Thanksgiving on a Bun: Could Soul Burgers Be LA’s New Best Burger?

    I thought I had heard rumors that a burger like this existed somewhere. But perhaps I had only dreamt of it, tapping into some kind of burger collective unconsciousness. Whatever lead me to Soul Burgers certainly felt like destiny as I couldn’t have been more excited by what I saw on the menu. Yet, as the lone diner inside a small burger shop directly across the street from Inglewood’s Hollywood Park Racetrack I have to admit I was feeling quite anxious. I  had waited 15 minutes and my food had yet to come out of the kitchen as I sat staring at the portraits of Motown legends plastered on the walls. I worried that I had built this burger up to an impossibly high standard and soon the reality would arrive: a soggy, cold, misshapen lump from a restaurant that hadn’t been open for more than 6 months. I couldn’t have been any further from the truth.

    Soul Burgers is probably one of the most unique burger joints you can find in LA. While I was waiting for my food I saw no less than a dozen people pass by, peer through the glass windows and study the menu with a look that falls somewhere between confusion and intrigue. The good news is that Soul Burger’s owner and matron, Gospel/R&B singer Toni Malone eagerly explained the concept behind her restaurant to each first time patron. “Mexicans take all there favorites and wrap it up in a burrito, Asians take all there favorite ingredients and put it in a stir-fry, this is justing taking the best of soul food and putting in a bun”. If any skepticism remained Malone would simply follow with Soul Burgers’ pseudo-mantra, “Let your taste buds do the talking”. As to why  Soul  Burger has to convince wary customers?  Perhaps you should consider the toppings on my burger, The Delicious Extreme Combo:

  • 1/2lb Turkey Patty
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Fried Egg
  • Cheese
  • Collard Greens
  • Mashed Yams
  • Stuffing
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Special Spicy Sauce

Needless to say, this was not your everyday cheeseburger.

    The time that I waited was well spent. After whatever magic occurred in the kitchen to construct this beast it arrived in front of me, neatly wrapped and beautifully layered.  Each ingredient was delicious in it’s own right. The turkey patty was juicy and fresh, and due to the weight of the rest of the burger was probably preferable to a heavier beef patty. The bun was of the old-school sesame seed variety and it held up better than expected, making it a superior choice to the brioche rolls common in many LA burgeristas. Most amazingly of all though, the burger seemed to balance its conflicting textures and flavors with ease; nothing was lost or overwhelmed. It’s like someone took a high-powered vice and managed to squeeze every sweet and savory comforting flavor from your grandmother’s kitchen into a sandwich. The care and attention put into each layer added a level of depth found in very few LA kitchens, especially for this price. For me, that’s what makes this burger superior to those served at Father’s Office and Unami, despite their obvious differences.  Eat a Soul Burger and you will find it stuck on your mind for a least a week, making you ponder how so much good stuff could be compressed into something so simple. Of course, all this heavy thinking will have to be done after a long nap, which just like after any true holiday meal, is an absolute necessity.

Soul Burgers
1035 Prairie Ave. #2
Inglewood, California 90301

Photos Courtesy Yelp's Matthew D.

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving on a Bun: Could Soul Burgers Be LA’s New Best Burger?

  1. SinoSoul says:

    iiinteresting… question: how does this stack up vs. the other hoodie joints nearby? Burger Stand? Master’s? Fred’s Downhome?

    And Q2: why do these “soul” burgers take so long to griddle? I mean, 15 minutes? Are they afraid the patties are toxic?

    Thanks for the tip. I love soulful burgers and this is now on top of my list, especially after nearly throwing up the 5 guys yesterday. Have you been to Mom’s in Compton?

    • losangelicioustimes says:

      Thanks for the comment! I’ve not been to Mom’s yet (It looks amazing), but I’ve eaten at Fred’s Downhome before and to me Soul Burgers is kind of in it’s own category. The patty is nowhere near as huge as most hood burgers, but the emphasis is on the other toppings instead of just the meat. It literally is like a soul food restaurant that just took their food and made it into a burger. Also, I think the 15 minutes it took for the the burger to be made was not from the patty being grilled but rather from cooking all the individual ingredients and assembling the beast. Either way, I’ve got a feeling I’ll be back soon to try their fried chicken burger. 🙂

  2. Justin says:

    The flavors actually worked together? Wow. That is an ambitious burger. But they have my respect for attempting it. I think I might go for the Southern Smo, though.

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