Anyone who lives in the hood knows that the hood has the best local food joints; it’s something that the locals take pride in because they know that its very much a thing that is exclusive to their area. Oftentimes restaurants like this can be hole-in-the-walls and inconspicuous, but Fantastic Burgers serves as an outlier in this category.
Located in the west side of Long Beach nearby the intersection of Wardlow and Santa Fe, Fantastic Burgers is a local burger joint ran by Mexicans. Me and my homie used to joke that Mexicans make burgers better than white people. Then we would always talk about how Mexicans were always the cooks anyways. By default, Mexicans rule and the food here is no joke!
You see these chili cheese fries? There’s freaking STEAK on them. You can also get them with pastrami which is my preferred choice of animal flesh on these potatoes. Fantastics is always a great place for a meal because the food is always worth it: not only do you get better than great tasting food, you get a pretty hefty portion of it. My go to meal is the bacon avocado cheeseburger with fries and a side of blue cheese dressing. Sometimes I add a strawberry shake to test my body’s immune system and health.
If you REALLY know what’s up, you’ll know that there’s also a Fantastic Cafe at Studebaker and a Fantastic Burger at Cherry and Wardlow. Same deal: great food, great portions, decent pricing, excellent service and a very home diner feel. The only difference is that Fantastic Burgers Santa Fe is more so located in the hood. As such, you have a wider diversity of people frequenting the area. Everyone from the homeless, the local youth, local families, and even business people take the time to drive to our part of the neighborhood just to get some quality food. You know the food is good when you have stoners and businessmen in the same line.
Ultimately, the restaurant serves as a place where people of various backgrounds can gather under the yearning for good food. Sometimes Mexican-ran restaurants get bad reps with people because they think its “dirty,” but Fantastics truly proves this wrong. They have pretty high standards and their staff and restaurants are usually decked out in old school styles (go to any Fantastics and tell me that the women don’t look like they could just whip out some roller skates). I’ve ran into old school friends and other interesting people here; not everyone that you think is sketchy is sketchy in a bad way, and the people who want to talk usually have some interesting insights and perspectives to share if you have an open mind. Ultimately, the place and these people provide a much needed service to the local community. No matter what race, religion, belief, ethnicity, whatever — people just want good food. We oftentimes forget that we’re all HUMAN and sometimes we just need some mind-numbing fast food to help us remember this.
Overall, I’d give this place an 11/10. Don’t let the area deter you, and if it does then you can check out the other two locations (Studebaker and the other is at Wardlow and Cherry) if you want a little nicer area. Regardless, your stomach will thank you. Ask any locals and they’ll let you know whassup.