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Visiting Los Angeles and eating at over twenty Black establishments in search of the best of the best service and food has been a joyous, yet arduous task. We endured some not so exciting spaces and found true gems along the way.
Our most memorable eatery was one that served restaurants most ubiquitous menu item, the hamburger.
For starters, a good burger is all about flavor and texture. From the crunchy sheaf of lettuce, the fresh soft, cold, and juicy tomato, seared surface of formed ground, the outer rim of the bun, softened and buttery with welcomed char and firmness without being toasty and a fresh onion to maximize the burger’s strong, sharp and not very sweet revolving flavors is what was in store at Hawkins. HAWKINS HIT ALL THE REQUIREMENTS!
Located in the Watts neighborhood with outside counter service, Hawkins’ burgers were prepared by beautiful Black queens who were also flat iron masters! The smell of seasoned ground beef filled the entire vicinity while our team waited patiently for our classic Fat Burger with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles that looked freshly picked from the garden.
I also got the turkey version of this exact burger with bacon. Let me tell you something, BOTH BURGERS WERE EVERYTHING! The beef and turkey patties were fresh, not frozen and seasoned to perfection with the right amount of salt and pepper leading the way.
Unlike many chefs, cooks, and restaurateurs that treat their burgers as a default menu item for the indecisive, Hawkins completely obliterates any restaurant not taking their hamburger seriously. I would have easily paid $20 for this hamburger, but it cost far less.
The burger was enough, but it awakened the food maniac inside so I ordered a side of fries and that just did it for me. The fries were fat cut fancy potato and salted to an exactness that with just a dab of ketchup damn near sent me into a food coma. Good God Almighty, this burger was truly everything.
We washed it all down with their house created strawberry lemonade. Hawkins is a true bastion of burger royalty that you must visit when in Los Angeles. It’s no secret why this outpost has been a staple in the city for 82 years, making it one of the oldest running Black owned restaurants in L.A. and the nation. Hawkins quite possibly created my most memorable burger experience. You can give them a call at (323) 563-1129 or visit their website, www.hawkinsburgers.com.