Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Standing Room-- Redondo Beach, CA

The pick up window at Standing Room

I'm in Redondo Beach, CA visiting Bobby, and we found this place on Yelp and figured we'd give it a try. Standing Room is truly a hidden gem; you actually have to walk into the liquor store next door to place your order. You order at the small counter, on your right when you walk in, and then pay at the cash register on the opposite side of the store. You need to hang on to both your numbered ticket and the receipt in order to pick up your burger. The liquor store actually has a convenience store air to it too; I was able to pick up some paper towels when I was there, which is great.

The first time we went here was late, 9 PM, and there was very little wait which we later learned was unusual. Bobby and I had the wisdom to call in our lunch order ahead, and while I was waiting to pick up (only about 5 minutes once I was actually there, which was fine), there were people ordering being told it would be around an hour until their food came around.

The one thing I can confirm is that Standing Room is well worth the wait. 

Bobby and I both had the Dressed: ½ Pound Patty, Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Spring Mix, Bleu, Smoked Gouda, Fried Egg, Tomato Jam, & Korean Aioli, and split an order of the parmesan-truffle fries. The burger is just... insane...

Look how lovely and pink and HUGE that patty is!! Cooked to perfection!

My favorite thing about the burger is the gorgeous, unexpected combination of flavors. The gouda is piled on thick, the egg is salty and perfectly fried, and the korean aioli provides a sweet tang with every bite. This is a truly gourmet burger that you can buy in a liquor store. 

NOTE: If you are on a diet, Standing Room is not for you. While all of the food is fresh and delicious, it is definitely not for those counting calories! But honestly, who cares? We can all afford to indulge every once in a while.

As another note, I was quite impressed by the three men working the stoves at Standing Room. It's a very small room but they work well together and are quite organized. It was really neat watching them put the burgers together; there is a man who works there with tattoo sleeves on his arm and a hat reading "F*** me I'm famous", who dealt with taking most of the orders in the front and dressing the burgers. He dealt with each burger so delicately, saucing them beautifully and placing each topping on with such care and attention. He's truly a sandwich artist. Another thing that amazed me was his complacent demeanor. With all of the busyness of the kitchen, heat from the stoves, and the influx of inquisitive customers, I would imagine the fellas working there would get overwhelmed. Instead, they were incredibly polite, well-spoken, and friendly to their customers. I was impressed. 

The one caveat to this: it took some people quite a while to get their orders in as the guys were really moving quickly to churn out some beautiful burgers for people. I think a few people were quite taken aback by the wait time, but this is easily avoided by calling ahead. I called at 12:30, was told it would be 30 minutes, and my food was ready exactly at 1. They seem to have this figured out.

My recommendation: call ahead, pick up your burger and a beer, and go enjoy it down on the pier (a 5 minute walk).

The Standing Room is located at:
144 N Catalina Ave
Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Phone: (310) 374-7545

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