“Woke up quick, at about noon, just thought that I had to be in Compton soon” -Eazy-E
For the second blogger mashup marathon I joined Matt (and his girlfriend) from Dig Lounge on a ghetto burger food marathon. Having already done The Good in the Hood Food Marathon I felt good returning to a very misunderstood part of LA. It begs the question, has mainstream media given South Central a bad rap, or is it as violent and poor as we’re lead to believe.
“As I leave, believe I’m stompin, but when I come back, boy, I’m comin’ straight outta Compton” -NWA
We started at the geographically southern-most stop, which in this case was Compton. Mom’s Burgers ranks very high on Yelp so I wanted to try it while I was hungry.
Unfortunately they were closed so we switched over to the most appropriately named burger stand in Compton, Marathon Burgers.
First thing we noticed were the bullet holes in the glass.
Second was the copy of Compton’s local newspaper indicating the increased murder rate likely due to the ailing economy.
Marathon’s burger was standard issue- full of canned, frozen, mass-produced parts. The bar was set low, so we moved on to the second stop.
“Just take a good look at the ni**a and you’ll capture, the fact that the bastard is simply just an actor, who mastered the bang and the slang and the mental, of ni**az in Compton, Watts, and South Central” – Eazy-E featuring Dresta
Hawkins House of Burgers in Watts was the home to the best burger of the day. The bar was set very high at this storefront/burger shack across the street from the Nickerson Gardens Project.
Hawkins introduced us to the ghetto burger menu- one that is replicated at every burger place in the hood. We chose the king burger with chili, cheese, bacon and egg- because what else would you choose? It came out fifteen minutes later wrapped in aluminum foil.
Don’t know if the picture does the size justice, but the key is there for scale. Unmasked it looks like this:
The flavors melded together in a fluid stream of triumphant beef, pork, cheese and salt.
“We goin’ to hustle out there. That’s Watts. Tough games out there. Big bucks.” Sidney Deane, White Men Can’t Jump
Next up was B&R’s Old Fashioned Burgers. This was one of the few indoor locations we visited, complete with a vintage Street Fighter arcade game and a small tv getting poor reception.
We went with the same order as Hawkins, and were again served a massive beast of a burger after a short wait. This burger’s chili lacked in goo, the binding force that propelled Hawkins’ to the top of the list. Overall it was a good, solid, messy ghetto burger.
“I ain’t from Africa. I’m from Crenshaw Mafia.” Kid from Boyz in da Hood
Fourth stop was Fresh and Meaty Burger, a tiny take-out burger stand with bullet proof glass, a short line and more burger goodness.
This time we lost the egg but kept the chili, cheese and bacon. Weighing in heavily, this burger was squished when it was wrapped, producing a less beautiful specimen than seen at previous stands. Flavor-wise it left a lot to be desired.
“The sun went down when I hit Slauson on my way to the strip, now I’m just flossing.” -Dr Dre
Stop number five was another simple stand on Slauson- Fred’s Down Home Burgers. This one didn’t even have seating.
The burger was standard issue for the neighborhood, and easily would have been rated higher if it was eaten earlier in the marathon.
“So many people wanna cruise Crenshaw on Sunday, well then I’ma have to get in my car and go.” Skee-Lo
The sixth and final stop was at the flagship of the small Master Burger chain on Western just south of the 10. This was one of the liveliest burger stands that we visited.
The wait was longer than anywhere else and the burger was probably the worst. It was too salty but it also fell victim to being the last burger of the marathon.
Upon hearing about our journey, one of the other patrons suggested A-1 Burgers on Vernon and 8th. Maybe next time.
I have to say I never felt threatened at any point of the marathon. Everyone was very nice to us, on both sides of the counter. There’s a lot of negative hype about cheeseburgers in the hood, but there’s one image that stuck in my head the whole time:
“Man, I got these cheeseburgers. They some double cheeseburgers.” Crackhead in Menace II Society
“Anybody want a hamburger?” -O-Dog from Menace II Society