Heavy Handed

With so many smashburger spots in LA, it can be hard to figure out which ones aren’t just overhyped fast food. But Heavy Handed is a name you should know—this popular smashburger operation was one of the earliest pop-ups to get in on the thin patty trend, and now has a brick and mortar location in Santa Monica. This walk-up spot with a big front patio is perfect for a quick meal on the buzziest stretch of Main Street. Burgers here are simple and effective: a single, double, or triple smashburger, with cheese, pickles, and house sauce on a fluffy potato roll. The patty is made from ground short rib, so it’s somehow both tender and crunchy. They also make their own bread-and-butter pickles, which provide a crisp, vinegary sweetness, and the American cheese is so molten, it practically fuses with the patty. There’s only a few picnic tables out front, so be prepared to take your burger to go if the place gets busy.

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