Bang for your Burger Buck: Al & Bea’s of Boyle Heights
Al and Bea’s is a Boyle Heights institution. Cops, kids, old people, and everyone else in between all seem to find an excuse to make a mid afternoon snack stop on 1st street. The history of Boyle Heights is the story of Los Angeles itself; a constantly changing landscape of immigrants, trying to live the American dream through hard work and molding and shaping this city with their respective cultures and traditions. What was once the home to the original Canter’s is now an oasis of famous Mexican eateries. The food at Al & Bea’s is classic Mexican American: comforting bean and cheese burritos, vintage hard shelled tacos, fast food french fries effusing guilt ridden grease and of course, burgers.
Let’s just get right to the point here: these prices are cheap. It’s almost as if time has not moved on since Al & Bea’s opened in 1966. It is easy to gorge here, their signature bean and cheese burritos start at $2.75, tacos at a $1.70 and burgers at $1.85
Potent gut bombs often come in small yellow packages.
Double cheeseburger with everything: lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayo. These are burgers are heavy but so is everything else at Al & Bea’s. Three bites in and your mouth is coated in burger fat unctuousness. But I wager the source of this richness lies more so in the bread:
Top Bun. Al & Bea’s strength is a griddle that has been greasing the innards of Angelenos for decades and that history is smeared on both sides of that bun. A little ketchup, a few jalapenos or even some roasted salsa verde would work nicely here to cut through the sheer richness of this burger but that is a mere detail that is eclipsed by the bottom line:
$3.16. I haven’t seen numbers like these since Stone Cold was battling the Rock in Wrestlemania. This burger ain’t perfect but considering it is the cheapest burger I have made multiple visits for, Al and Bea’s is the bees knees when it comes to bang for your burger buck.
Fair Warning: bring cash and spit that order out, or expect to get a side of cold stares and attitude on the house.