Deemer’s is probably one of the more underappreciated burger place you don’t know about. Tucked away in Laguna Niguel at the border of Aliso Viejo, this is the burger place that has slipped below the radar during the recent “Gourmet Burger Revival” in L.A. and Orange County. Although Deemer’s doesn’t have the glitz and glam of Umami or The Counter, their burgers as exceptional and should be tried. I live near this restaurant and stumbled upon it via a recommendation. I have since referred my readers to this restaurant, everyone has had positive responses so far.
So why is Tom recommending a gourmet burger restaurant, when gourmet burger joints are starting to become passé? I can answer this question pretty easily, it comes down to quality and freshness. I liked Deemer’s because they put a high premium on freshness and hand-crafted food. First and foremost they actually grind their own meat from large carnal cuts, using a single cow. This in-house butchering and grinding allows them to control flavor and fat content. In addition, their methodology ensures freshness and quality control by actively managing their meat source.
The second factor is the use of local family owned grown produce, sourced from just a couple local family farms. In additional, the farms which he sources produce from farms that practice sustainable farming and many are event certified organic. For example, one of their partnering farms Garcia Organics in Fallbrook, California is certified Organic, Genetically Modified Free and only uses Organic fertilizers and pesticides. Then there is Weiser Family Farms which specializes in Heirlooms vegetables and melons, using sustainable farming practices. Pretty impressive! In addition, their other ingredients are extremely fresh and hand crafted. For example, their buns are baked fresh daily and delivered from a Kosher bakery in Los Angeles. Demmer’s also makes their own sauces, spreads and marinades in house. For example the ranch is made from scratch using real buttermilk and his own blend of seasoning.
The restaurant is owned by Kevin Deemer, who wanted open a restaurant where everything is fresh, nutritious, hand-crafted and at a reasonable price. I was actually a little surprised that his burgers were all 8.95 or less, especially considering the amount of labor that goes into each burger. The décor of the restaurant is set to be a take on an old-time road-side American Grill with metal countertops and tables, and decorated with sepia grain pictures from the 30’s-50’s providing a wrap over the walls. Despite the décor’s nod to the past, the restaurant is very modern with a full patio, televisions.
The menu is split into specialty burgers, Chicken Burgers/Sandwiches, Salads, hot dogs, chili, Shakes and Beer. Below are the dishes I tried:
Napa Burger- A very adult burger that you need to try. Although it is tempting to try a classic cheeseburger, I would encourage you to embrace your inner foodie and try this. It contains goat cheese, tomato, red onion, baby spinach, and a house made basil pesto Aioli. What I really liked about this burger is the freshness of ingredients and complex flavor layers. The beef patty was thick and juicy and paired well with the spinach and goat cheese. The freshness of the produce along with the pesto aioli kept a pleasant balance with the goat cheese. A wonderfully tasting burger with lots of twists and turns in flavor profiles.
Pulled Pork Sandwich– Their fresh buns are stuffed with in-house slow roasted pork but that has simmered for over 5 hours, making it perfectly tender. The pork was coated in a house made spicy cidar sauce that had a pleasant balance of sweet, vinegar and spicy. Tangy with a slight kick that helped break though the meat’s richness. It was topped with crispy onion straws, pickles and topped with their house made cabbage slaw. The sauce was balanced such that the natural pork flavor still was center stage with this dish. If you are not careful, you will take center stage when the sauce drops on your shirt.
Buffalo Chicken Burger– Deemer’s take on the classic buffalo chicken sandwich. A thick cut portion of chicken was grilled and then coated with a slightly spicy and tangy buffalo sauce and topped with a rich blue cheese and peanut coleslaw. I liked the flavor play between the blue cheese and buffalo sauce, which created a flavor layering on the taste buds. This sandwich was easy to love, but expect to get a little burnt by her attitude.
Mediterranean Salad – A Mediterranean spin on a hearty farmer’s market salad. Baby spinach is tossed with feta cheese, cucumber olives, tomatoes, green beans, red onion, red potatoes and lightly coated with a herb balsamic vinaigrette. I really liked how this salad was balanced with ingredients, as a result the texture and flavors all played well together. The ingredients were all extremely fresh and vibrant with flavor. This salad can easily be a meal, even for the Hungry Men out there.
Shakes - I was too full to try their shakes, but apparently they are really good based on the reviews of two of my readers. They are made from hand scooped ice cream and milk. You also have the option of making it a malt for 50 cents extra. Draft Beer- Deemer’s also had a pretty impressive draft beer selection, here are the beers on tap the day I visited. Notice that they are all micro brews with great reputations: Racer 5 IPA, Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Smoked Porter , Hanger 24 Orange Wheat, Prankster, North Coast. I tried the Hanger 24 Orange Wheat and it was tasty.
What are other people saying about Deemer’s?
I am always afraid to give an awesome review of a restaurant, to have one of my readers disappointed. Based on my initial Facebook post about Deemer’s, three of my readers visited the restaurant and gave me these comments: “The burgers were really good and Juicy”, “The Pulled Pork Sandwich was really nice, although the sauce made my bun a little mushy”, “The Napa Burger was the best Burger I have had in a while”, “My burger was slightly overcooked, but still very flavorful and Juicy.” Reviews on Yelp are bi-polar on this restaurant, score of 5′s and 2′s…..very little in between. Take what you want from this info.
My Final Thoughts I was pleasantly surprised that what looked like a neighborhood burger joint was actually one of the more impressive gourmet burger establishments that I have seen recently. I liked the fact that Deemer’s is embracing a “from scratch” business model and partnering with local farms. Back in the day, hamburger meat was never frozen and your sourced your produce from a local family farmer. Deemer’s is making “from scratch” sexy again and results in awesome burgers, chicken and salads. I think that I have tried most of the new gourmet burger joints in L.A. /Orange County and Deemer’s is the dark horse in the burger arms race and that is ready to challenge the major chain gourmet burger joints.
If you visit this restaurant based on this recommendation please leave a comment, send me a message and let me know about your experience.
Deemer’s American Grill
27221 La Paz Road Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
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