does not come close to fitting into your non-super sized mouth. You can attack it from angles or better yet save a patty for later. The latter is more conducive to finding that perfect bite that can incorporate every ingredient of "the works" that was ordered. When a little bit of ketchup, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles all gets into the same bite, life is very good.

One day you can attempt this monstrosity.

WATTS South Los Angeles
11603 Slater Street

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