Kuma’s Corner (Restaurant, Avondale)
The Plague Bringer: Roasted Garlic Mayo, Tortilla Strips, House Made Hot Sauce,
Fresh Garlic, Pepper Jack, Sliced Jalapenos
Kuma’s Corner would win points with me simply for refusing to spell “corner” with a K. The fact is they don’t need any more points. I may not know how to score bowling, but Kuma’s gets a 300. Out of 100. I really like it there. Kuma’s has only been around since 2005 but it has made a big name for itself since then. The culture there is as straight forward as a restaurant can get. They have no vegan options, they list every day that they’re closed on the website (including Norse New Year), they blast heavy metal from noon to midnight, and they will not “put on the game, bro.” Their words, but they might as well be any of ours. You aren’t going to find Bud, Miller, or Coors here; only fine artisan beers — and Sprecher’s root beer, cream, and orange sodas!
My most recent trip was on a cold rainy Monday. Think that will stop the crowd? Think again. Get there early (or late, avoid the lunch and dinner rush) and bring some friends because Kuma’s does not take reservations. The dining area is small and the kitchen is even smaller, but I don’t imagine you’ll be talking much sass to the heavily pierced and tattooed employees. If you are lucky you can find a place to stand by the bar to watch whatever unusual film they are playing. As we left they had just started Escape from L.A., but the entire wait and meal were taken up by the wonderfully obscure animated classic, Fire and Ice.
The real centerpiece, the reason why Kuma’s is packed every day and night, are the burgers. The first burger, the Kuma Burger, is topped with a fried egg, and they just get more delicious as the list goes on. Their burgers are named after famous rock legends and hit your mouth as hard as their music hits your ears. Toppings like smoked Gouda, Kalamata olives, bourbon-soaked pears, and grilled pineapple become as common as bacon and swiss, and I haven’t tried a burger I haven’t loved. The “Led Zeppelin” is topped with pulled pork, cheddar, bacon, and pickles. Um, yes please. If you weren’t convinced yet, each of their burgers is served on a pretzel roll.
I can’t get the burgers from Kuma’s into my mouth fast enough, and that isn’t just because they are so big (10 oz. apiece). They come with pretty delicious waffle fries too. The flavors are entirely different from what you may be used to. Don’t let some ho-hum grill slap an odd ingredient on your burger and call it innovation; Kuma’s has designed each of their burgers to perfection. They suggest no substitutions, probably because your idea will be stupider than theirs. They’ll gladly tell you that, too. Those semi-nude drawings on the wall mean, “NO,” so enjoy what they have. You will.