Perched cliff-top at Santa Clarita's eastern extreme, between Interstate 14 and the Santa Clara River, Bergie's serves namesake burgers (actually named after a previous owner) worth setting the sat nav for. If its strip-mall exterior, padded vinyl bar and sports channel–tuned TVs suggest a stereotypical suburban dive, the menu is defiantly, if subtly, different. Twenty-three patty-based creations are presented with almost disarming friendliness here, including the bracing jalapeño burger topper, chili-smothered Texas red burger and a bacon-laced Cowboy burger. Apparently incapable of doing anything bland with a half-pound puck of ground beef, Bergie's kitchen neglects neither flavor nor texture in crafting its toasted-bun beauties. Reinvigorated last year by new owner (and former LAPD officer) Renee McAlonis, Bergie's caters mostly to regulars from suburban Canyon Country and the adjacent equestrian community of Sand Canyon. Expect at least one dually truck outside and many a workboot within. The bar can get loud, especially on karaoke and live music nights, and, despite its dedicated dining room and mountain-view patio, Bergie's isn't classically romantic. Yet sinking into one of its lived-in booths with a loved one for hearty, heavenly hamburgers remains an incongruously intimate indulgence.
Credit: Renee McAlonis