Yep. The Counter is coming. It’s actually been coming to Toluca Lake for over a year. I first noticed the retail space diagonally across from Trader Joe’s being torn down around January of 2010. What could be going into the location next to the Coffee Bean, which was previously a Koo Koo Roo? Sharky’s had already moved in on the other side.
I soon noticed a banner up claiming, “The Counter is Coming Soon.” I was surprised that the SoCal-based burger chain was opening up a location right here in Toluca Lake (they had recently opened one in Studio City). The sign claimed it would be open in fall 2010.
If you didn’t know it was a burger place you might mistake The Counter for a trendy new lounge or bar, with it’s standard brown and blue interior, blaring pop music, backlit bar, and walls adorned with black and white photos and skateboards. At least that was my opinion of the Studio City outpost. It certainly didn’t look like the neighborhood McDonald’s. And for around $25 for a shake, fries and a burger, it really wasn’t priced like one either.
The Counter is a sleek modern restaurant where guests can build their own burgers. The menu is on a clipboard that customers use to choose from four patty choices - turkey, veggie, Angus beef or chicken, 12 cheeses, 33 toppings, and 21 sauces. The chain claims that the possible combinations of burgers and toppings number 312,000. That’s a different burger every day for about 876 years. Yikes. Or, you can just choose to order a “signature burger” where the choices are already made.
The chain began over eight years ago and has about 20 locations in the Los Angeles area with a few spread out across the country and even several in Ireland.
Although burgers are the star on the chain’s menu, they also offer great BLTs, grilled cheese and sides such as french fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries or fried dill pickles.
The last time I checked, Toluca Lake’s Counter was still not open. It looked like the construction crew was making headway on the remodel. The sign now reads “The Counter - Almost Here.”
I hope so. As a food writer I am anxious to see how The Counter’s Toluca Lake burgers stack up to those already offered at neighboring outposts , , and .