Restaurant Review #126: Ketchy's II, Sawtelle, West LA

Cheeseburger with all the trimmings

Ketchy'’s II is part of the Sawtelle strip, but have you ever seen it? Did you even know that there is another restaurant behind Mizu 212?

I didn'’t, until I went exploring on foot one day. But every time I walked by Ketchy'’s II, it was closed. I was starting to wonder if it was actually in business. As far as I can tell, the hours aren't posted in the window anywhere.

I was in the right place, but at the wrong time. Ketchy's II has been open for five months, but it's only open until 6:00 pm, which explains my confusion. The owner mentioned the possibility of keeping it open longer in the summer, which would be nice. A big red sign on the sidewalk informs pedestrians of the restaurant'’s existence, and the accompanying phone number points out the restaurant'’s aspirations to do a steady takeout business.

Though it is relatively new, Ketchy's II has quite a history. It replaces a beloved neighborhood hamburger and taco stand named Ketchy'’s that operated for 40 years but was completely destroyed when a pickup truck drove through it over 20 years ago, according to the newspaper article taped to the wall. The owner informed me that the original stand had actually been hit by a vehicle not once, but twice!

A true hole-in-the-wall, Ketchy'’s II has no indoor dining--there simply isn'’t space. There'’s barely space for two people to come in at the same time to order. What'’s interesting about this lack of space is that it nearly forces you to interact with the owner and the cook, both of whom were very friendly. There are a few metal tables where you can eat outside, if you don'’t want your food to go.

Ketchy's II serves hamburgers, hotdogs, chili burgers, chili dogs, tamales, fries, onion rings, and a few other things. Multiple flavors of soda in cans are easily grabbable if you'’re thirsty.

My quarter pound cheeseburger was made-to-order in plain view and came with plenty of toppings--lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. If you'’re looking for a less messy burger, I'’d skip the lettuce--it's cut into square inch-sized pieces, a small detail which most people won'’t realize makes the burger easier to eat and prevents you from eating chunks of lettuce vein (yuck). The pieces get condiment-covered and are prone to falling out, but a paper wrapper inside the burger'’s foil wrapper will help you eat more neatly. The meat was cooked thoroughly (okay with me, but you may want to specify if you like your burger pink) and wasn't greasy at all. A quarter pound isn'’t much bigger than an In-n-Out patty, and there was only about half as much cheese as I would have liked, but with all the condiments and the bun, the burger had plenty of flavor and filled me up. A cheeseburger is $3.70, and a tip jar awaits your change. I don't think anything on the menu is over $5.00.

Ketchy's II may not have the excitement factor of some of the other restaurants on Sawtelle, but it is a most welcome addition to the neighborhood. Where else in the area would I go to get a hamburger or a quick lunch for so little?

If you've been to Ketchy's II, how was your experience? Leave a comment!

Ketchy's II
La Grange (at Sawtelle, behind Mizu 212)
Los Angeles, CA 90025


Anonymous said...

I think this place is great and an asset to neighborhood. Sometimes I just want good affordable food cooked in front of me without the table service thing. It reminds me of the old Ketchie's. Plus the Chinese Chicken Salad is turly special and better than you would get for twice the price elsewhere. Ketchy's serves as a reality check for a street that could be going the other way. It's in the nicest building on the street too.

Anonymous said...

i love that chili taco!

anthroth said...

Ketchy's is famous for their taco! It is unique and amazing and been a dream of westsiders forever!

joanh said...

wow! I didn't know that Ketchy's II was a burger place.. I thought that space was still for rent after Lollicup moved out of there. will have to try it next time..

for a burger fix on Sawtelle, you could always go to Tomy Burgers.. their chili cheese fries are huge, greasy and good if you are in the mood.

jelly andrews said...

You really made me crave for burgers by the way you describe their food. And the fact that their food is below $5 made it a must visit place. It is really affordable.