The World-Famous Burger Bar Expands With Second OC Location
Hopdoddy Burger Bar recently opened at the Tustin Market Place and I had the opportunity to check them out and see what’s cooking — and boy was I impressed! Mind you, I’m the type of burger aficionado that travels far and wide for a good meal. I once ate over 64 different types of burgers in two days on my quest for the best burger. I also have over ten years of hospitality under my belt, with seven of those years taking place in a diner who’s main focus was burgers. Sure my past has shown a heightened sense of ambition when it comes to eating burgers, but I’m always looking for the best burger that touches on all factors. I believe that the title of the best burger is quite lofty, and once achieved, should be respected for everything that goes into that accomplishment.
SO, what makes a burger the best you ask? Well, I think it’s more than what’s between the buns. It starts with the atmosphere. Is the restaurant well staffed? Do the employees seem generally happy to be working at said establishment? What drinks are available to wash each bite down with? A quality craft cocktail? Once there is a solid foundation to work with, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. I’m looking for bold flavors, creative recipes that play with temperature and texture, and for a burger that speaks to a higher conversation about nutritional value and sustainable practices. I’m looking for burgers that address the concerns of our food industry and tackles them head on, and Hopdoddy Burger Bar nails every one of these points with such effortless finesse.
These beautiful, jaw-dropping burgers are made with the freshest available, all-natural ingredients. Their beef comes from those happy, humanely raised cows. You know, the ones that are never, ever given growth hormones or antibiotics? In-house you can expect the beef to be ground daily. Their buns are made from scratch and baked daily. Pair with some house-made sauces and hand-cut Kennebec potatoes and you’ve got yourself a pretty darn good meal. I’m not the only one that thinks Hopdoddy brings an A game, they’ve been named “Best Burgers in America” by Food & Wine Magazine. They even claimed the #1 spot on Business Insider’s list of “The 50 Best Burger Joints in America” and was also named one of the “10 Brands to Watch” in 2015 by CNBC and MSN. With over six years of burger building experience under their belt (Founded in 2010) it makes sense. The accolades are stacked, just how we like our burgers.
The Tustin Market Place location offers a fast-casual experience. When you first walk in you’ll see a long line, that’s where you stand and look over the menu and try and narrow down your order to a reasonable amount of food. Don’t feel intimidated by the line, you’ll need the time to assess. While you’re waiting you’ll be offered samples to help sway your decision one way or the other. Don’t be sad if they run out of samples by the time they get to you, it actually works out in your favor! When they run out, they give you a cowbell. When you make your way to the front of the line you ring the bell and you get a free side of fries! During the time that I dined there my guest and I heard that cowbell ring at least four times. This attention to detail and heightened level of hospitality let us know that we were in for a real treat.
To start our meal off on the right foot we opted for a cocktail. The Classic Frozen Margarita is a must if you’re a Tequila fan, made with Gold Tequila, fresh citrus juices, and triple sec served icy and delicious with a Coronita upside down in the glass. In keeping with the Tequila theme I ordered the Sangrita, made with Gold Tequila, freshly squeezed orange and lime juices and pomegranate grenadine, served up with Ancho Chile salt rim. While sipping on our cocktails we snacked on Truffle Fries, Kennebec Fries and Green Chile Queso. Since we came in with full force, we thought why not try all of the sauces, and hey, throw in the pickles while you’re at it! All of the sauces stood out on their own right, considering they were house-made, but that truffle aioli … OMG … words simply cannot express how amazing this sauce is, you need to just go there and try it out for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Then it was time to order our entrees. We thought about ordering a salad, they definitely looked hearty, healthy and sounded like they would be amazing, but instead, we decided to order two burgers each, totaling at four choice selections. Don’t judge — with so many amazing options it was hard to narrow it down. The menu seriously offers something for everyone, with patty selections ranging from sushi-grade tuna and black bean-corn patties all the way to bison, chicken and beef. We tried the Greek Burger (brought back by popular demand), Prime Time, Buffalo Bill and the Ahi Tuna Burger. Yes, we brought home leftovers.
I love the Ahi Tuna Burger, featuring sushi-grade tuna, sprouts, nori chips, teriyaki, honey wasabi, mayo, pickled ginger, red leaf lettuce, white onion and beefsteak tomato, nestled between a freshly baked bun. I love the play on temperatures with this burger, you get the coolness from the sushi-grade tuna and the heat from the honey wasabi, finished with a sweet note from the teriyaki. The textures dance in your mouth with the crunch of the nori chips juxtaposed with the softness of the fresh fish. I felt like the pickled ginger cleansed your palate after every bite, ready for the next.
The Primetime on the other end of the spectrum, featured grass-fed beef, Brie cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, that truffle aioli, steak sauce and beefsteak tomato. This pick was also a real crowd pleasure. It could have been because of the aioli that we seriously could not get enough of, but honestly, it was the whole package that did it for us. The overall flavor profile was very rich but it didn’t leave you feeling weighed down with regret. I attribute this to the thoughtfully crafted proportions of the burger.
The Greek Burger was great, it made me want to do a little dance and shout Opa! The Buffalo Bill is also a good choice, especially for those daring to be adventurous. Let’s be honest, it’s not every day you eat a bison burger for lunch. The Buffalo Bill features apple-smoked bacon, blue Jack cheese, Frank’s hot sauce, sassy sauce, red leaf lettuce, white onion and beefsteak tomato. Grab a napkin, you might start drooling over this article.
Somehow we saved room for dessert and ordered one of those hand spun shakes (Caramel & Sea Salt) and spiked it with a little Rye Bourbon. Shake selections include Vanilla Bean, Ore Cookie, Caramel & Sea Salt, Red Velvet Cake, Stout Chocolate and Nutella & Chocolate Pretzel. Stay connected and follow their Instagram @hopdoddy to discover seasonal promotions and limited run recipes.
The beer selection is just as impressive at the burgers, and because of that, we also needed to order a beer. The beer list is curated with locals in mind and is evident the moment you start checking out the list. Since I hail from Huntington Beach, it was only fitting that I finally try a selection from Four Sons Brewing. I went for the Surf City Pale Ale and … Wow! It was so smooth, a sense of comfort washed over me. You literally could taste how fresh it was, and the Schooner that the beer came out in was so cold that my lips almost went numb on contact (Ok, not really). It is probably the only way to drink a beer during summer. Cheers!
Welcome to the neighborhood Hopdoddy Burger Bar! We welcome you with open arms and empty stomachs. We also ask that you consider selling that truffle aioli in a jar so that we can take some home. K thanks!
The Tustin Market Place
3030 El Camino Real
Tustin, CA 92782