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The 3rd Stop Burger Deal is First-in-Class

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Photo by Farley Elliott/
You know you’re in Los Angeles when Saturday is the ‘slow night’. At least that was the problem at Mid-City West watering hole The 3rd Stop. With a great patio, room to move between tables and a commendable beer list, most nights were kept buzzing by foot traffic and locals, but Saturday would slow down as the clientele were skimmed off in favor of more well-heeled locations around the city. Leave it to a burger to save the day.

For several weeks now, The 3rd Stop has been quietly promoting a new Saturday night special: from 8pm to 9pm, the house burger is stripped down to just a cheeseburger, and sold off for $1 apiece (when ordering an adult beverage, or course). Yes, it’s only an hour-long deal, and yes it’s a touch early for the ‘going out’ crowd, but these aren’t reheated Burger King Whoppers, either.

The Angus ground chuck is a fresh, coarse grind and cooked to your desired temperature level. Assuming you don’t like your burger patties crispy, there’s more than enough juice to keep you from getting a dreaded mouthful of dry, crumbly beef. In fact, with a nice hit of savory fat from the gorgonzola cheese, you might start to think this basic burger doesn’t need much else. And you’d be right.

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LAist was invited to try the $1 special cheeseburger alongside their everyday menu burgers, with surprising results. The Chef’s burger is just a gussied up version of the cheeseburger, with sweet onion marmalade and a couple strips of bacon slapped on top. The onions, while tasty, overpowered the rest of the ingredients and made tasting the distinct beefiness nearly impossible. It is certainly an enjoyable package, but no match for its slimmed-down half-brother. Next in line is the Kobe burger, a ‘premium’ cut of beef that comes with provolone cheese, greens, and a few tomatoes. While the toppings were toned down for this 3rd Stop burger iteration, the beef itself couldn’t hold up its end of the deal. Notwithstanding the whole ‘Kobe beef in America is a myth’ discussion, there wasn’t much to taste with the medium-rare patty. Not enough salt and little to no crust meant the bulk of the flavor rested with a fattier cut of beef that, sadly, comes off sort of bland. Again, this is an acceptable burger (and much worse Kobe versions are currently anchoring menus around town), without any panache to set it apart.

Which brings us back to the $1 cheeseburger. Not only does the price point work (this may be a better overall deal than The Park’s Wednesday burger night), but this is the trimmed version of 3rd Stop’s burgers you’d want to get anyway. And don’t worry if you miss the 8pm hour, you can still get a $1 margherita pizza from 9pm to 10pm. Thin crust, slightly sweet tomato sauce and well-portioned, you may end up spending your whole Saturday night here. Which is exactly what The 3rd Stop is hoping for.