Recognized as one of the best burger joints in town, Fresh & Meaty stands the test of time through offering quality food and a strong family legacy.
Hamburgers are undoubtedly one America’s all-time favorite food choices. When it comes to L.A., Fresh & Meaty Burgers (FMB) just might have the total package: a dream, family, history and a good burger.
The conception of FMB started when Gerald Hood tasted a burger as a child. As an adult, Hood was looking to go into business for himself. He realized that he could channel his love for burgers into a business opportunity.
“When you’re starting a business or working, you want to do something you love,” said Hood. He felt that hamburgers would be the best place to start. Originally set to franchise off of Meaty Meat Burgers, an established eatery, Hood ended up finding an opportunity of his own in the San Fernando Valley.
He happened across a former Fat Burger restaurant and decided that this was his chance to realize his vision. The restaurant had all Hood needed to start his dream, all he needed was a cash register and a sign out front. As the franchise opportunity with Meaty Meat Burgers stalled, Hood went forward
“I decided to go ahead and drop “Meat,” added the word “Fresh” and tweak the burgers up,” said Hood. “I didn’t do the burgers the same way Meaty Meat did—I put my own twist on it.”
Hood shared that a lot of research went into making the right burger for FMB. He spent time visiting local “Mom & Pop” burger shops throughout Los Angeles. After he compiled all his research, FMB was ready to go. He ran his burger shop in Panorama City, in the San Fernando Valley from 1990-1993.
After the riots, Hood’s father, Willie found a location in Los Angeles on Florence Ave. FMB opened up in Los Angeles and the rest was history.
“It took off, it blew up—overnight you would have swore we were selling crack,” said Hood. “It was just that many people coming by and lines out the door everyday. It just took off.”
His other son, Darrin, now on board, would follow Hood’s father. “He [Willie] came in…he put up most of the money to start the [Florence] facility…he came aboard and maybe a year later, my brother…came in… and became partners.”
FMB has been permanently operating from their Florence location since 1993. It has been about two decades since the burger hot spot opened and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Hood credits FMB’s longevity to consistency and sticking to his formula. “In 23 years, we have not changed our recipe,” said Hood. He credits their hamburger recipe, all their ingredients and how they’re prepared as the winning formula.
“Everything, from the way we cut our lettuce, the way we chop our onions, the mayonnaise, the mustard, the seasonings, the type of pickles we use—everything was done on purpose, nothing is just thrown together,” said Hood.
FMB uses fresh produce everyday, something that Hood wanted to give to his customers. “What better way than for everything to be fresh, so even to this day, we don’t have the type of storage space that we would need to be able to store [food] even for a week—so it’s got to be fresh.
“So that’s what we’ve really try to stand true to the word, “Fresh and Meaty.”
When it comes to working with his family, Hood shares that it’s been a positive experience. “It’s been a labor of love,” said Hood. “All of us are very passionate about business.”
Willie and Darrin Hood are more involved with the day-to-day running of FMB than Hood. He has become more involved with marketing FMB and coming up with new ideas for the restaurant.
“Anything introduce new to the menu—I do the testing, quality control,” said Hood.
Hood wants to extend his gratitude to the community for all of their years of support. He credits the community with helping keep FMB where it is today.
“Thanks for your support over the years,” said Hood. “We’ll try to continue to bring you the best service that we can.”
Hood has also issued a challenge to all of L.A., “Fresh & Meaty Burgers has the best Turkey Burgers—hands down in Southern California,” said Hood. “So if you find a better tasting turkey burger, let me know.”
Thank you Fresh & Meaty for serving the community with one of our favorites—the hamburger. Thank you for following your dreams.
Fresh & Meaty is located at 3016 W Florence Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90043. You can call at (323) 751-2247 and visit them on Facebook.
Photos By Troy Tieuel