Yes, yes, it is the time for New Year’s resolutions, but sometimes the siren call of a neighborhood spot like Orcutt Burgers must be obeyed. After all, said owner Spiro Zafiris with a grin, “everything’s OK in moderation!”
Zafiris’ family had owned similar restaurants in Los Angeles and wanted to bring “the classic L.A. burger joint” to the Central Coast.
His parents opened the original restaurant on Clark Avenue in Orcutt in 1989, which he took over in 2002. In 2009, Zafiris expanded the concept north to Grover Beach.
On Grand Avenue in what was once a KFC franchise, Orcutt Burgers still has the feel of a fast-food place.
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With only about a dozen seats inside, the business is well-suited to takeout, especially given the drive-through window and how quickly the compact kitchen slings out orders. There are some similarities to fast food in the menu concept as well, but there’s also a fair amount that sets this locally owned and operated place apart.
“We cut the zucchini and onions for the fried zucchini and onion rings ourselves, and the salmon burger is made with wild-caught fish,” said Zafiris.
In addition, thanks to the close working relationship he has with his meat supplier in Los Angeles, “it’s almost like having a personal meat shopper.”
Although the beef burgers arrive in the kitchen pre-formed, they’re “fresh, never frozen, and custom ground” to Zafiris’s specifications.
As the eatery’s name suggests, burgers “steer” the menu here.
You can order up classic hamburgers, cheeseburgers and a patty melt, or put a spin on them with bacon, barbecue sauce, chili and even pastrami.
Don’t forget an order of hot, crispy fries and an ice-cold shake, and definitely be sure to grab some spicy yellow sport peppers at the condiment table.
If you have a beef with beef, you’ll have to forgo the hearty rib-eye steak sandwich and the gyro, but other burger options include veggie patties, turkey and the aforementioned salmon.
The rest of the sprawling menu ranges from a turkey grinder to a hot dog, a crispy chicken salad to a chef salad, a tuna melt sandwich to a grilled ham and cheese. Even fried chicken and fish dinners are available.
Although Zafiris acknowledges that Orcutt Burgers already had “a pretty large menu,” he began serving breakfast in the spring of 2011.
Beyond the typical combos of eggs, hash brown potatoes and breakfast meats, you can opt for a rib-eye steak and eggs, a pork chop and eggs, and you can even add pancakes, waffles and French toast into the mix.
Still more choices include breakfast burritos, sandwiches, or whopping four-egg omelettes (which also come with hash browns and toast) such as a Denver, chili or Greek, with beef and Feta cheese.
Zafiris noted that although Orcutt Burgers will always be first and foremost a classic burger joint, it’s at the behest of his customers that he now offers such items as egg-white omelettes, the salmon burger, and a recently added baby spinach salad.
“We’re trying to be responsive to what people want — to give people some more healthy options,” he said. “I’m always up for feedback.”