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Hot in the O.C.
Georgie Porgie’s custard and burger joint makes some serious noise. But that’s what you’d expect from a tree fort.

Photo by Chris Kessler

Order No. 31?” The clerk behind the mic at Georgie Porgie’s phrases it like a question. I rush the counter. There’s precious cargo inside that white paper bag, and to hell with anyone who has longer legs and a more savage hunger than me right now. The bag bulges. I fold the top tightly over to keep the contents warm – a crispy chicken sandwich, double Porgie burger and an order of fries. I’ve also procured a dish of the frozen custard flavor of the day (PB Delight). Other customers are on my heels, waiting for their numbers to be called.

Until 10 years ago, Georgie’s was just a little custard and burger joint in the O.C. (that would be Oak Creek). A good custard and burger joint, but it lacked a certain visual punch. In ’03, founder George “Georgie Porgie” Liapis and sons Louie and Peter turned to their childlike sides. They injected the restaurant with a theme and spirit that kids of every age could appreciate: the tree fort. In the middle of Georgie’s square-shaped room is a Jack and the Beanstalk kind of “tree” encircled by a wooden table similar to the square ones lining the perimeter of the room. The tree’s foliage is festooned with twinkling white lights. The branches tickle the side of a child-size toy car suspended from the ceiling. Every detail reinforces the idea that you’re inside a clubhouse for small fries.

The menu highlights the idea of doing a few things and doing them well. The burgers start with a solid beef patty and build from there – from the American cheese filling of the Juicy Lucy to the bacon, aged cheddar and barbecue sauce of the Yee-Haw. I like the double Porgie’s loud yowl of pickles and onions. (Note for next time: Bring breath mints.) The fries are crisp sticks, just salty enough. Crisp is also what you want your chicken sandwich to be. Opt for the crispy-coated and fried patty over the grilled – unless you’re trying to be healthy. (And why would you do that?)

Frozen custard is as controversial a topic as politics. All I know is, on another visit to Georgie’s, the drumstick sundae – with waffle cone pieces, hot fudge, chocolate flakes and nuts – leaves me with little to say beyond, “Wow.” 

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