Organic burger

How this Los Angeles restaurateur went from fine dining to selling organic fast food in a mall – Daily News

After trying his hand at fine dining at two pop-up high-end restaurants, Ardi Entezam, 48, now flip burgersslicing potatoes and making fries at a walk-in fast food joint inside the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles.

But the Studio City resident says this is where he was always meant to be.

Entezam is on a mission and it’s not your typical fast food restaurant.

“I want to give people the food they crave and want in the fastest way, but at the same time giving them the highest quality standards for organic food, because that’s what people deserve,” said Entezam, who opened Ardi’s Organics in the busy food business. court on September 6.

  • Ardi’s Organic Candy Pea Burger with Organic Yam, Chickpeas, Chopped Vegetable Patty with Arugula, Avocado and Tahini Sauce in the Westfield Century City Mall on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/ SCNG)

  • Ardi's Organic in the Westfield Century City shopping center Friday September 19...

    Ardi’s Organic in the Westfield Century City mall on Friday, September 30, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ardi Entezam at his Ardi's Organic restaurant in Westfield...

    Ardi Entezam at his restaurant Ardi’s Organic in the Westfield Century City mall on Friday, September 30, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ardi Entezam at his Ardi's Organic restaurant in Westfield...

    Ardi Entezam at his restaurant Ardi’s Organic in the Westfield Century City mall on Friday, September 30, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ardi Entezam at his Ardi's Organic restaurant in Westfield...

    Ardi Entezam at his restaurant Ardi’s Organic in the Westfield Century City mall on Friday, September 30, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Focusing on all organic ingredients, which means sourcing foods grown without synthetic chemicals like pesticides, hormones, fertilizers, and GMOs, plus offering gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, at first view, Entezam’s menu mostly reads like any other fast food place.

There’s a classic cheeseburger, a nacho cheeseburger, but there’s also a sugar snap pea burger. There are also regular fries and sweet yam cubes as side options on the menu.

“These are all foods that won’t make your stomach hurt,” he said. “That’s because our customers eat real beef, without any injections, so your body consumes it in a really natural way.”

Entezam, who immigrated to the United States from Iran as a young boy, got his start in the restaurant business at age 12 when he got a gig at a pizzeria; he started out as a cashier before becoming a waiter and busboy to help his mother manage the family’s finances.

Later in life he embarked on other endeavors including a cigar selling business.

But he was back in the restaurant business in the early 2000s, and Entezam risked all his savings to open two fine dining restaurants in Los Angeles. One of those restaurants was a Chinese fusion place called Empress and another was a sushi restaurant named Sushi on Sunset.

Either way, the risk wasn’t worth the reward as the restaurants didn’t last. Entezam was hit hard financially and was left homeless for almost a year.

“I ended up doing a lot of couch surfing at friends’ houses,” he said.

He eventually got back into the business, working as a waiter at the Marmalade Cafe in Malibu for about a decade before finally deciding to get into the fast food business. But, he wanted to approach things differently this time.

One of the most notable things that sets Ardi’s Organics apart from its fast food peers are the buns.

They are soft, warm, fluffy like clouds and homemade every day.

“We created the recipe for our own custom burger buns,” he said. “We don’t have any oil in our burger buns, we make them from scratch here, they’re one hundred percent vegan.”

Meanwhile, the beef patties are thin with a lightly charred rim, reminiscent of a smash burger.

“It’s an intermediate type of burger smash,” he explained. “The beef is so rich that even though the patty looks small and the burger looks small, it’s such a well-balanced, naturally put together burger that it’s all real and delicious.”

The Snap Pea Burger is Ardi’s offering for those looking for a vegan burger option, avoiding things like rice, mushrooms or corn, which are found in most veggie patties.

“I wanted to do something different, so one night it occurred to me to create a pancake of yam, chickpeas, red and yellow peppers with my own seasonings in it,” he said. “It’s just very different from everything else and with the bun it becomes a vegan burger.”

And the sweet yam cubes were a late addition to the menu.

“It came about because I didn’t want to do just another fry,” he said. “We started playing around with the yams and we created them and infused them with maple syrup, put some sea salt on them, then baked them, then lightly fried them in organic sunflower oil.”

While his other two restaurants have failed, Entezam believes he has finally found his true calling in fast food in his own way.

“I give you the best quality food possible and I do everything by hand,” he said.

Ardi’s organic products

Where: Westfield Century City Mall, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles.

Hours: 10am-9pm Monday to Saturday; 11am-8pm on Sunday

More information: ardisorganics.com