Friday, February 26, 2010

Western Steakburger

gyros sandwich

Western Steakburger – A Good Charbroiled Fresh Burger in the heart of North Park

I remember one time in Nicosia, Cyprus, where I went to boarding school for a year in high school, sitting as a dumb teenager in the old part of the city at a restaurant’s table outside on a cobblestone street under a tree.  It was warm and the wine was flowing (there seems to be no drinking age in the country) and me and my classmates had dinner.  The waiter also turned out to be the owner and after we ate our pepper steaks he came and sat with us at our table and told us about his whole life and asked us about our short ones.  An old man appeared and started playing a guitar.  The owner shared some more wine with us and we smoked cigarettes and talked and stayed that way well into the night.

This type of thing never seems to happen in the States.  I’m not bashing but I can’t remember a time eating here where the owner was either seen at all or approached my table and talked to me at all or even where the waiters seemed that interested in talking to me at all about anything besides what I want to eat and do I want to know the lunch special.

plain burger

Not that I want someone hovering over my table yakking away about how good the food was or something either.  I don’t know.  It seems that most restaurant businesses just want you in and out, they take your money, shove some crap in front of you, then tell you it’s time to go and expect not only a lot of your hard earned ducats but also a tip and usually you feel like you have to thank them and tell them goodbye.

This is a very long introduction to Western Steakburger restaurant in North Park on University Avenue.  I know, a burger joint review, but what can I do.

gyro and fries in box

The owner not only welcomed me but also told me about the history of his restaurant, showed me an article he had posted, told me about the food that he was going to give me (even though it was a “to go” order) and the chef, wearing a chef hat, even showed me the raw fresh hamburger that they use.  They’ve been in business since the early 80s.

Wow.  This place is great.  They have gyros and burgers basically but they do it right and all of their ingredients are fresh (ask to see the burger), the owner, who happens to be Greek and so spurred the Cyprus memory, works behind the counter, helping on the grill and running his kitchen. 

bbq burger 1/2b

I got the BBQ burger ½ lb. and it is a big burger messy with sauce and onions and ketchup.  They also put relish on them but I asked for no relish.  Now this burger's meat is a bit on the unflavored side, which is a little sad but it does taste like a good flame grilled fresh burger and is certainly one of the better burgers in San Diego.

I need to try their signature creation, the aptly named Western Steakburger, with gyros on top!  They also have ribs.

Their fries are thick steak cut fries and soft (not hard crispy) and I found them to be very good, but it’s hard to mess up a fry, especially with the old standby to slather them up in:


I want to invent Racha Mayonaise but I have no idea how.  I’d buy it for those of you interested in food business.

I also had some of the Gyros sandwich which was heavy with gyro meat that was a little less spiced then the mall-based gyro sandwich but was still pretty good, better than Café Athena the last time I went there.

Western Steakburger is very casual, formica tables, maybe not formica, but plasticy type diner tables.  There is a huge cardboard cutout of John Wayne and I want to say there is a hand painted picture of Rocky but maybe I am just having a flashback to some weird dream or something.


There’s a TV precariously balanced on a hotel-wall stand thing that looks broken (the stand not the TV) and the channel is usually on ESPN.  There are also some nice fake plants and a newspaper rack.

I wish the burgers were of the caliber of Rockys or Nessy but alas they aren’t.  They are, however, a good standby when you’re in the area and I think they are actually better than Crazy Burger, which some people seem to swear by but I don’t know why, maybe because they have beer on tap and a funky staff?

Western Steakburger your ambiance and conversation wins and your food is good, fresh and tasty.  Thank you.  


george caye

sometimes the place looks closed on Mondays?

2730 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 296-7058

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Arabic Supermarkets in/near San Diego


Arabic Supermarkets:

El Cajon International Foods
502 E Main St
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 444-5800

Review:  This market stocks the Arabic staples and has a great deli section which prepares everything from hummus, tabouli, tons of pickles and olives and everything else you can think of.  Their grill serves up platters of (or individual) kebabs (chicken and beef), shawarma (chicken or beef) and falafel (sandwich or individual).  Most importantly is their homemade bread, a manhole cover sized freshly made Iraqi piece of Arabic bread will set you back $1.


North Park Produce
3551 El Cajon Blvd
(between 36th St & Wilson Ave)
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 516-3336

Review:  Arabic based but has a ton of “International” foods and fresh produce.


Arabic Market
4869 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92105

Note:  This small supermarket has all of your Arabic canned goods needs (hummus, pickles, tahini, etc.).  They also stock Berbere spice (due to the local African clientele) and other spices by bulk.  They also have a halal butchery and make their own cheeses, hummus, garlic sauce, etc.  Sometimes they have a stock of freshly made Arabic food that they freeze for resale.  Also has an olive deli, cheeses, and music, books and CDs