Sure, there are plenty of excellent burger places in Los Angeles to spend $10-20 on one's lunch, but I think the cheap spots grilling up Ron Swanson quality industrial meat & American cheese often turn out some of my favorite cheeseburgers of all, most under $5.
  1. Yuca's on Hillhurst in Los Feliz - This James Beard recognized taco shack makes marvelous cochinita pibil tortas but I always get one of their charred hockey puck cheeseburgers which is like a better version of what I'd eat at cookouts growing up.
  2. Capitol Burgers - A rusted dilapidated shack on a sad stretch of Pico Blvd turns out thin patties dressed with melted yellow cheesefoodproduct housed in a king-size bun that collapses in your hands as you try to eat it. The chili cheese fries are a heaping greasy mound of self-destruction and gluttony. #AmericaFYeah
  3. Super Burger in Altadena - This looks like a prototypical old school L.A. mediocre fast food joint. The thick tasty burger patty more than makes up for the lackluster cheese. Surprisingly good, albeit messy. Then I hit up Carmela Ice Cream or Bulgarini Gelato for dessert. Then I crawl into bed and hibernate 'til spring.
  4. Bill & Hiroko's in Van Nuys - Simple little burgers. I usually order a double cheeseburger topped with a runny fried egg and always find it to be perfectly seasoned. Bill has been grilling burgers for 50 years and has his griddle game down.
  5. Irv's Burgers in West Hollywood - While the cheeseburger may not be super special, it's fine and often has the nice texture of a smashed burger. But the real magic here is when your burger arrives and drawn on your paper plate is a handwritten greeting and a Sharpie'd doodle (often a portrait of you). As kawaii as a burger shack can get.