Daniel Tapia, the owner of 4th & Olive—certainly a Long Beach culinary gem that often sits way too empty and remains one of the city’s best restaurants—is adamant about SoCal’s singular, most worshipped form of food.
And it isn’t the taco; it’s the almighty burger.
“I think there is no bigger insult to a Southern Californian than being served a bad burger,” Tapia said.
Fresh off my own burgerventure—proof that Long Beach is definitively on par with the scene of L.A., and where, despite my distaste for gimmicky burgers (hey there, HashTag Burger and Rockfire Grill!), I was able to create a democratized list rather than an authoritative one—I was inundated with suggestions from Long Beachers on other places to seek the best burger.
But there was only one that particularly stood out and one that, to be entirely honest, I was remiss in mentioning: Tapia’s own restaurant.
Before I go into details like duck foie gras and farro-based patties, let’s clarify one thing very quickly here: 4th & Olive’s burger nights happen on Monday and Tuesday from 5 p.m. to close and, if you sit at the bar, you get a burger, fries, and beer for $12. Staying sober? $8.
And this remains true despite having an Alsatian-based dinner menu that is almost antithetical to a burger night, offering up some of the city’s best meats—their succulent, dreamy pork chop is one of the essential dishes to dine down on in Long Beach—and best fishes—the trout, having been a mountain boy that grew up on the fish, is the best I’ve had outside my own dad’s version—and best tartare—be it beef or pork. (Yup, on that last one, Tapia and crew cut centimeter cubes of raw pork meat near the bone, toss it in a herb aioli of sorts and voila, you have pork tartare.)
While I am unable to do the math in my head of how Tapia makes six different burgers work with a grass-fed beef that they grind on their own on the daily (minus the cauliflower-based vegetarian option and fried chicken offering), I can assure you that there’s no other better deal in town. (And if you’re curious about the best burger in town period, that belongs to Ellie’s at 2nd and Orange.)
4th & Olive goes from decadent—its duck liver mousse burger is slathered with the creamy, decadent faux gras along with some caramelized onions to add a bit of sweetness to the saltiness and bitterness—to outright simplicity executed swiftly—its fresno chile burger comes with a slightly spicy remoulade, a slab of house-cured bacon, and melted Gruyère to give a funky, salty, spicy combination that works wonders with 4th & Olive’s beer list.
There’s also a chicken burger, topped with the joint’s bacon—the best bacon in Long Beach—and some pickled fennel slaw and overall dreaminess. Tapia even goes for a five-o’clock-hangover cure with his breakfast burger, a salty and sour bomb that is a housemade breakfast sausage topped with housemade pickles and sauerkraut, along with a fried egg.
Speaking of hangovers, this is perhaps the part where the deal gets sweeter: Tapia’s carefully curated beer list surely has some Californian staples—it’s genuinely cool to see smaller NorCal breweries like Track 7 paired with SoCal staples like the Bruery—but his aversion to hop-driven beers makes it one of the most unique in Long Beach. You will find one IPA and beyond that, most of his beers are Belgian- and German-inspired brews that offer a different drinking experience than pounding 7-percent-plus hop-centric beer.
And for $12, well… Proost!
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