There’s nothing like a mouth-watering burger, but when your kid’s idea of a great burger means making a pass through the drive-through at the golden arches, we’re guessing you’re left scratching your heads. Instead of feeding your little one’s desire for fast food, hop in the car and introduce your kids to the world of a freshly grilled burger that will awaken their culinary taste buds, or, at the very least surprise them with the taste of a real burger. Here are our picks for 9 great spots in the OC to grab a bite.
Crow Burger Kitchen
Conveniently located in a shopping center with plenty of parking, this medium-sized Newport Beach burger joint is a kid-friendly lunch spot with casual indoor and outdoor seating. All of their certified angus meat, free-range poultry, and fish are organic, hormone and antibiotic free, and humanely raised. All other ingredients are purchased from local, sustainable farmers, so you know your kiddos are getting the good stuff. The kids will love the cheeseburger,cheeseburger,cheeseburger, the crow drummettes dressed in teriyaki or bbq, and either the sweet potato fries or the duck fat fries. For dessert, order the little ones the incredible double chocolate and salted pistachio shake with house-made caramel!
3107 Newport Boulevard
Newport Beach, Ca
Having recently opened its own doors after piggybacking on another restaurant’s (Rialto in Fullerton) hours and space, Chef Joseph Mahon brings his high profile expertise to grill up creative, casual burgers that are both inexpensive and kid-friendly. The kids will get a kick out of the Chip Shot burger that has potato chips in the middle of the burger. For those little ones that love mozzarella sticks, order them the Lasorda Burger that boasts a pork sausage patty and a crispy fried mozzarella.
204 North Harbor Boulevard
Peter’s Gourmade Grill
This spot originally became famous as the burger joint in the gas station. The gas station closed its doors so the burger joint moved down the street and is now a legit burger stand. The burgers are fresh and made to order. The kiddos will love the cheeseburger and the sweet potato gooey’s that are sweet potato fries topped with maple syrup, brown sugar and toasted marshmallows.
14311 Newport Avenue
The Shwak Beach Grill
Recently voted best burger in Dana Point by the Dana Point Times and featured in AAA Westways Magazine, the Shwak is known for its tasty creations that are both easy on the wallet and kid-friendly. The 6 years and under menu, also known as The Grom Shwack, features the delicious $2.50 Grom Burger or the $5.50 Grom Bomb Combo that adds a drink and the shwack spuds which are fried in zero trans fat canola oil. All of the meat is fresh, organic, and hormone/antibiotic free. Now that’s bang for your buck!
24502 Del Prado
Dana Point, Ca
Yes! Umami has invaded Orange County. This spot is artfully crafted with a vibrant mural and communal tables to make any kid feel comfy. The kids will love biting into that crispy, savory, Parmesan crisp that is oh-so delicately placed in the middle of the Umami burger. See if they recognize their special “U” alphabet pressed onto the top bun. Don’t forget the delicious accomplices: be sure to pair it with the sweet potato fries or the genius tater tots!
2981 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, Ca
50/50 means 50% beef / 50% bacon and it’s the secret behind this joint’s success. The kid’s menu includes mini sliders, with choice of all beef or 50/50, perfectly sized for their mini paws to handle. You also have to order the little ones the Design Your Own Man ‘N Cheese: house-made with three cheese and your choice of one special ingredient…one of the best mac n’ cheeses around!
6362 East Santa Ana Canyon Road
Gameday Fire Grilled Dogs & Burgers
Everyone loves the burgers and dogs at a stadium. The kiddos will love this gameday themed joint that grills up some tasty and creative patties. They have the usual fare such as the classic cheeseburger, but if your little ones can handle culinary adventures, have them try the bibimbap burger: an Asian fusion burger that brings Korean bibimbap into a burger, and surprisingly not spicy but full of taste. They also have fries of all cravings: regular fries, garlic fries, chill cheese fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings. So bring your game on!
3009 East Chapman Avenue
Fuji’s Famous Burgers
This Asian fusion spot grills up tasty Hawaiian-inspired burgers. If your kids love anything with teriyaki sauce, they will savor every bite of the avocado bacon teriyaki burger. You can’t beat the price of less than $6 for a specialty burger, and this mom-and-pop shop is casual and kid-friendly.
15885 Gothard Street
Huntington Beach, Ca
The Habit Burger Grill
This Santa Barbara franchise has surprisingly been around since 1969 but has kept its burgers fresh, made-to-order, and not franchise-like. Every patty is char-grilled to bring out rich flavors. The kid’s menu includes a tasty charburger that the little ones will gladly devour. The ambiance is clean with quick, kid-friendly service.
2789 North Main Street
Santa Ana, Ca
Where do you take your little ones for a mouth-watering burger?
— Sommy Rhee