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We recently went vegetarian, so a visit to hip new burger joint Deemer’s American Grill in Laguna Niguel seemed unlikely to turn out well. However, our family visit to Deemer’s ended up being a delightful experience rather than a disappointment.

Owner and chef Kevin Deemer had a great idea: build a contemporary burger joint based on classic American diner fare. Somehow, Deemer really did it. Not only is the industrial-meets-natural décor casual and yet upscale, but everything on the menu is made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients.

Deemer’s is definitely a meat lover’s paradise. Each day, certified Angus beef, high-quality turkey and all-natural chicken is ground by hand and formed into 6 oz. patties. Then, the chefs at Deemer’s build a burger with a super soft brioche-style bun, crispy lettuce, ripe tomato and savory onion. Even the Thousand Island dressing and ketchup is made at the restaurant.

We tried the classic cheeseburger ($7.75 a la carte/$8.95 with one side) and we deemed it perhaps one of the best burgers we have ever eaten. The “shroom” burger was especially intoxicating as Swiss cheese, caramelized mushrooms, grilled red onions, tomato, romaine lettuce and herb aioli all come together in an explosion of earthy flavors.

We can’t wait to return to Deemer’s to try the other delicious-sounding burgers such as  hickory smoked, blue cheese, California (with avocado!) and Napa signature burgers.

Not in the mood for burgers? Think Deemer’s for classic American sandwiches such as tuna melts, grilled cheese, pulled pork, tuna salad and roast turkey. Also consider hot dogs, chili and a fry menu (regular, Cajun, garlic and chili).

What to drink with your burger, dog or sandwich? Deemer’s has killer milkshakes and malts. Six draft beers are ice cold on tap at lunch and dinner while beer in bottles and wines by the glass are also available.

Vegetarian Victory

We were most excited to try Deemer’s “veggie stack.” Hitting a burger joint as a vegetarian isn’t always fun, but we were more than impressed with this “stack” of thinly-cut and sautéed zucchini, red pepper, red onion and mushrooms. In addition, this delectable “burger” also includes fresh spinach, thin-cut tomato, Monterey jack cheese and herb aioli.

Seeking salad? The veg-friendly menu includes four salads without meat. There’s the fresh vegetable (with creamy tarragon dressing!), a classic Caesar, spicy ginger, “Mex” and Mediterranean.

Bountiful Breakfast

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, Deemer’s serves a hot American breakfast. Try the 222 (two fresh eggs, two bacon strips or sausage, two pancakes or French toast or choice of side toast) for just $7.95.

Or, order up the buttermilk pancake stack, huevos rancheros, fried egg BLT, breakfast burrito, eggs Benedict and omelettes (farmer’s market, ham and cheese, chili cheese, Denver, Mediterranean).

Deemer’s American Grill, Plaza de La Paz, 27221 La Paz Rd., Laguna Niguel, 949-425-8770, [url=][/url]

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