These days I’m filled with all sorts of conflicting needs/wants when it comes to my dining options. I want to consume food in a way that is socially and environmentally responsible, but I don’t want to sacrifice taste. I want to eat healthier, but I also feel the allure of all those delicious summer grill items (steaks, brats, burgers, etc.) that are generally not as conducive to a beach-ready body. I want to sprawl about on a patio with a beer or glass of wine in my hand, but I don’t want spend a whole lot of money for the type of sit-down meal that so often accompanies the right to outdoor seating. Burger Lounge, a San Diego burger chain focusing on organic fast food, seeks to bring a little balance to my life at its newest, certified green location in West Hollywood.
Located on Sunset Boulevard, Burger Lounge shares a parking lot with under-the-radar gems Sushi Park and Joe’s Pizza. Unlike its more non-descript neighbors, Burger Lounge ups the style quotient of the shopping plaza with a sleek patio and bright orange awning – it’s a burger place that feels at home on the Strip.
While the establishment was still alcohol-free when we visited, Burger Lounge is set to offer local craft beer and wine by the glass (once the permits are processed, which should be any day now). Designated drivers and non-imbibers will delight in the house-made, Fair Trade, cane-sweetened fountain soda from Maine Root. You'll find actual Mexican Cola on the fountain rotation, but the highlight? The orange soda. Trust.
Before we hit up the burgers, we laid the groundwork by splitting a Fresh Vegetable Salad ($7.95). We had been excited to see husked ears of corn cooking away on the grill in the kitchen, and here’s where the kernels ended up: tossed along side a lightly-dressed mélange of romaine, spinach, arugula, tomato, cucumber, red onion, jicama, and ricotta. Knowing we were about to tuck into some meaty goodness, we did not take advantage of the option to add chicken or the various patties (veggie, salmon, turkey, beef).
We didn’t try the wild salmon burger ($8.95, below), but were awfully tempted by its promise of fried green tomato topping and BBQ glaze. The Quinoa Veggie Burger ($7.95), made with quinoa, brown rice, zucchini, garbanzo, carrot, corn, and chipotle also sounded promising. But on this trip, we were looking to eat some MEAT.
The Lounge Burger ($7.95, below) features a medium rare patty made of 100% single-source, American grass-fed, beef, and like all the other burgers on the menu, pairs it with iceberg lettuce, tomato, organic cheese (white cheddar or American), fresh or grilled onion and house-made 1000 Island. All burgers come served on a blended wheat and white flour bun. If you forgo the cheese and dressing, all of the burgers come in at under 570 calories.
The All-Natural Turkey Burger ($7.95, below) blends dark and white meat turkey with fresh basil. It’s definitely one of the more flavorful turkey burgers I’ve had, really juicy.
The Classic (below), which we almost didn’t order (because it’s a secret!!), was far and away our favorite. Basically a riff on your typical fast-food chain burger, the Classic swaps in a fat beef patty and pickles while omitting the iceberg lettuce.
The Burger Lounge offers options to indulge our fatty cravings as well. We shared an order of the Half-and-Half ($4.99), a heaping combination of great, crispy onion rings and fries. We also indulged our hankerings for sweetness with a chocolate Lounge Shake made with Dreyer’s ice cream and loads of whipped cream.
All right, so our meal ended up being a little over-the-top, and yeah, maybe we ate ourselves uncomfortably full. But that’s on us. If you’re a reasonable person, Burger Lounge offers a healthier, more stylish alternative to fast-food, using organic, high quality ingredients but keeping the price very affordable.
*Disclosure: this was a hosted meal.