Restaurants & Bars

Los Angeles Area

Best LA burger joint? The Apple Pan!

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Best LA burger joint? The Apple Pan!

markp | Sep 15, 2000 07:22 PM

How could you fellow, ground-fried-cattle enthusiasts leave the vaunted Apple Pan out of your best LA burger discussion? Quality forever!

For those of you not in-the-know, the Apple Pan is a bonafide retro dive -- a classic, pre-McDonalds roadside burger joint that looks as if it was spun from Dorothy's Kansas tornado dream and dropped into the middle of a West Los Angeles SUV traffic jam.

Whatta dump! Inside the worn brown shutter doors winds the beat-up formica counter that comprises the entire sad, abandoned-film-noir-set interior. But the decor is all that's hangdog about The Pan. See all those contented patrons, cradling wax-papered bundles of joy to their mouths? Welcome to The Apple Pan, you lucky, soon-to-be-drooling, carnivore, you.

The Pan is perhaps one of the greatest remaining authentic greasy spoons in these United States. If you've ever been to an outlet of the mildy-annoying, okay-in-a-hunger-clutch, faux-retro Johnny Rockets chain, you already know the essential Pan menu: burgers, fries and pie. But the Pan serves it like your Grammaw used to eat it, when she wore a much younger gal's clothes. Scratch-fresh, sans kitsch-irony. The real deal.

Let's start with the french fries, since they're served as if a first course; showcased: Medium cut, golden crisp, redolent of salt and suet, finger-burn hot; I dare you not to scarf that paper saucer crumb-speck clean by the time your burger arrives.

Oh, those burgers. Be it the Hickory (slathered in unctuously guilty-gross-out-pleasure-good, spicy/sweet red sauce) or the classically appointed Wendy's-wanna-be Old-Fashioned: thick grilled patty, soft yeasty bun. Hunk of cold iceberg, schmear of eggy mayo. Sweet tomato slice, slappa tart pickles. Slather of mustard. Bingo. Thicker than an in-and-outie, leaner than a fat, toothier than a Tommy's... this noble sandwich will take you back in time and leave you leaping Century City in a single bound.

Save room for some fresh baked pie? The title variety -- ala mode; the like of which which sustained Jack Kerouac through travels coast to coast? Or perhaps you want to complete the holy cholesterol trinity and opt for a slab of cream pie. Imagine, jello-heads, a banana cream pie featuring actual sliced bananas AND real cream!

Wash it all down with a cup of joe, tipped hot by a guy in a paper hat. Rise from your swivel stood, and ROAR: (repeat) "ALL HAIL THE APPLE PAN! LONG LIVE THE APPLE PAN! QUALITY FOREVER!"

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POSTSCRIPT question for you Apple Pan regulars: which "side" are you on? I always have opted for the right (east) side of the counter, finding the tall, fleshy bespeckled counterman to be a little more affable than his mustacheod colleague on the left (west) side of the counter. Cheers.

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