Monday, June 17, 2024

Michelin star meets smash burger: Long Beach’s Heritage and Hamburgers Nice to partner for popup

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Heritage in Long Beach—the city’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, led by Chef Philip Pretty and his sister, Lauren—and Hamburgers Nice—arguably the city’s best burger thanks to Chef and owner Jairo Bogarín—are partnering for a special event at Heritage’s farm to honor the sandwich roots of Heritage while letting Nice flex some skills.

And it all goes down Mar. 2 on a first come, first served basis.

So what, exactly, does Heritage plan on bringing for ‘Hamburgers Heritage’?

When Pretty opened Heritage in August of 2020, it was a far cry from the high-end, prix fixe-centric space it is now; it was a sandwich shop that reflected where Pretty was at that point and what he had been through come peak pandemic.

Fresh off a longtime battle with the former Restauration space—he had led the bistro to its highest peak of glory, watched it burn by an accidental oven fire, waited for two years, only to reopen it and want to definitively distance himself from the space soon thereafter—Pretty made the best decision he had ever made in his culinary career: He took on a lease inside a former craftsman house on 7th Street (of all places) and opted to open a sandwich shop.

There were many wonders in that tiny-but-mighty space—deviled eggs with chitterlings and a house-fermented hot sauce, a pork belly BLT, one of the city’s best wedge salads…—but nothing quite hit like his brisket sandwich.

Thick cuts of smoked-for-hours brisket—that Pretty somehow magically controlled in a beyond-tiny smoker he had in the back—layered with house fermented pickles, a weighty slaw and douse of aioli on buttery bread slices from baker Jesse Hellen Llyod’s underrated Hey Brother Baker. It was a gooey, messy-in-all-the-right-ways wonder that Pretty will be bringing back along with his (also missed) potato salad.

“We’re bringing it back for one day,” Pretty said, smiling widely at the thought of returning to roots that are as simultaneously tied to his current success while also feeling extremely distant given where Heritage stands regionally. “It will be nice to have it at the farm [on Gladys just north of Anaheim] and have a moment to return to that kind of head space,” Pretty continued, noting that life post-Michelin has proved fascinating: “I kinda miss just going to into a place where no one knows me. That doesn’t happen that much anymore,” he said laughing.

And Hamburgers Nice—they’re not just watching the event, right?

Long before everyone began calling their burgers smashed, Chef Jairo Bogarín—in what is one of the most wittily named popup operations—began serving the most genuine form of it via a breakfast burger at the former Commodity spot in Zaferia (which is now Good Time and where Bogarín still remains on a regular basis).

And while the breakfast burger may have launched him into the realm of Food Famous, it is his “Lunch Burger” that showed Bogarín is Long Beach’s smash burger king: Simultaneously stupidly simple—two patties, American cheese, some sauce, pickles, onions, jalapeños—and complex given it packs such an astounding flavor punch, there is no shock in the fact that the popup continually sells out.

So when Pretty approach Bogarín for a community, backyard-style grill event, it was hard to say no.

“The whole Heritage crew opening up their farm space and have a BBQ-style event is pretty much a perfect reflection of what I love to do,” Bogarín said. “We’re talking specialty burgers and sandwiches—I’ll be doing fries as well—music, drinks… We’re coming together to celebrate Long Beach love. Simple as that.”

So what specialty burger is Bogarín hinting at?

A “steakhouse burger” that perfectly encapsulates the high-brow-to-low-brow vibe he wants to bring to the event: A sirloin’n’chuck blended patty, cheddar cheese, an A1 aioli, an onion ring, soft bun

—harkening to the early 2000s when Carl’s Jr. released it “Six-dollar burger” (which was only $4) that was a riff on steakhouse burgers. The only difference is that Bogarín’s version will actually be stellar.

Bring it.

Heritage in Long Beach is no stranger to collabs—and has long been harvesting the creative culinary energy of the city

When it comes to Long Beach food giants, the list is happily growing: We just had Ammatolí, La Parolaccia, and Gusto become the first establishments to receive semifinalist recognitions from James Beard. Ammatolí, Selva, and Tacos La Carreta all scored coveted spot on Los Angeles Times food critic Bill Addison’s 101 Best Restaurants list

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But Pretty has always recognized the culinary talent of the city long before the accolades came—and he himself has wanted to better connect as a chef: An admittedly introspective chef, Pretty was adamant that he would become Michelin starred—and not one to be deterred, he brazenly achieved that with Heritage in a handful of years.

That introspection and hyper focus, however, come at a cost and Pretty realized he was disconnected from the larger food community. So in 2022, he began creating collab dinners with some of the city’s finest. Since then, he was partnered with over 30 chefs—so it should be of no shock that he is finally going to be cooking side-by-side with Long Beach’s smash burger king.

“Hamburgers Heritage” will take place on Mar. 2 from 5PM to 8PM at the Heritage Farm, located at 1336 N. Gladys Ave. First to come will be the first served until sold out.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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