Brooklyn native Bill Dertouzos and business partner Susan McAlindon opened Hole in the Wall Burger Joint in April behind a West LA strip mall. The partners (who also have a catering company called Flatbush & J) started Dainties Cupcakes in the tucked-away space in early 2007, but with every passing month, a new cupcakery opened on the Westside. The glutted market led to a 70% decline in business, and it was time to reformat. Dertouzos wanted to open a burger place, but the strip mall’s taqueria was already making burgers and the mall owner didn’t want competition among tenants. Mercifully, the taco spot closed and Dertouzos and McAlindon were in the clear to start making “the working man’s gourmet burgers.”
In two places, you’ll find actual holes in the wall shaped like burgers. Inside, expect counter seating, yellow and red walls, and an open kitchen where you can watch Dertouzos or McAlindon grill sizzling patties.
Ordering is easy. Just fill out an ingredient checklist, sign your name and bring your order to the register. Begin by choosing an eight-ounce patty ($7.95): beef, turkey or vegetable. Hole in the Wall gets their buns from Celestino Drago’s Dolce Forno bakery in Culver City, including pretzel, whole wheat and old-fashioned. If you’re on a crazy carb diet or allergic to wheat, order Burger in a Bowl. Choose a spread: onion, cranberry or chipotle mayo. Choose a cheese: Provolone, Cheddar or Swiss. Stuff Included: red leaf lettuce, sliced red onion, tomato and house-made zucchini pickles.
At this point, it’s possible to add Extra Stuff ($1 each): apple wood smoked bacon, avocado, sautéed onion, fried egg, roasted bell pepper and/or sautéed mushrooms. Hole in the Wall attempts to cook their burgers to medium-rare. If that’s not your temperature, be sure to specify otherwise. Finally, pair your burger with More Stuff ($2 each), either house-made Kennebec or sweet potato fries.
A side of spicy chipotle mayo made a natural partner for the burger and bag of sweet potato fries.