A Good Burger Is Hard to Find

Discover Hole in the Wall Burger Joint

True burger lovers will often stop at the dirtiest roadside sandwich shack if there's the possibility of a great patty inside, but (lucky for us) the only thing shady about West LA's Hole in the Wall Burger Joint is its name. Tucked behind a Winchell's donut shop, the bright, clean spot might be no frills, but chef and owner Bill Dertouzos takes his burger seriously.

There's nothing fancy about the space: just a small kitchen, some counter seats inside and a patio out front. For the menu, Dertouzos uses fresh, custom-ground Angus beef and forms each patty by hand; condiments are made in-house; and buns come from the excellent Drago Forno bakery (the pretzel roll is a hands-down favorite).

Grab a checklist to build your own burger but be warned: The basic beef, turkey or veggie eight-ouncers ($8) already come loaded with your choice of typical cheese and veggie toppings, plus homemade spreads like onion mayo and zippy house-made zucchini pickles. Add any of the extras–fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, sauteed onions or mushrooms–and you'll need a fork, knife and probably someone to share it with. Add an order of crisp Kennebec or sweet potato fries, find a seat on the patio and start planning your concoction for next time.

Hole in the Wall Burger Joint, 2200 Colorado Ave, Unit C, Santa Monica; holeinthewallburgerjoint.com