With 34 incorporated cities crammed into an area a smidge shy of 950 square miles, figuring out where to go for a great burger in Orange County can be a daunting task. To whittle down the options, we're turning to Scott Slater, owner of Slater's 50/50.
Scott says he's an adventurous eater and is always looking to try new things. Favorites come and go, based on what he's craving at any given moment. Right now, he's excited about unusual meats, like the kangaroo and bacon burger that was September's burger of the month. His favorite signature burger at Slater's 50/50 is the "Peanut Butter & Jellousy", which is stacked with bacon, peanut butter, and strawberry preserves on a brioche bun.
"Something about the sweet and savory together is really delicious," says Scott. "Oh, and you can get it à la mode." Ed. note: Say whaaat? Also, I'm going to have to get some new eyebrows since mine just blew clean off my forehead.
Scroll down for all of Scott Slater's top five burgers in Orange County.
Scott Slater's Favorite Burgers in Orange County
1. Haven Gastropub: I really enjoy dining at gastropubs and always like to try the signature burger when I do. Haven Gastropub's burger is definitely on my list of the top ones I have tried. It isn't over-complicated, but something about the combination of the ingredients (which include pickled onions and roasted red peppers) just works so well and is truly delicious. I like to pair it with a great IPA—it just hits the spot.
190 S Glassell St, Orange, CA (map); 714-221-0680; havengastropub.com
2. The Playground: The Playground is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. I really think that Chef Jason Quinn does such a great job and is so creative in his approach to food and the overall vibe of the restaurant. I honestly can't think of one thing I have tried there that I haven't really liked. One of my favorite things to order is the off-the-menu burger. It changes all the time and is usually a blend of 3 meats with various fresh, seasonal ingredients. You simply can't go wrong.
220 East 4th Street #102, Santa Ana CA 92701(map); 714-560-4444; playgrounddtsa.com
3. ARC: I am putting this burger on my list because I have heard amazing things about it through the grapevine and am actually going in to try it this week. I will be sure to report back as to whether it lives up to the hype.
3321 Hyland Avenue, Costa Mesa CA 92626 (map); 949-500-556; arcrestaurant.com
4. In-N-Out: What can I say? You grow up in SoCal and you have a love of In-N-Out. It's like a prerequisite for residency.
Multiple locations, see in-n-out.com for full list
5: My Dad's Barbequed Burger: Honestly, I couldn't have a list of my favorite burgers and not include my dad's. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated. Just a good old fashioned backyard burger with all fresh ingredients. Sometimes, you just need some home cookin'.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax