While the cafeteria may be cheap and the lunch truck may be easy, if you're looking for somewhere to get a bite to eat in between classes at SMC, think of The Counter restaurant on the corner of Ocean Park Boulevard and 29th Street, just blocks away from the main campus.
Publicly endorsed by Oprah Winfrey as one of the best places to get a burger in L.A. with an endless do-it-yourself menu boasting over 312,120 possible combinations and a great selection of beverages- ranging from killer milkshakes to a versatile beer and wine list- The Counter may be a bit more expensive than on-campus eats at SMC, but it's worth every penny.
When you walk into The Counter, you are given a pencil and a clipboard with a menu on it, prompting you to start building your own burger to your liking, giving you the ability to make your burger as light and easy or as big and serious as you want to.
Of the choices, The Counter allows you to choose from four different types of burgers (including beef, turkey, veggie burger and grilled chicken), 10 cheeses, 28 toppings, three types of buns and 18 types of sauces, each of which is tantalizing in its own right.
The enormous list of possibilities contained in the menu causes The Counter to say proudly on its website "Rarely is the same burger made twice in one day."
However while delicious, some of the toppings and sauces cost between 50 cents and $1 extra for "premium toppings" (of course these are all of the good ones), making for a meal that can add up quickly if you get lost in your gluttony. But if you're really in the mood for a monster of a burger, it costs around $45 to get a burger with everything on it. A bit saucy, though.
Started in 2003, Jeff Weinstein founded The Counter as "the 21st century's answer to the classic burger joint", a concept that is apparent in its very modern style and Generation Y-like artwork strewn across the walls.
Also, the burger franchise has a cutting edge website that includes a section for "Counter Culture", a self-proclaimed "budding community of like-minded people" that allows patrons of the restaurant worldwide to share their own artwork, fashion, music, gadgets and ideas for going green with one another via the internet.
"As of May 18 of this year, there will be 21 locations, including two international locations in Ireland and Australia," said Brian Berman, director of marketing at The Counter's corporate headquarters.
Right now, The Counter is present as a franchise operation in nine states, spanning the country from Hawaii to Georgia. Additionally, The Counter has 10 locations in California alone, including one in El Segundo and one in Marina del Rey.
"The Counter is a franchise operation so just about anyone can open one," said Berman.
The fact that The Counter is a franchise only reinforces the possibility for The Counter to become a wildly successful operation that we will imminently begin to see more and more often around the globe.
For more information on The Counter, visit its website at http://www.thecounterburger.com, or just visit the restaurant just blocks from SMC's main campus. Try to avoid major lunch hours, the place tends to get packed from noon to 2 p.m., but it's a burger you won't regret.