There´s a growing, sedentary crowd emerging this summer on Catalina Avenue, right next to some new styled patio furniture in a liquor store parking lot. It´s not as fashionable as Simmzy´s in Manhattan Beach or pub gourmet like Bouzy, but the Standing Room inside Catalina Liquors is rising above the normal burger paradigm. Thanks to owner & chef Lowell Bakke and his Pacific Rim influences, the Hawaiian style lunch plate is evolving. Tasty burgers and pork sandwiches called "sammies" make a laid back lifestyle seem more like a delicacy.
Drive by Catalina Liquors on any given day and one might think there´s just a popular bus stop located out front but the masses are actually hanging out (and sitting down now) for a chance to nibble on a burger fixed up nice with a one-half pound patty, bacon, caramelized onion, spring mix, bleu, smoked gouda, fried egg, tomato jam, and Korean aioli. Some burgers come with Japanese shisito peppers and most are served with a fried egg. Freeloading within the confines of a liquor store parking lot hasn´t been this hip since the movie Clerks. Please note, there is no public bathroom on the premises.
Move toward the back of this non-descript convenience store and witness a perfectly designed kitchen that gives a bird´s eye view of a chef and two cooks battling to stay in front of a stack of orders. Make an order here then pay at the counter in the front of the store and be sure to keep all two of your receipts. The Standing Room is a secret no more, in fact, it’s now commonplace to phone in orders as walking in and placing an order could cost you at least 30 minutes.
Traditionalists can fan a tri-fold menu and feel safe by ordering the "Naked" burger. Aptly named because its simplicity is beholden to toppings like cheddar, ketchup, spring mix, tomato, and onion (easily the best seven dollar burger around town). After that, the selection gets adventurous as a mix of Hawaiian styles and Korean subtleties manifest into burger wizardry with beautifully worded ingredients never before seen like Habenero Cream Cole Slaw, Crispy Pepper Onion, and Bacon Hoison BBQ.
The Standing Room is located at 144 N. Catalina Ave., Redondo Beach inside Catalina Liquors (310) 374-7545. Click here to check out their menu.