Orange County is a sunny paradise, home to laid back vibes and tons of great eats. Whether you’re visiting or a local, nothing quite completes a day at the beach like eating a tasty, juicy burger and fries. But where to go? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There are a lot of great burger joints in Orange County to choose from and that’s why we have created your go-to guide for the best burgers in OC. Go ahead, take a bite!
Ah, the good ol’ burger. It’s an American classic that has been served up since 1904 when it was first introduced at the St. Louis World’s Fair. That’s over 100 years of the all-American classic: a toasted bun with a crispy ground beef patty, cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato, onion, and a sauce. In the United States alone, over 50 billion burgers are served up each year, making it one of the most popular American foods.
What better place to indulge in this American classic than in Orange County, home to some of the best burger spots in the United States? Although the OC is home to widespread strip malls, the food scene is surprisingly booming, with amazing cuisine stuffed into every corner. After checking out some of these burgers, you will see just how next-level the culinary talent in Orange County can be.
The History Of Burgers In SoCal
Fast food was practically invented in Southern California, so it’s no wonder why it is home to some of the best burger joints around. In fact, Mcdonald’s opened its first location in 1948 in San Bernardino. As you very well know, McDonald’s has since become a worldwide sensation, bringing the American love for burgers around the world. Thanks to the popularization of American fast-food, the burger has become a favorite around the globe.
McDonald’s wasn’t the only fast-food restaurant started in SoCal. In fact, California is also home to Del Taco, In-N-Out, Panda Express, and even Taco Bell. There must be something in the coastal air that inspires the creation of such popular fast-food chains. However, the burger has come a long way since its fast-food origins and has been reimagined and turned into a staple that can take on many different forms.
Nowadays, the burger has become a key menu item for any and all restaurants, casual or fancy. Many chefs have perfected the art of the burger and are serving up some of the best burgers known to mankind, but there is something extra special about the burgers in SoCal. That magical Southern California air is still inspiring the creation of countless must-try burgers.
Best Fancy Burger: Haven
Located in Orange, California, Haven is an upscale gastro-pub that serves comfort food that’s cooked and dressed like fine dining. All of the food from Haven is made with the freshest and finest ingredients and served with a little bit of fancy flair.
Haven’s All American Burger comes with standard fixings, but their real stand-out burger is their Blue Cheese Burger. This burger is topped with Point Reyes blue cheese, caramelized onion, and arugula. If you are a blue cheese fanatic, this burger is not to be missed!
Best Trendy Burger: Burnt Crumbs
Burnt Crumbs is a trendy spot located in Irvine, CA. While they are known for their spaghetti grilled cheese sandwich, their burger–however less inventive–is a fantastic take on the classic.
The Western Burger is an Angus beef patty topped with smoked cheddar cheese, crispy fried onions, crispy bacon, and barbecue sauce made in house. If you are a fan of BBQ and like smokey meat, this cowboy style burger is sure to please your taste buds.
Best Delivery Burger: CraveBurger
CraveBurger is a new delivery spot on the OC food scene, but nevertheless, their spot on this list is greatly deserved. With an entire menu made up of burgers, CraveBurger is serving up all sorts of delicious burger options. Whether you are a classic burger fan, a stinky blue cheese lover, or a fancy truffle burger connoisseur, Crave Burger has got you covered.
If you like your meat with extra meat, try their Club Burger. It’s packed with bacon and topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a sriracha ranch dressing that will have you dancing while you chew.
Picky eaters in the family? Not to worry, CraveBurger also serves up kid-friendly staples such as chicken fingers, mac and cheese, and of course, kid-sized burgers with no veggies! No matter what, you are sure to find something on their menu to please the whole family.
Did we mention that their fries are to die for? Seriously crispy and golden brown, you can even get them with ghost pepper seasoning if you’re brave enough.
Best Custom Burger: Burger Boss
Don’t like chefs telling you how to eat your burger? At Burger Boss, you are the boss of your own burger. You can build your own burger just the way you like it with any of their fresh ingredients.
They have it all: four different protein options, including a black bean burger for your vegetarian friends and a turkey burger for keeping it lean. Burger Boss has three different locations in Orange County, which makes it a convenient option for a customized burger.
Best Drive Thru Burger: In-N-Out
No SoCal burger list would be complete without this California institution. In-N-Out has become a national chain in recent years, but you can’t get a better In-N-Out burger than right here in its hometown of Southern California.
After a long day at the beach, In-N-Out hits the spot with their classic Animal Style burger, milkshakes, and “lemon-up” (AKA pink lemonade and 7-up). However, any SoCal native won’t hesitate to tell you that you should skip their fries. All and all, this is a great affordable option if you don’t want to leave your car after a long day in the sun.
Best Meat-Lovers Burger: Outlaw Burger
Outlaw Burger is a hot delivery spot no matter where you are in Orange County. They are relatively new to the scene and are serving up some seriously mouthwatering meaty burgers, perfect for any carnivore. These burgers don’t mess around. We’re talking about a giant half-pound burger, flavor-packed with gun-slingin’ goodness.
They have seven different kinds of humongous burgers ready to please any palette and leave you fuller than full. Each burger has a unique name that’s tough as nails, such as the Outlaw Burger, the Bounty Hunter Burger, and Butch’s Wild BBQ Burger.
Any one of their seven burgers will knock your socks off with well-balanced flavors, fresh ingredients, and some of the most perfect fries. Because let’s be real: a burger just won’t cut it without some perfectly crisp fries riding shot-gun. Outlaw Burger is cooking up some dangerously good grub.
Best Beachfront Bargain Burger: TK Burgers
Don’t want to leave the beach? You don’t have to! TK Burgers is an Orange County burger staple. They have six locations overall, two of which are located right on the beach. Their burgers are juicy, affordable, and accompanied by perfect, golden fries.
Their stand out dish is the Ribeye Steak Sandwich. It has all the elements of a great burger, but with a perfectly seasoned ribeye for a patty. It doesn’t get more SoCal than eating a burger and fries with sand between your toes. Watch out though, the seagulls have discovered how good the fries are, and they will try to steal your TKs.
Best Alternative Burger: The Big Melt
If you swap out the bun of the burger for two slices of buttered bread, toasted to a golden crisp, is it still a burger? If you think about it, a patty melt is essentially just a burger with different bread. The Big Melt is a new OC delivery option that is serving up patty melts so good, they’ve earned a spot on our best burgers list. With gooey cheese, a juicy burger patty, and lots of toppings options, The Big Melt is a must-try. We swear you won’t miss the bun.
With so many fresh and new burger places popping up in Orange County, you will never be without amazing burger options. Out of all the burger joints mentioned, our must-try is CraveBurger. They have lots of options for every kind of burger lover (or chicken-finger-loving kiddo), and they deliver straight to your home, no waiting at drive-thrus or parking involved—just a hot juicy burger in your hands ASAP.
No matter which spot you decide to try, make sure you get some golden fries to accompany your juicy burger. After all, a burger spot is only as good as its fries–we’re looking at you In-N-Out. So what are you waiting for? Order yourself a burger and fries right now! You deserve it.
Where Hamburgers Began—and How They Became an Iconic American Food | History.com
Best Restaurants in Orange County | Travel and Leisure
The Oddball Original Locations of Los Angeles’s Most Famous Fast Food Chains | LA Eaters