Barely Under $10 and BYOB: The Park (Echo Park)

Wednesday night is “$5 Burger Night” at Echo Park restaurant ’the Park’. The $5 price includes one burger and a side. I know what you’re thinking, “For $5 bucks I can get five burgers at McDowell’s”, but we all know that fast food burgers generally lack the texture and distinct flavor of those found in the backyard; plus, once you throw in a 32oz of your favorite malt liquor and the company of your two favorite foodies, this works out to be a pretty good deal.

One of my dining companions had eaten at ’the Park’ once before and remembered the place being BYOB. I checked the website and although I found the letters BYOB on certain nights, it was unclear if this was their general policy. Being the classy, respectful, upstanding citizen that I am, and given the lack of clarity on the matter, I smuggled in my own hooch — and it’s a good thing I did. Apparently, the news of the “$5 Burger Night” has spread to all corners of Hipsterville and characters straight out of the latest Urban Outfitters catalog swarmed the narrow entrance to be seated. We had to wait about 35 minutes for a table. There was no list to put my name down on, and the hostess seemed aggravated and bothered. I mentioned to her that we would be outside waiting and she apathetically responded, “oh”. Come to think of it, she did not even come out to fetch us when the table was ready, we just happened to be hovering around the patio and saw that one of the tables had opened up.

The decor of the establishment seemed nice, from what I could ascertain from my skewed vantage point. Service was lax: it took a long time for them to take our order and bring out our food, and they were out of fries. The wait was made bearable thanks to the 32oz I was nursing. As for the sides, I was glad they were out of fries because the other two side options, potato salad and cole slaw, were far better than I expected. The slaw was sweet and crisp and the potato salad – made with red potatoes (skins on) – was not laden with mayonnaise and included fresh crisp celery.

The catch is that the introductory $5 price includes only the plain burger. You can build your own by choosing from a 6oz. sirloin burger or a veggie burger. Any fixins’ are gonna run you an extra $1 for: cheddar, gruyere or blue cheese, mushrooms & garlic, caramelized onion, crispy onions or home-made aioli. Add for $1.50 for: applewood bacon. And add $2 for avocado.

Example of build your own with Avocado and Cheddar w/ potato salad:

They also have some pre-fabricated choices, like the “Who Shot J. R?”(pictured below top)which comes with applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce and caramelized onions for $8. OR you can get a vegetarian option for $7 called,”The Club Med” (below bottom) which includes olive relish, crispy onions and gruyere.

I made the mistake of ordering my “J.R” medium well. The avocado cheddar burger was ordered medium, and that was definitely the tastier burger. The bread was excellent, and the “club med” was absolutely exquisite. All the ingredients were fresh and of the highest quality. Too bad the same cannot be said about the lackluster service-which overall, soiled an otherwise great dining experience. But I should not be surprised; in true Hispster tradition, they are too cool to care who eats at their restaurant. Which is why I did not feel bad pulling a Rachel Ray: $40 a day and stiffing them on the tip.

With prices like these, I almost did not mind picking up the tab. ALMOST.

The Park Restaurant

1400 Sunset Blvd at the corner of Douglas in Echo Park
Dinner hours:Wed/Thurs/Sat/Sun 5:30-10:00
Lunch hours:Tues – Fri 11:00-2:30
Brunch hours: Sat / Sun 10:00-2:00