Houston’s originally opened it’s Los Angeles doors in 1977; their name paying homage to founder, owner and current CEO George Biel’s home state of Texas. But by the time you read this, they may have already converted. In the recent years Houston’s has been taken over by the Hillstone Restaurant Group where it sits alongside about 45 other restaurants and 11 different brands. Slowly but surely the Hillstone name is taking over, but according to them, for the better. For as long as some local Californians can remember Houston’s has been delivering some of the best burgers going around. Hillstone is doing its bit to try and keep it that way, really driving home that they’re still a family owned business, seemingly worried about causing cracks in their foundations.
The decor is classy but without being pretentious. You’ll notice dimmed lighting and dark woods whilst traditional American booths line the back wall of the restaurant; perfect for dates, business dinners or just a casual burger review. I grabbed myself the Cheeseburger that came with fresh-ground chuck, cheddar, tomato, lettuce and onion on a house-made bun. On the side you’ll get an enormous portion of thinly cut fries with a choice of three dipping sauces: mayo, mustard or ketchup.
We sat down in our booth and I already felt kind of horrible – not because of the restaurant or the usual hangover – but because my two lovely dining partners had just begun some ridiculous cleansing detox diet that day… Suckers! When my cheeseburger (and their salads and rice) came out I wasn’t overly impressed. It looked like any other hamburger going around. Once I had put in all the appropriate ingredients it took a step straight up. The first bite was so juicy, so saucy and really one of the best cooked patties I’d eaten in a while, with just the right shade of pink throughout. The cheddar was good and so was the bun, but like any good burger should, the pattie really stole the show making me regret adding in all that extra lettuce and tomato. There really wasn’t anything crazy unique about this, some may even call it boring, but it was just a Traditional American burger done right.”