Smash burgers done right at Tripp Burgers
By Kerry Slater
Surrounded by a collection of strip malls, a Westside pop-up stand serves up a damn good but pricey burger.
If you’re looking for a gourmet burger, go to Father’s Office. If you’re looking for a classic burger, go to The Apple Pan. If you’re looking for a smash burger served alongside a kale salad, go to The Window at American Beauty. If you’re looking for a stellar (albeit pricey) smash burger and just that, go to Tripp Burgers in the Palms-area.
After parking in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, upon stepping out of my car my nostrils were hit by the unmistakable smell of grilling burgers emanating from a pop-up canopy. Located on the sidewalk near the intersection of Palms and Sepulveda boulevards, Tripp Burgers does one thing and one thing only: burgers served with a bag of chips. Also, soda and grilled cheese. Burger options are a single ($8 standard, $9 with grilled onions), double ($11, $12), three-stack ($14, $16) and four-stack ($17, $19). I got a double with onions.
Each 2.75oz patty–a fresh-ground blend of USDA Prime Chuck, Top Sirloin and a small amount of bacon–is smashed on the griddle. For the onions version, sweet-onion slices are piled on each patty then smashed on the griddle.
The burger itself is top-notch. The smashing process leaves the outside with a great char while the inside remains juicy. The taste is nothing fancy, just pure burger goodness. The seasoning is light: just a bit of salt and pepper. The bacon in the meat blend is undiscernible taste-wise but gives the patty its crisp thanks to grease. The sweet onions add a hint of flavor but again act more as a textural component, allowing the burger-ness to stand out. All in all, this burger stands up there with any burger in Los Angeles from a purely gastronomic perspective.
The price at Tripp Burgers, however, is the one drawback. While costing roughly the same as The Apple Pan, the latter’s physical storefront, more extensive menu and larger staff justify this price. Tripp Burgers’ expenses seem to be meat, buns, cheese, onions, potato chips, soda, propane, pickles and mustard packs alongside two people running the operation. I think a more reasonable price-point would be somewhere in the range of The Window, where a single is $3.95 and a double is $6.25.
Qualms over the price aside, Tripp Burgers is worth going to for any person who likes burgers (i.e. most carnivores). It’s not a place I will get lunch or dinner at regularly but if I am in the area and want a burger, it will be my choice.