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Malibu's new burger joint fires up the grills

Burgers are prepared at the new Malibu Burger Company, which opened in Malibu Village at the end of June. Photos by Barbara Burke/22nd Century Media
Gray Harvey (left) and her brother, Judah Harvey, dine at the newly opened Malibu Burger Company.
Young patrons (left to right) Helena Joujon-Roche, 10, Dominique Elwes, 10, and Lily Swepston, 8, grab a bite at Malibu Burger Company.
Barbara Burke, Freelance Reporter
11:41 am PDT July 13, 2017

Shirts sporting the message “Putting the ‘Bu’ in Every Burger,” were plentiful among the crowd of Malibuites and visitors who helped open Malibu Burger Co., a new hip restaurant in Malibu Village on June 30.  

The restaurant is the collaborative brainchild of producer and musician Cisco Adler, who grew up in Malibu, and designer Matt Winter, also a Malibu native, who has successfully designed Gjusta in Venice and Manuela in downtown L.A.’s Hauser Wirth & Schimmel arts complex. Chef Aaron May, well known for innovative cuisine in Arizona, and Benjamin Priest, an entrepreneur with experience in the restaurant industry, are also part of the creative team that envisioned this family-friendly, fun epicurean experience in Malibu. 

“I was born and raised in Malibu and I want to make sure our town has something that represents the real Malibu with a place to hang out and bring the family,” Adler said. “All of the places like this that were here when I was a kid such as the old Pizza Hut and the Supercare where we would go for snacks and to hang out are gone. 

“This is something for our people here in Malibu and for visitors to see so they can take home the real Malibu experience. We intend this to be a new Malibu institution for the next 40 or 50 years.”

The creek-side, spacious restaurant is charming, with a long, toddler-height children’s table with coloring activities for the wee ones, and vast, open views of the Santa Monica Mountains.  

Burgers come traditionally on a fresh-made bun or in a bowl. Customers can tailor-order their meals, selecting either a burger or bowl. They then decide on a protein, with choices including grass-fed beef, free-range bison, Jidori chicken breast, market fresh fish or a vegan patty.  

Finally, they can select from a variety of cheese choices and select sauces to taste, including vegan sauce options.

“We make our own ketchup and MBC spread which has homemade aioli and special spices,” May said. “We are here to serve Malibu and are looking forward to having Sunday brunches and family-style dinners in the future. We’re delighted to be here in Malibu.”

Adler is adamant that vegans and vegetarians should know they can find satiating options at Malibu Burger Co.

“We want vegans and vegetarians to sit at the table as equals, not as vegan or vegetarian prisoners at an only carnivorous table,” Adler said. “The best part of the burger is what is special for the customer that is between the bun — not just a piece of beef.”

The burgers were a hit with satisfied customers.

“It’s better than In-N-Out,” said 9-year-old Judah Harvey, whose mom describes him as quite the hamburger aficionado. “It’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.” 

Try the mushroom swiss burger, made with wild mushrooms, Swiss cheese, MBC spread, green onions and MBC Aioli ($14). Customers can add Kennebec hand-cut fries for $6, and a tasty, flavorful vanilla shake for $7.  

The Burger Bowl ($14) is a hearty dish complete with sizzling meat, fresh lettuce, tomato, sauces and fresh avocado. 

“The Burger Bowl is miraculous because, now that it’s bikini weather, I don’t want a bun, and eating a burger in a lettuce leaf cup is too unmanageable,” Malibuite John Zambettti said. “So, this bowl is the perfect answer. Plus, it’s great to have a place that’s open so I can get a chocolate shake after the movie lets out.”

In addition to shakes, the restaurant serves beer and wine, as well as Blue Sky and IBC sodas. 

“We’re delighted to be open and serving these amazing people,” Adler said. “Look at the little smiling faces at the kids’ table. They’re adorable. It’s the best. Come and enjoy our food.”

“It’s the best burger in Malibu with a brioche bun,” said Jennie Cercone, of Malibu. 

Mom Alex Swepston agreed.

“I’m so happy to have a new place to come to in Malibu that the kids and adults can all enjoy,” she said. “My kids are loving their sliders, fries and shakes.”

Malibu Burger Co.

3822 Cross Creek Road, Malibu


11 a.m.–11 p.m. Monday-Thursday

11 a.m.–12 a.m. Friday-Saturday 

11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday

Phone: (310) 317-0153

Customers can order by telephone and download the Malibu Burger Co. app on ChowNow.