Gastropub dining and drinking in Culver City.
If you were alive in the 1950s or 60s,and living in Los Angeles, you knew Helms Bakeries.
The business model was simple, and coincidentally was the company motto. “Daily to your door.”
Helms Bakeries had distinctive trucks that went everywhere, and I mean, everywhere from their home base in Culver City. They were kinda like milkmen. You kept a distinctive H on your door, the Helms Trucks would come by every day, toot a distinctive horn and deliver you your bread. They sent bread along with the U.S. Olympic Team to both London and Helsinki (hence the Olympic logo on their packaging). They made bread for Apollo 11.
Then something happened.
People discovered it was easier to buy bread at the grocery store.
Helms couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt, and they folded in 1969.
But the building still stands. In fact, it’s a collection of hipster to high end Furniture outlets, and unique-atoriums.
It’s also got food. It’s also got Father’s Office.
Now what is Father’s Office? According to the Father’s Office website:
Father’s Office is the nationally acclaimed Los Angeles Gastropub by Chef Sang Yoon and home of the much touted “Office Burger”. Our focus is craft beer and its pairing with great food.
Okay, that sounds reasonable. We like stuff that includes great food. And they’ve got a reputation for a killer hamburger. In fact, Esquire Magazine went so far as to call it the best Burger in America.
Ehhh, slow your roll.
For some reason, Father’s Office has attracted a fair amount of controversy.
At first, foodies sniffed at Yoon’s experiment. LA Weekly called Father’s Office “easily the most controversial restaurant in town,” either a “mecca of cuisine” or a “hop-scented mosh pit.”
I’ll admit it. This restaurant is starting to confuse me. I mean, there’s nothing too weird about this place. It’s a straight ahead beer and burger joint, with a few other selections to ease the palate of those of you not into burgers.
Is it comfortable? Yes. Is it pretentious?
I mean it’s not like you’re going to get a bad case of Westside stink-eye. The people who run the place are friendly enough. The customers who come here may be…overdressing things a bit, but it’s supposed to be a “be at your ease” watering hole and burger joint.
They try to set a Roy choi mood. It may not be Chef’s food, but there will be contemporary music played as you eat.
Walking in, you’ll see a long bar, a looooooong bar, with some bits of outdoor seating. Everything revolves around the bar. In fact, customers come inside for food and drink.
You’ll have an explosion of Beers or Whiskeys to select from. The list feels very hand curated.
The knowledgeable staff is only more than too happy to assist in your drink selections. Talk to them, tell them what you like and let them suggest.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: So, of course, you get the Father’s Office Burger.
Now, this has been called the Best Burger in America at one point by Esquire Magazine. It’s not.
It’s a damn fine burger. You’ll thank yourself for having it., but it’s not the best Burger in America. Heck, I’m not even sure it’s the best Burger in town.
There really isn’t any problem with it. They do serve it with a brown, sticky sweet aioli of some kind. (Some kind, because the Father’s Office Website does not have a Menu page).
They also serve just the one kind of Burger, so…there’s that.
It’s a damn fine burger, and damn fine fries. They didn’t blow my mind or anything, but that’s okay.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just know going in that no matter where you sit, your first stop should be the bar. Why? Because that’s where all your ordering is done. From what I saw (during a weekend Lunch), even if you sit outside, you still had to go inside to the bar to order your grub. You’ll be given a number to take back to wherever you sit, and your food will come finding you.
Me, I stayed at the bar, and for a good long time, it felt like I was the only one who chose to do so.
Also, going by the Father’s Office Website:
You must be at least 21 years of age with a valid identification to enter Father’s Office.
We do not accept reservations. For private party information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310 736 2224.
We do not provide table service. All orders must be placed at the bar including take out orders.
Also, got to say, the Father’s Office is better for vegetarians than you’d expect.
Also, keep in mind, Lunch is only served on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
PARKING: Simple enough, Helms Bakery has 3-4 Parking Lots scattered throughout the complex, one off Venice (which is what I used), one off Hutchinson, near Washington Blvd., and one directly off Washington Blvd.
The lot off Venice is a Valet powered lot. Pull in, hand over the keys, and they’ll take care of it from there. There is a fee, it’s under $5, but I can’t remember the exact figure. You can try street parking along Venice or Washington, but I think that’s just asking for it. Valet seems easier.
Father’s Office (Culver City)
3229 Helms Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Tel: (310) 736-2224
Monday-Thursday: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
Friday-Saturday: 12:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am