Watch Out Foodies! We Deconstructed Your New Favorite Burger
Written By: Ian Hays
Photographed By: Ed Visions Ruby’s Diner
Ruby’s Diner is an Orange County staple. It’s the place you go when you are looking for that classic Americana burger. Designed in ‘40s malt-shop fashion, Ruby’s is that piece of nostalgia Americans can’t seem to get enough of.
That doesn’t mean Ruby’s fails to recognize the changing times. In the midst of mall construction, the Laguna Hills Ruby’s has refreshed its look and has the burgers to go along with it. The remodel is all about clean lines. The colors are still red and white, Coca-Cola posters from past generations adorn the walls and while the “flying” planes have been removed, several model WWII fighter jets hover from the ceiling. The polished chrome counter’s swivel seats beckons you to take a seat and partake in an American pastime.
And nothing will set the mood like the Hickory Burger. This behemoth is a stacked burger with thick cut bacon, onion rings and doused in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. When the burger is placed in front of your now widened eyes, each layer gives you a wink. Biting into it, you get the hearty, smoky bacon, then comes the crispy onion rings and the bite of the barbecue sauce. Of course, there is no Hickory Burger without the meat. This recipe is a fan favorite; the same high quality burger patty, juicy meat you’ve come to know and love. With each distinct flavor comes a pleasant harmony that does not bombard the senses.
As with any Ruby’s burger, it needs to pass the milkshake and Cherry Coke test. All Ruby’s burgers must work when paired with either beverage, and this burger passes the test with flying colors. Eat it with a Cherry Coke when you want to feel like you’re at a backyard feast. When you’re looking for a bit more decadence, a shake is sure to satisfy.
Chef Nick Profeta of Ruby’s Diner dishes on what goes into making a legendary burger like the Hickory Burger.
Q: How did your culinary journey begin and what led you to Ruby’s?
Nick Profeta: My culinary adventures began with an interest in cooking when I was 12. By 16, I was spending time in the kitchen at Mimi’s Café. I later worked with the Executive Chef on a new menu and test items. Ruby’s has such a storied history for creative offerings and a great atmosphere that, when I was given the opportunity to join the team, I jumped at the chance!
Q: Ruby’s is known for the quality of their burgers. What goes into making a burger that keeps people coming back for more?
NP: Ruby’s Diner has been making great burgers the same way for 35 years focusing on two qualities—freshness and great ingredients. We use fresh never frozen hand pressed beef, seasoned with our own spice blend. We make our Ruby sauce, cut our lettuce and slice our tomatoes every day in every diner. Lastly, the griddled, fresh brioche bun completes the iconic Ruby’s Burger.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of the Hickory Burger?
NP: The Hickory Burger is all about bacon, Ruby rings and barbecue sauce, which are as American as our diner itself, so it’s a perfect match that has been a part of the family for generations.
Q: What is it about the Hickory Burger that sets it apart from the pack?
NP: This is the burger that gets the most stares as it travels through the dining room. It is stacked higher than any other burger with our signature Ruby sauce, lettuce, tomato, half-pound of beef, two slices of cheddar, thick cut bacon slices, two Ruby rings and sweet tangy barbecue sauce on a fresh brioche bun. It is our perennial best selling half-pound burger.
Q: When you’re not cooking up legendary burgers, what is your favorite dish to make for yourself?
NP: I love classic American fare, so coming up with new milkshake flavors is a blast! The possibilities are endless! I recently came up with a Key Lime Pie Shake—zestfully delicious!
Local Joint: The first Ruby’s Diner opened in Newport Beach in 1982.
Mother Knows Best: The founder, Doug Cavanaugh, named Ruby’s after his mother.
24155 Laguna Hills Mall, Ste 1636
Laguna Hills, CA 92653