I first came to know of The Standing Room in Redondo Beach as one of those results that would consistently pop up on occasional Yelp searches. You may be familiar with the experience: you’re in an area, you pull up a listing for burgers or lunch or nearby restaurants, and a 4 or 5 star place seems to consistently reappear. For whatever reason, it wasn’t a place I checked out until recently. Having surveyed the fine burgers at Redondo Beach’s The Standing Room, I am telling you this is not a mistake that you should make.
When you first pull up to the Standing Room you may feel a sense of surprise and caution as it appears that it’s not a room at all, but a small to-go window in a small building. Upon further investigation, you will find out the small building is actually just a gas station-style convenience store. There’s a mural of a cartoon whale on it. The kitchen and ordering counter shares this unit, occupying the back end through the aisles of chips & gum.
Do not let this appearance dissuade you. In fact, every time I’ve encountered a combination convenience store/fast food grill, the food has always been excellent and satisfying on a purely indulgent level. The Standing Room is no different. It is definitely among the best hamburgers you can get in our South Bay.
The burgers, in their base form, are a big 1/2 pound patty cooked to medium. All well and good. The beauty is where they go from there. Each menu item is packed with ingredients that you probably haven’t seen anywhere else, or at least haven’t seen in these combinations. The “Cash” burger, for example, is bacon, shishito pepper, two types of cheeses, hoisin BBQ sauce, crispy onion and Korean aioli. The “Danger” is a spring mix of vegetables accompanied by onion tossed in spicy vinegar, a fried egg, tomatos and a miso glaze. It’s a far cry from the usual burger grill offerings where the most exotic thing is a slice of bacon.
It’s also interesting to note that the prices all over around $8 except for two: The “Ghengis Khan” and the “Napoleon.” These two $14 burgers are certainly less affordable, but the price shift elevates their reputation to burger myth. Both incorporate fries — truffle Parmesan for the “Napoleon,” sweet potato for the “Ghengis Khan” — in between their buns. And not a complimentary 3 or 4. Several fistfuls. These are items for the burger aficionado that wants to hunt the white whale of the burger field.
Alternatives & Compliments
It should be noted that there are regular sandwiches available that are just as interesting and thoughtfully constructed. These “sammies” run everywhere from pulled pork carnitas to crispy chicken to Korean marinated beef. If you’re a fan of interesting flavors, you’ll definitely be happy with the sandwich selection. Outside of these tremendous entrees, The Standing Room also lets customers choose pan-roasted edamame in a chili garlic reduction or just straight shishito peppers with grilled sausage. Then, there are the perfect fries: seasoned but not strong, crisp but not crunchy. They are the perfect compliment to whatever sandwich or burger you choose to cleanse your palette and fill you up.
The thing about a great burger is that it can come from anywhere. A populist food item like a hamburger doesn’t need the high end equipment or prime location that a gourmet pizza or luxurious seafood requires. In fact, it seems to work in the opposite more often than not. The most unique humble locations — the diners, the bars, the grills — seem to excel at constructing near perfect burgers. This is the expertise that makes The Standing Room a fixture of the area and South Bay burgers culture, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.
What makes burgers so universal? What qualities make a burger stand out?
The Standing Room – (310) 374 – 7545
144 N. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach, CA 90277