Hole in the Wall (Santa Monica, CA)

Reviewed by: Kevin

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“It is our goal at Hole in the Wall Burger Joint to provide the public with healthy alternatives to corporate fast food.”

When I read that sentence, I laughed so hard I nearly choked on the deep fried mac n’ cheese I was eating. Look, I work at a College. I love a good mission statement. But at least make it kind of accurate.

I know that reads as a criticism, but I don’t mean for it to. Well, I do mean it to, but it didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the restaurant. If anything, the ready availability of deep fried mac n’ cheese actually made me enjoy Hole in the Wall even more. Three sizeable lumps of macaroni and cheese, deep fried, and covered in a creamy house made cheese sauce. In fact, this emphasis on making things in-house – the cheese sauce, the ketchup, almost everything – contributes to Hole in the Wall’s mission to provide their patrons with healthy alternatives. According to Hole in the Wall it isn’t deep fryers and cheese sauce that is keeping us down. It’s corporate America.

But was Hole in the Wall’s burger as revolutionary as their ideology? No, but that doesn’t prevent it from still being really good. I ordered a standard burger on a pretzel bun, with lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, and bacon. If you’ve read the blog before, you’d know that pretzel buns are trending upward in popularity, and for good reason. The bun was soft and doughy, and brought a healthy dose of, I don’t know, pretzel-ey-ness, to the burger. The patty was juicy, and the toppings fresh. Overall this was a really good burger. To top it all off, and Hole in the Wall gets major points for this, I washed it all down with a Cheerwine.

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Hole in the Wall offers a pretty great burger, with incredible deep fried macaroni and cheese and a healthy variety of rare bottled soda. Well, not healthy as in good for you, healthy as in… never mind.

flavor

Burger Flavor:  4/5

bunBun Goodness: 4/5

valueBurger Value: 3/5

toppingsToppings: 3/5

xfactorX Factor: 4/5

4star
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Stella’s Lounge (Grand Rapids, MI)

Reviewed by: Kate

This past weekend I ventured to Michigan to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in almost 2 years. Joey was actually with me when I discovered my love for burgers in Colorado. We spent the weekend traveling around West Michigan touring breweries and enjoying the company of friends. Joey has been telling me for a while now that I have to go to Stella’s Lounge in Grand Rapids. GQ Magazine named Stella’s Lounge the “Best Burger in America” in 2012. With a proclamation like that, I had to try it for myself.

Stella’s is located in downtown Grand Rapids and is easy to miss. It’s located in an alleyway, and honestly looks a little sketch-tacular from the outside. This place definitely has a bar ambiance. It’s not huge, dark interior, and even has a small arcade at the front of the bar. Stella’s is known for their whiskey selection- they have over 200 to choose from on their menu. We were greeted shortly after being seated by our waiter who I could instantly tell was from the North. Being a yankee myself, I dont mean this as an insult. He was just direct and spoke what was on his mind. He was quick to take our drink orders, but after that disappeared for a while before returning to take our order.

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When we finally did get to order, I ordered their top selling burger- The Stella Blue. All of their burgers are made from 100% black Angus Beef from farms in Indiana and Ohio, and are stuffed with delicious goodness. The Stella Blue is stuffed with bleu cheese and bacon, and then topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced pickles, and an onion ring- all on a brioche bun.

This burger was not only huge, but delicious! I have decided that I am a fan of stuffed burgers. It allows for the patty to have so much more flavor.  I was worried the bacon and bleu cheese might be overwhelming when mixed together and stuffed in the burger, but it wasn’t. In fact, I felt like it was a perfect balance and the flavors mixed together well. To me, the bacon added a subtle and unique BBQ taste to the patty. My only complaint is that the burger:bun ratio was off. There was just too much patty and not enough bun.
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I have to mention the “Chronic Fries” that were served as a side. They were perfectly crisped fries, topped with a “secret spicy seasoning” that tasted like jalapenos. They were amazing! The spice was subtle and hit you up front. I would go back just for those fries!

I can’t give Stella’s the title of “Best Burger in America”, but it does make my top 5 favorite burger list. If you are ever in Grand Rapids I recommend giving Stella’s a try!

flavor

Burger Flavor:  5/5

bunBun Goodness: 3/5

valueBurger Value: 4/5

toppingsToppings: 4/5

xfactorX Factor: 5/5

4star

Shout out to these guys for joining me on my burger adventure!

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