New local burger joint a must-eat

Burger Lounge recently opened near Santa Monica College, and business has been booming with customers lining out the door.

Even though the line was long on Monday, it only took about 10 minutes to reach the cash register and place an order. The waiting time was not so bad because Burger Lounge employees offered water to the customers waiting in line.

The look of the restaurant was upscale, yet casual, which was a nice balance. What could be more casual than eating outside on a sofa? The atmosphere was cozy and the music was modern.

There was plenty of seating, both inside and out. The seats came in different forms, from booths to chairs. Unlike other burger places, the seats were made of wood, but still comfortable.

The staff was both friendly and knowledgeable, and the service was excellent. When asked about the difference between cheeses, fountain drinks, and everything in between, the employees knew it all. They were also very helpful, constantly offering water, condiments and refills.

The order took about eight minutes to get to the table, but the food deserved a longer wait.

The Lounge Burger was delicious, as were the onion rings and the fries, which were topped with herbs that gave them a unique taste. The onion rings were crisped to a perfect texture, and the burger tasted homemade and honest.

The price for a meal was about $12, or closer to $15 with a drink. Although that was a bit pricey, it was worth the money. The quality of the food at Burger Lounge seemed to surpass the quality of similar burgers at In-N-Out. Given the choice between the Lounge Burger and a Double-Double, I would take the Lounge Burger without hesitation.

Burger Lounge had a variety of drinks such as organic brewed iced teas and Maine Root sodas sweetened with organic cane juice. The Mexicane Cola tasted like normal cola, but was apparently not as bad for you.

Their shakes were tasty and thick enough to taste like shakes, but not so thick that it felt like you were eating ice cream. The chocolate caramel salted brownie shakes have brownies mixed into the bottom.

Burger Lounge is environmentally friendly because the restaurant uses grass-fed meats, according to the menu, and fries are served in small brown-paper boxes.

The variety offered is unrivaled by other burger joints. In addition to a traditional beef patty, the restaurant offers an organic quinoa vegetarian patty, a turkey burger, and even an elk burger served with crispy pork belly, jicama slaw and chipotle aioli.

Customers are also given the more traditional topping options of lettuce, tomato, thousand island dressing, grilled onions, and organic cheese. What makes Burger Lounge stand out is the fact that toppings are organic and freshly made. Even the ketchup is organic.

The serving sizes were substantial enough to fill you up, but not so big as to make you feel bad about yourself afterward. I left feeling a healthy full.

Parking is also convenient, as it is a short walk from the restaurant and free for one hour and 30 minutes — more than enough time to enjoy a Lounge Burger.

The restaurant definitely stacks up to In-N-Out, Islands, The Counter, Five Guys and other competitors.

Burger Lounge is located at 213 Arizona Ave. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.