Try to remember the most wonderful summer day you ever had. It was filled with people crowded at the beaches, sun soaked bodies dancing to music around the corner, and the sizzling of grilled meats on the barbecue. The sun shone brightly above and showered you with its radiance and as night time fell, the fireworks over the freeway gave way to new illumination. As the beach fell cold you found warmth through the friendliness of others and you never felt so alive. Take that joy and place it between two buns and you've got yourself summer in burger form. You've got yourself The Standing Room.
In fairy tales you hear how it's not what's on the outside that matters, but the inside. The Standing Room is no different. This culinary epiphany is located inside a liquor store a few hundred meters away from the shoreline in Redondo Beach. Taking the place of what once was an used deli section, this tiny kitchen now is the spot where brilliance is born. Though space is limited, they add character to the walls surrounding them, whether it be giant waves and an octopus greeting you with operation hours or the giant white whale outside with mouth agape containing the tiny solo window peering in to the kitchen. Awards and accolades hang proudly on their walls and it is easy to see right into their kitchen, a sign of confidence of their skills. The deco might be limited, but its brevity is, as Goldilocks might say, just right.
When everyone believes in the same dream, amazing things can happen. The staff at The Standing Room all believe in the dream that great food is born through creativity, love, and quality ingredients. Every single person not only loves their job but loves what they create. There is pride in the work being done and it is sincere and can be seen through every interaction taken, whether taking orders or describing the madness of their work. There isn't a wall that separates the staff and you; instead, you're both people who love food.
One of the hardest and most difficult questions to answer is when someone asks, "What's the best thing you've ever eaten?" That's like asking, "Who's the best Marvel character?" or "Which child do you love best?" It's a question that will constantly get gears to grind in your mind, but after visiting The Standing Room, the answer might come easier. Each burger and sandwich creation has a mind of its own. The creations are masterpieces in itself with inspirations from different cultures and flavors. For example, The Standing Room has created a BBQ sauce that mixes the sweetness and tanginess of BBQ sauce and mixes it with the savoriness and texture of gochujang (Korean wonder sauce) to create Gochu-Q sauce. And instead of simply using lettuce to decorate the burger, they use a spring mix because of the different flavors and nutrients in the greens.
The crowning achievement of all the burgers has to be the Napoleon burger. This burger is a conqueror of flavors and will dominate your mouth with happiness. It is a half pound, hand formed burger pattie, bacon, smoked Gouda, cheddar, caramelized onions, spring mix, a golden fried egg cooked sunny side up, a sweet yet savory braised short rib, and truffle Parmesan fries all between a pair of thick yet airy brioche buns. This is a colossus of awesomeness yet, even though the ingredients are a plenty and they seem heavy, this behemoth doesn't leave you hating yourself at the end of the meal. Instead, you are left with a deep sigh of satisfaction and wondering when you'll be able to fit The Standing Room into your schedule for your next burger fix.
Summer comes only once a year and whether you're a student on break or a worker bee on lunch break, every free moment should be spent enjoying the sparkling golden air that makes this Golden State great. The beaches are ready for bonfires, the backyards are ready for friends, and your stomach is ready for adventures. When the amber sunset glazes its warmth on the facade of The Standing Room and you bite into your very first Napoleon burger, you won't need words to describe the mood. You'll know it's summer.
The Standing Room
144 N Catalina Avenue
Redondo Beach, CA 90277