If you haven't noticed yet, burgeoning burger empires are falling all over themselves to claim the crown of sustainability while still turning a profit consistent with what a chain-concept deserves. As opposed to the rise of McDonald's in the last century, which promised convenience--contents be damned--the hopeful beef and bun barons of today trumpet the usual "grass-fed, organic, hand-made, artisan, and house-baked" suspects wherever possible, much to the credit of their entrepreneurial consciousness. Next Tuesday, Northern California's Eureka Burger, just such a chain, is finally coming to L.A. county with a spin-off concept called Eureka Taste Kitchen.
Soft-opening at the Hawthorne airport on May 14 (and grand-opening the next day), this marks not only the chain's first L.A. address, but also, according to reps for the restaurant, "the first full-service restaurant, offering full bar selections, to open in Hawthorne in over 10 years."
The new 88-seat spot touts craft draft beer and a full bar, along with freshly baked breads, local produce, and organic vegetarian-fed beef in a gastro-pub-like atmosphere of reclaimed woods. Dishes range from the signature burgers, topped with gourmet produce, eggs, cheese, and such stuffs as fig marmalade, to pulled pork and steak sandwiches, tacos, truffle fries, salads, and a well-liked mac and cheese with alfredo sauce. Burgers are mostly priced below $12.00.
This location will also an aviation theme and serve breakfast dishes that kiss a little local booty, as in a "Strand" coquette madame and Northrop's
Patriot Missile Strike Surprise Huevos Rancheros. Lunch and dinner dishes include a Vodka-flambeed burger designed by former Talia's chef Ron Guidone. In addition, Eureka's new corporate offices are going upstairs, making it the company's new center for recipe development.
We've been to one of Eureka's other seven locations and really enjoyed the atmosphere, which is kicked-back but buzzing, tasteful but casual, sort of like a burger-fied version of Pitfire Pizza. We left feeling that Eureka provides a similarly good value with a well-made product. Even if were initially a little more struck by the concept and vibe than the bison burger, it showed enough promise, composition, and flavor to stir our interest in another visit down the line.
We can't remember the last time we ever kicked it at the Hawthorne Airport for a beer and a bite, but a good burger sounds like the best excuse we can think of.
The Eureka! Tasting Kitchen, open 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. daily at Jet Center Los Angeles Terminal, 12101 Crenshaw Boulevard #200. Hawthorne.