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The Apple Pan hickory burger revisited (with clear eyes)

Arthur Feb 18, 2007 06:11 PM

It seems like it's been quite a few weeks since there's been a heated debate on this board about The Apple Pan. I think we're overdue.

Personally, I hadn't been to Apple Pan in a few years, admittedly because I was never impressed with the place the several times I had been there before. But time can change one's perspective and taste...

Or not.

I was in an out-of-control burger mood today, and was already on Pico in West L.A., so I figured it was time to give Apple Pan another shot. Walking in at about 4:30 PM, the place was near capacity and I was lucky to get the last of the uncomfortably cramped stools immediately. It didn't seem like anything had changed there except the fairly steep prices. I ordered a hickory burger with cheese, fries, and a Diet Coke. Total: $11.10 ($13.00 with tip). Reality check: For that much, I could get the Double-Double combo at In 'N Out two and a half times.

Which is IMHO unquestionably a superior, saner option. I'm sorry, but the legendary Apple Pan burger is nothing the least bit special. If you're a first-timer going in with any notion that you're going to be served a classic thick, juicy burger, that illusion will likely be shattered as soon as you take your first bite. The patty, just as I remembered, is still cardboard thin, close to what you'd find at most fast-food restaurants. The sandwich was dominated by a huge wedge of iceberg lettuce with a barely perceptible bit of pickle and a single slice of cheese (50 cents extra). Tomato is not even an option. The famed hickory sauce is passable, but of no better quality than what you might purchase off any supermarket shelf. Overall, the burger tasted just fine, but was not in any way superior to what you'd expect to get from most any diner, coffee shop or Fatburger stand.

I will concede that the fries were excellent. Mine were fresh out of the fryer, very hot, golden brown and crispy.

I did not feel up to spending an additonal $5.50 for a slice of any of their pies, which I also remember as overrated.

I think the Apple Pan is just another of L.A.'s inglorious dives whose legendary status does not conform with reality. (See Canter's for another recently debated example.) Frankly, I don't see how anyone finds Apple Pan's food to be leaps and bounds ahead of its "bastard child," the Johnny Rocket's chain. Yes, you can certainly do much worse locally than an Apple Pan burger. But given the hype and the prices, that just ain't nearly good enough.

  1. j
    jenniferlovehewlettpackard Dec 4, 2007 08:14 AM

    Oh I totally agree with you! I was burgin' out one day and just couldn't find a place that realy hit the spot. I decided to try The Apple Pan and, quite frankly, I would have been just as happy going to McDonalds from the quality of the burger I got. Poorly cooked and not even put together in any sort of nice way! They might as well have put it in a box so I could put it together myself.

    1. j
      Jerome Oct 3, 2007 10:46 AM

      all this chat and not one word about cassell's - been around forever although they changed locations in the 80's...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jerome
        b
        bigredd Oct 3, 2007 11:19 AM

        cassell's has had a bit of a renaissance lately. the meat still fresh and perfectly cooked with top notch produce. just wished it was a few miles west!

      2. ElJeffe Sep 19, 2007 11:00 PM

        At the end of day, we're really debating if this place lives up to the hype, not if 'its a really good burger' And despite the authentic 1950's countertop diner experience and great apple pie, the burger is pretty on par with your every day In N' Out Burger. Sorry, but sometimes the truth can smart.

        Now can we all go back to trashing The Counter?

        3 Replies
        1. re: ElJeffe
          s
          sel Sep 20, 2007 08:14 AM

          First I will admit that I am one of the fans of The Apple Pan. It's not hype that influences me, it is quite simply that both their Steak and Hickory Burgers cooked rare with everything + xtra onion taste really good - end of story!

          When I'm traveling around California I'll sometimes grab a burger at In N Out, but although this chain does a good job their meat quality is nowhere near the high quality of The Apple Pan!

          1. re: sel
            f
            FDawson Sep 28, 2007 04:44 AM

            Apple pan is a great burger, fries, and pie. No doubt about it. It is a Los Angeles institution. All things considered, best in Los Angeles.

            1. re: FDawson
              ElJeffe Sep 28, 2007 10:16 AM

              LOL. It's not even the best burger within a one mile radius.

        2. j
          Jonzo May 6, 2007 10:26 PM

          This thread reminds me of that wonderful Yogiism, “No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded.” The Apple Pan just lives on and on and on, never changing a thing unless of necessity (such as prices) and is often packed; yet there are those who don’t get it.

          In over forty years of sitting on those old fashioned and perfectly comfy stools, after driving from either 20 miles east or 50 miles north of the place, and never wavering from my beloved Hickory Burger with Cheese, I have never encountered anything less that the pinnacle of quality, freshness, consistency and taste. If it’s not made your way, it is certainly made their way, and that’s a damned good way for my money. And the place is not just old-school, it is the old school. Even some of the grill and counter employees worked there on the day I first sat down at that ancient horseshoe counter. It’s a treasure, an institution and a damned fine place to enjoy an excellent burger. It is well worth the search for a parking place.

          OK, burger preferences may be subjective, and there is even room for those who prefer the offerings of Fat Burger or In-And-Out; but to those who claim the apple, banana cream or berry pies at the Apple Pan are less than the very best you can eat, I can only express my sympathies on not having a mother or grandmother who was a baker.

          L.A. suffers from far too few real-deal eateries, and its taste in food is being honed by the vast and ever growing numbers of chain family restaurants and drive-throughs. It is sad commentary that these are becoming looked upon not only as acceptable, but good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jonzo
            h
            handlertaper May 6, 2007 10:59 PM

            I don't love the burgers at the Apple Pan but they are pretty good. It does feel comfortable going there though since the place has been around for so long. I started going there as a kid so it feels reassuring being there. And I always order the Hickory Burger. I am glad that it still exists and I appreciate it for what it is...

          2. t
            TravelJack Feb 24, 2007 01:26 PM

            completely agree... overated. for the young college kids and new angelinos it's definately more of a "i can tell you where the best burger is" type of place. a story passed through generations of freshmen and new comers. a "fact" that's just accepted and not really tested by themselves. i do understand the nolstalgia factor and in a fast paced society we live in i suppose it isn't unreasonable for people to pay some extra cash to go back in time. i mean what else has remained the same for the last 20 years on the westside?

            7 Replies
            1. re: TravelJack
              m
              mc michael Feb 24, 2007 06:50 PM

              "i mean what else has remained the same for the last 20 years on the westside?"
              That's a provocative question. After some deep thought, the best I can come up with is the Galley Steak House in Santa Monica. Not a recommendation, just an answer of sorts. Even Chez Jay has changed.

              1. re: mc michael
                n
                nosh Feb 25, 2007 04:36 PM

                20 years unchanged on Westside: Stan's Donuts, Diddy Riesse (though the 25-cent cookie is now 3 for a buck), Hu's, The Shack (on Wilshire), Reddi-Chick.

                1. re: mc michael
                  tony michaels Feb 25, 2007 05:12 PM

                  Just had their 50th anniversary this year: Primo's Donuts in West LA - now that's good taste over the long, long run.

                2. re: TravelJack
                  HPLsauce Feb 25, 2007 09:26 PM

                  Anyone know if Billingsley's has changed in the last 20 (or 30) years?

                  1. re: HPLsauce
                    m
                    mc michael Feb 26, 2007 05:43 AM

                    Wasn't it formerly called The Golden Bull?

                    1. re: mc michael
                      tony michaels Feb 26, 2007 05:55 AM

                      The only Golden Bull I know of is the one on Channel in Santa Monica Canyon. As far back as I can recall it's always been Billingsley. If it was the Golden Bull before I wonder if that restaurant moved to the SM Cny location and Billingsley opened there on Pico?

                      1. re: tony michaels
                        m
                        mc michael Feb 26, 2007 09:16 AM

                        Dunno. I can only say in the early 70s the Pico location was The Golden Bull.

                3. b
                  bulavinaka Feb 24, 2007 01:10 PM

                  Not to try to end this spool - it's no longer a thread - but I'm personally loosing track and I just want to apologise to any and all that I might have poked in the eye in a literary sense. I stand by what I say, but can appreciate what the nay-sayers have to say as well.

                  Many feel the size and quality of the burger patty is a major point of contention. I feel this is very subjective, as - let's face it - most hamburger patties are made up of so-so cuts (mostly trimmings) and are loaded with fat. That's not a bad thing if that's what you want, in fact, you are defining a major component of your ultimate burger. Even the folks at America's Test Kitchen tested numerous batches of burger patties where they varied the percentage of meat-to-fat ratio, and found that about 10% was what most of their taste testers preferred.

                  I can definitely dig into a burger with a patty streaming with fat and that is oozing with with all the fat-laden ingredients like guacamole, cheese, mayonnaise, even butter that has been grilled onto the bun. But that's not my preference for every burger experience that I want.

                  Conversely, when I bite into a Steak burger or Hickory burger at the Pan, I taste beef - sirloin beef - this is what I have always suspected, and at least one or two other Chowdogs seam to confirm. I may be wrong - I'v never asked - but the taste of their patties remind me of the burgers my uncle used to make - nothing but ground sirloin for him. I know that ground sirloin is very lean - probably more like 3-5%, and that's probably way too lean for most, and obviously, this affords a smaller window to cook the patty before it turns into leather. Also, the grind is more coarse on the Pan's patties. This also will offer a different taste and mouth feel.

                  I know the nay-sayers either doubt this or don't like their burgers because of it, but for me, it works.

                  Again, I only go once or twice a year now, as my tastes in foods in general have changed dramatically over the past two decades. But personally, I always look forward to times when someone blurts out the words, "Hey - let's go to the Pan - feel like having a Hickory burger and fries."

                  All in all, regardless of whether it's the Apple Pan, Phillipe's, Musso & Frank's, or Tam O'Shanter, or any other food place that falls in this category, I feel we can all agree to have a strong respect for each of these institutions yet still have our strong opinions about what we like and prefer. Otherwise we'd all be lined up to be eating watered-down porridge... or is that another topic? You Chowhounders rock!

                  1. ElJeffe Feb 24, 2007 10:28 AM

                    This forum has me feeling better about what I had always suspected...Apple Pan is definitley a bit over-rated. Apple Pan really is about the experience. Almost always standing room only, a distinctive row of counters and the 1950's diner feel. But the burger itself is pretty similar to an In N' Out burger and the meat quality may even be lower. If you're expecting a great burger, you'll be disappointed. It's a good burger.

                    The best burger I've had on the West Side so far is Father's Office. It's definitely a different breed, more of a gourmet burger (gruyere/blue cheese, on baquette), and you may have to wait an hour to get a table, but well worth it. I've been to The Counter and also find that very over-rated. The possibilities are endless but the burgers are not cohesive and bland (although very large). Its also very over-priced. The Galley actually has a really good burger.

                    Has anyone been to Howard's Bacon & Avocado burgers? That place intrigues me. Always looking for advice for those also on the life-long hunt for the perfect burger.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ElJeffe
                      tony michaels Feb 24, 2007 10:35 AM

                      Howard's serves up a very ordinary to mediocre to poor burger. Don't waste your time. Go to B&R in Hawthorne.

                      Recent thread link on B&R:
                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/363871

                      1. re: tony michaels
                        k
                        kevin Feb 24, 2007 10:59 AM

                        i concur on b and r.

                    2. k
                      kevin Feb 24, 2007 09:21 AM

                      just a slice of pie with tax and tip is 7 to 8 dolldars alone.

                      5.5 for pie, .5 for tax, 6 bucks not inclusive of tip.

                      1. MBShapiro Feb 24, 2007 08:48 AM

                        I love the hickory burger. Usually my first stop when I get back to LA. I don't understand those who think the burger isn't that good. Maybe I like it more because I grew up eating it and it triggers nostalgia when I taste that hickory sauce, but I really think it's a delicious burger. Also, well done fries are top notch, as is the banana cream pie. To get a really good meal for $15? I'll take it every time.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MBShapiro
                          Mr Taster Feb 24, 2007 09:06 AM

                          With tax & tip it's more like $20.

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                        2. Alimentary My Dear Watson Feb 23, 2007 06:14 PM

                          Normally, I'd think 129 posts in a few days on a burger joint was excessive, but it's only a few people reposting the same opinion again and again.

                          Mine: I love this place, though I understand those who are conflating Gordon with the burger and thus hating on the burger....multiple times...years later...after a single visit.

                          I'd advise those folks to try again, sitting on the West side this time. (I've never sat on Gordon's side without feeling dissed. But I don't think he's really dissing anyone. I think he's just being Gordon.)

                          And I'll take a moment to synopsize the next 10 posts: It sucks It sucks It sucks It sucks It sucks It sucks It sucks It sucks It sucks.

                          Saved you guys some time. :-)

                          1. f
                            FDawson Feb 23, 2007 04:31 AM

                            We're talking about hamburgers like you're paying $650 for a dinner at Michael Mina's at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (which I did recently and left unhappy). The Apple Pan is an institution. I love that place. I second the comments about the egg salad sandwich. That is also the only place I've seen people order buttermilk with a Hamburger. I once tried to order a whole pie and eat it there with my friends because it was cheaper than ordering individual pieces. The waiter there said you couldn't eat a whole pie there. Thought that was kind of funny. I'd wait in line there anyday for a hamburger. Even if you spend $20 for a hamburger, fries, drink (cool red holders of those funky paper cups), and piece of pie, that's not too much. Parking is challenging, but everywhere on the Westside seems to be that way, including Tito's.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: FDawson
                              BeenThereAteThat Oct 2, 2007 09:52 PM

                              $20 is far too much for what you get. If it were $10 for the works, that would seem reasonable.

                              The paper cup is truly obnoxious. They overcharge for a can of soda, then serve it in the most abominable way possible. What the heck is wrong with a soda fountain? Not "authentic" enough?

                              1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                s
                                sel Oct 2, 2007 10:54 PM

                                Is it really $20 for a Steak or Hickory Burger, French Fries and a drink?

                                1. re: sel
                                  Mr Taster Oct 3, 2007 07:31 AM

                                  Including tip, yes it is. Totally agree that if it were $10, I'd go all the time.

                                  Mr Taster
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                                  1. re: sel
                                    Arthur Oct 3, 2007 05:07 PM

                                    No. It's about $20 (including tip) if you have all that AND pie. Without pie, as I noted above, it's about $13 - or at least that's how much it was when I wrote the original post last February.

                                    1. re: Arthur
                                      ElJeffe Oct 3, 2007 08:34 PM

                                      Or go to In N' Out for the same exact burger for $3.

                                    2. re: sel
                                      DanaB Dec 3, 2007 04:56 PM

                                      It is still $13 including tip for a hickory burger, fries and a coke. If you add on pie + tip on that, it will bring your total closer to $20.

                                2. a
                                  AdamFoodie Feb 22, 2007 10:11 PM

                                  I went here once and vowed never to return. they charged me the price of two cheeseburgers for a double cheeseburger. yes, 10 dollars for a double cheeseburger. ew

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: AdamFoodie
                                    s
                                    Shadow Feb 22, 2007 10:49 PM

                                    For me, the Steak Burger at the Apple Pan is the best hamburger around. I've been eating them since 1964 and still love them. I love the lettuce on the burger and the great relish, the meat is sirlion and does not taste like "k rations" like In and Out (blech) does. Don't even get me started on the comparison of the french fries...Apple Pan's tastes like ah.....potatoes...as they should. Yeah, I love the Apple Pan...I can't get into the "fast food" bugers...esp. In and out... what a joke.
                                    Shadow

                                  2. t
                                    twinpooks Feb 22, 2007 08:58 PM

                                    Thanks everybody who has been disappointed by the Apple Pan. You will leave more room at the counter for us to enjoy their fantastic food.

                                    1. m
                                      mc michael Feb 22, 2007 04:17 PM

                                      THE APPLE PAN INVESTIGATION

                                      12:45 p.m. I pulled up in front of the Apple Pan to investigate. Something was wrong because I was able to park in a legal space directly in front of this suspicious establishment.
                                      12:45:10 p.m. I walk in the door and have a choice of half a dozen seats at the counter--no waiting. Something was very wrong about this.
                                      12:45:20 p.m. I place my order for a Hickory Burger with cheese, electing to go light on the lettuce given complaints I had received about the involvement of thick green wedges. I also order a root beer. I deline the chance to get fries.
                                      12:46 p.m. The root beer arrives and it's cold.
                                      12:51 p.m. The burger arrives and it is as ordered. Somehow it doesn't taste right. I decide this is due to the lesser amount of lettuce. I can't complain about that because that's the way I requested it.
                                      12:52 p.m. As I am enjoying my burger, a customer comes up to pay for a take out order. "$18.35" he is told. He looks uncomfortable. "I don't have that much." I cock my ear anticipating that a large serving of the signature surliness of the counterman is about to be unleashed on this poor patron. "How much have you got?" "$16.00" he meekly replies. I'm waiting. "Give me that and I'll pay the rest out of my pocket. Next time you come in you can pay me back." What! Where's the surliness in that reply? What's happened to this place?
                                      12:53 p.m. I go back to my burger and root beer. I finish them quickly.
                                      12:54 p.m. I ask what pies are available. "What kind do you want?" "Banana cream," I answer. "You've got it."
                                      12:54:20 The pie arrives. I begin feeding my pie hole.
                                      12:54:30 p.m. Another patron arrives for her take out order. "$25.85." She offers the server a credit card. "We don't take cards." She considers this and says, "Then I'll write you a personal check." "Sorry, we don't take checks." She mulls this over and says, "I guess I'll go to the bank." I guess you will sister and be quick about, I think. Instead of chastising her, the server offers, "Just take the food and bring me the money when you get back from the bank." I make a note that I may have to report this man to the owners as he seems too eager to give away the restaurant's wares. And he was not surly like he was supposed to be.
                                      12:58 p.m. I finish my pie and leave.
                                      12:59 p.m. On my way back to work, I review what I have learned and my disappointments. Contrary to expectations, the parking was easy. Contrary to information provided by informants, seating was readily available. And notwithstanding the place's reputation, the server was courteous, maybe even a little too friendly to customers. This was no way to run a hash house.
                                      On the other hand, the food was good, damned good. I'm gonna have to keep an eye on this place. More investigation may be necessary.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: mc michael
                                        Mr Taster Feb 22, 2007 05:09 PM

                                        I'll bet you it wasn't Gordon running the counter during your visit! (see my experience with him above)

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                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          m
                                          mc michael Feb 22, 2007 05:31 PM

                                          Don't know his name. He was bilingual.

                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                            m
                                            maudies5 Feb 22, 2007 10:05 PM

                                            I'll bet the server was Hector. He's a true gentleman, honorable, and has good instinicts. Those folks he trusted will be back to repay him. He's one of the reasons why Apple Pan is differrent from other burger joints.

                                            1. re: maudies5
                                              k
                                              kevin Feb 23, 2007 04:28 PM

                                              Gordy, never works the daytime shift.

                                              1. re: maudies5
                                                Alimentary My Dear Watson Feb 25, 2007 05:38 PM

                                                I had a nsg experience with Hector today. This thread had reminded me of the AP, so I detoured off the 405 for lunch, snagging a spot on Hector's side. He was curt as usual (no one would call his behavior gentlemanly), but his behavior, at first, was no worse than usual, and not yet at Gordon's level.

                                                What put me off was what happened when two male Japanese tourists sat next to me. Hector demanded their order. Confused by "steakburger", one politely replied with, "excuse me, which one is..." Hector pivoted and walked away -- not to do anything, but because he just simply refused to answer a customer's reasonable question. I explained the burgers to the tourists, and when Hector finally returned, they ordered 2 hickory burgers, to which Hector barked, "Coke?!" They nodded and began to turn away, forcing them to yell "Diet" as he turned.

                                                Hector came back, opened 2 cokes, slammed them down. To my surprise, one of the Japanese guys had the balls to say, "We wanted Diet." No apology from Hector. He pointedly dropped the full cokes in the trash in front of them (insinuating it'd been their fault) and SLAMMED down two diets.

                                                I was really disgusted. No doubt Hector confirmed everything the tourists had heard about the US. I've loved the Apple Pan for twenty years and was just revolted.

                                                This guy really SHOULD be pounding the bricks. He does not deserve that job. He must clean up with tips from that gig, and he completely shat on these two polite guys.

                                                By the way, the burger was really good, and the well-done fries excellent. At $11 and change, the price wasn't any more than I would expect for a diner burger. To my taste, the food's better than Fatburger and In N Out and protestations to the contrary are silly.

                                                But the service at Apple Pan can sink to the level of sadism.

                                                1. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson
                                                  s
                                                  Shadow Feb 25, 2007 09:15 PM

                                                  Yes, the burgers are really good and the fries excellent. The "burgers" at In N Out are very cardboardy tasting.

                                                  The service staff at the Apple Pan is lacking for sure but the burger is so worth it.

                                          2. k
                                            kevin Feb 21, 2007 03:02 PM

                                            was ther just the other day. still pretty good. and i waited about three seconds for a seat.
                                            actually it was half empty.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: kevin
                                              m
                                              maudies5 Feb 21, 2007 07:00 PM

                                              Were you there before noon or after 2:30? Was it a hot day? As we know, The Pan doesn't have AC and has to rely on open windows and fans. Those are the only times I have ever found it to be "half empty."

                                              1. re: maudies5
                                                k
                                                kevin Feb 21, 2007 09:00 PM

                                                go in the evening after the dinner rush. haven't been there for lunch counter hours in quite a while.

                                            2. c
                                              chowchi1 Feb 20, 2007 03:26 PM

                                              Agree so much with your review. I gave this place a second chance years ago and henceforth have never returned. Your experience mirrors mine. Over-hyped just as Pinks!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: chowchi1
                                                SauceSupreme Feb 20, 2007 08:08 PM

                                                Uh oh, don't go there. Start a new thread instead!

                                              2. skimrunner Feb 20, 2007 12:30 PM

                                                I've always liked Apple Pan. But I went back recently, after not eating there for a year or so. It just wasn't as good as I remember it. It wasn't even that busy either. Anyway, I think it's because I've been going through a grilled/bbq meat phase. And mmm mmm, you can't beat that smoky grilled flavor.

                                                I have to make the comments below for the people who consistently have to complain about certain aspects about The Pan

                                                The servers are surly, it's crowded, parking sucks, etc.

                                                Are you going to the Apple Pan to engage in a mind-blowing conversation w/ the servers.
                                                Have you never had to wait in a line? Going grocery shopping comes to mind, there's always lines there. Does that mean you are never going to shop for groceries again? Parking sucks? Come on where do you think you live? Montana? Be happy this isn't NY or Boston. Plus, I'm sure you wouldn't mind parking 10 blocks away and have to walk through skid row in the rain to get to pinkberry.

                                                Anyway, If you don't like Apple Pan, it should be because it tastes horrible to you. Not for any of the reasons above.

                                                Phew, feels good to finally get that out after reading about the same complaints about The Pan.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: skimrunner
                                                  cagey Feb 20, 2007 04:05 PM

                                                  Wow, the Apple Pan takes another broadside from the Burger Critics!

                                                  Agree exactly with skimrunner on this one. It's not convenient (unless you parked over in Westside Pavillion, are solo, and show up at 11:15 to sneak onto a stool). A gourmet burger it is not. Just a throwback to a simpler time and lowered expectations.... with a serving system that is now harried and more frenetic than it was designed for. (There were no mobs in the mid 70s that I can recall - maybe people weren't in as much of a hurry.) I wish I knew when everyone got so spoiled. I wish I knew when *I* became so spoiled for a 9+ burger "experience." The whole world has gone upscale in their expectations, and to this the Apple Pan cannot deliver the goods.

                                                  Call me low end, but I really miss the hickory burger and pie at the Apple Pan's counter on a rainy day. It never tasted "horrible" to me.

                                                  Stop complaining or go elsewhere. I wish everybody *would* so one could get a seat. Sheesh.

                                                  1. re: cagey
                                                    m
                                                    malibumike Feb 21, 2007 08:26 AM

                                                    Maybe it died out in the 70's but there was always a wait even in 1953.

                                                    1. re: malibumike
                                                      cagey Feb 21, 2007 10:42 AM

                                                      Wait, yes. Mob, no. Expectations were limited.... at least mine were.

                                                2. k
                                                  kevin Feb 20, 2007 10:21 AM

                                                  go after 10pm on a weeknight and you won't have to wait at all.

                                                  1. purplescout Feb 19, 2007 09:19 PM

                                                    Everyone's entitled to an opinion. I grew up in West LA, eating occasionally at the Apple Pan. I've always loved it and still do. I craved Hickory Burgers when I was pregnant (good thing my OB's office isn't far away, because I live in the SFV and rarely got over the hill for anything but my checkups).

                                                    I also love the cream that they serve with the coffee. It's extra heavy, not the usual watery stuff you get everywhere else.

                                                    1. sing me a bar Feb 19, 2007 08:36 PM

                                                      Love the Pan! Love Raul, who has waited on me for decades, love the quirky seating. I like being there on Pico imagining it in it's early days when the street outside was much less traveled. It's a good burger, they'll make it rare for me, where someplaces won't allow you to get it properly rare. I used to be able to order the fries "easy" and they did them not too brown. Maybe when you grow up with a place, you're less likely to see its shortcomings.

                                                      1. m
                                                        maudies5 Feb 19, 2007 08:07 PM

                                                        Sweet:) Park at Nordstrom. That should be about 3 blocks from Apple Pan

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: maudies5
                                                          r
                                                          RoachCoach Feb 19, 2007 08:12 PM

                                                          Chowhounds give free parking too! That's what I'm talking about!

                                                        2. r
                                                          RoachCoach Feb 19, 2007 08:04 PM

                                                          I'm asking myself why I read this 56 post thread and I have to say: I propose a toast to LA HOUNDS. I love the fact that you all are able to debate Apple Pan with so much enthusiasm and panache. The apparent educational level of our hounds is a real boon to this site...and a tribute to our town and to the creators of CH.

                                                          SKOL

                                                          p.s. I think Apple Pan is a must. But only if I have to park within 3 blocks for another purpose.

                                                          1. j
                                                            judge dee Feb 19, 2007 07:55 PM

                                                            I'll weigh in.

                                                            Whenever I'm on the west side, I make a point to make it to the Apple Pan if at all possible. I don't always expect a hickory burger with cheese that is out of this world - for I have learned over the years (forty years) that one may be disappointed with this expectation; I've had my share of eh, so so burgers. Yet I hold out hope.

                                                            I continue to hope, and sometimes I'm rewarded. I don't care much about the price because I go so infrequently - so what's the difference between paying 8 bucks versus 4 bucks? I don't mind the parking hassles. I don't mind the standing against the wall for your stool. I like the fact that this place tries to do the best it can, and it sometimes does succeed.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: judge dee
                                                              m
                                                              maudies5 Feb 19, 2007 08:02 PM

                                                              You make some good points. For me, it's very much about that we are now on the 3rd generation of our family who loves Apple Pan and they love us. Those folks have seen us grow up, get married, have babies and they always remember our taste in burgers or tuna sandwiches. Hector, is our server and has been there forever. I also like standing "against the wall." This is one of the few places in Los Angeles where "grease" won't get you a better table or position. BTW, I only go there about 3 time a year, but am always welcomed as family.

                                                            2. b
                                                              B Minus Feb 19, 2007 05:56 PM

                                                              I understand that this thread is burger focused, but I think that something is being missed here. Yes, Apple Pan probably does the bulk of their business in burgers, but I don't think it's fair to label/dismiss them as a burger joint. As I've stated in an earlier post, I've only recently rediscovered the Hickory Burger, but I have had years of memorable visits without even thinking about getting a burger. Apple Pan makes a mean egg salad, a surprisingly good ham sandwich, some of the best pies in the county, and fries that are worth the trip alone. Hell, I've been and ordered nothing but fries and ice cream (you haven't lived until you've dipped Apple Pan fries in ice cream). True, you might spend a bit more (I've spent more for less). True, Apple Pan is not for claustrophobes. But a meal is the sum of it's parts. The Apple Pan experience is equal parts food and atmosphere. If you can't find something to like about either, you shouldn't go. Freedom of Choice.

                                                              1. n
                                                                nimo Feb 19, 2007 04:06 PM

                                                                The Apple Pan is still great. That is all.

                                                                1. Bon Vivant Feb 19, 2007 12:08 PM

                                                                  I haven't been for a few years but I liked the fact that I could order extra cheddar on my burger and I would actually get extra cheddar (probably most of you know how atypical that is!)

                                                                  I like the burgers there but hate the seating situation: last time that I was there we were a party of 4. Two people got up from the counter next to a single diner and then on the other side of the single diner two more people got up. If I were the single diner I would offer to move so that the party of four could sit there. Nope. She dediced that it would be better for her to sit between us. I know it's not the restaurant's fault but it just soured me on the place.

                                                                  http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Bon Vivant
                                                                    b
                                                                    bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 12:22 PM

                                                                    To me, that's the fun of eating at a counter - you are often times "forced" to intermingle and hopefully socialize with folks that you otherwise wouldn't have. It's the Forrest Gump lesson in life: like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get... except the cheese - real tillamook...

                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                      Bon Vivant Feb 20, 2007 06:40 AM

                                                                      It wasn't too fun - she wasn't as social as she was hostile.

                                                                      http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

                                                                      1. re: Bon Vivant
                                                                        b
                                                                        bulavinaka Feb 21, 2007 09:14 PM

                                                                        Sounds like you got one of the chocolates that got a finger stuck in its bottom...

                                                                    2. re: Bon Vivant
                                                                      k
                                                                      kevin Feb 20, 2007 10:18 AM

                                                                      usually peopel move over.

                                                                      But the single diner is a customer too, if she's already eating and whatnot, it's sometimes more difficult to move over, then she would have to dangle her burger in the air a while and move over.

                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                        Arthur Feb 20, 2007 10:47 AM

                                                                        I agree, especially since Apple Pan doesn't even provide so much as a plate or tray on which to place your burger (which I find is another unpleasant part of the dining experience there). Frankly, a group of 4 IMHO has no business going to Apple Pan if they strongly desire to sit together; from my limited experience there, it seems like it's often hard enough for two people to find adjacent seats. Still, I'd probably move, at least to keep the group from talking through me while I'm trying to finish my meal in peace.

                                                                        1. re: Arthur
                                                                          Bon Vivant Feb 21, 2007 10:01 PM

                                                                          Yes, I have to agree, we had no right going there (if I ever go there again it will be la sola mia). Even though I was peeved with single diner, folks from out of town loved the burger and I guess that's what counts.

                                                                          http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

                                                                    3. m
                                                                      maudies5 Feb 19, 2007 10:37 AM

                                                                      I love the Apple Pan. Re: the big chunk of iceberg lettuce-- that lettuce is always very fresh and crisp. As to the "barely perceptible" pickles-- just ask, and the waiter will give you a dish of pickles. Why do I love this place? I like that the waiters have been there forever; that they always remember that I want grilled onions, extra pickles, well-done fries and that iced tea is in front of me before I say a word. Kind of the "Cheers" of hamburger places. Oh yes, the burger is delicious.

                                                                      15 Replies
                                                                      1. re: maudies5
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                                                                        bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 10:44 AM

                                                                        Thanks, Maudies5 - don't mean to sound condescending but some just don't get it... never forget where you came from...

                                                                        1. re: maudies5
                                                                          Arthur Feb 19, 2007 11:59 AM

                                                                          I never suggested the lettuce wasn't fresh or crisp. But if I wanted a sandwich where it was OK for iceberg lettuce to so substantially overwhelm a puny amount of meat, I could go to Subway for a small fraction of the price.

                                                                          1. re: Arthur
                                                                            k
                                                                            kevin Feb 20, 2007 10:17 AM

                                                                            the lettuce here is better than subway, and the lettuce is the style of the sanwich here. take it or leave it. you point is well taken and i have also been a naysayer at times.

                                                                            Will I wait in line for a counter chair to open for even a second above a few minutes? most likely not.

                                                                            But I'll definitely drop in for a slice of coconute cream pie or chocoolate or banana pretty frequently late at night.

                                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                                              Arthur Feb 20, 2007 11:08 AM

                                                                              Better iceberg lettuce? The only difference between the iceberg lettuce at Subway and what was on my Apple Pan burger is that Subway's lettuce is chopped (and therefore more airy) while Apple Pan's was a thick brick. Some may certainly prefer one style over the other, but in my estimation it mostly means that Apple Pan might actually be putting more redundant lettuce on its sandwich than Subway notoriously does.

                                                                              1. re: Arthur
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                                                                                bulavinaka Feb 21, 2007 09:14 PM

                                                                                With the Pan's burgers, it works - just like the backyard bbq burgers. Subway? Hmmm... not even close... go to Bay Cities for a real sandwich...

                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                  k
                                                                                  kevin Feb 21, 2007 09:38 PM

                                                                                  even better than bay cities which i think is over-rated even more so than the pan is

                                                                                  Original Rinaldi's, great great stuff. and almost no wait.

                                                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                                                    b
                                                                                    bulavinaka Feb 21, 2007 09:43 PM

                                                                                    Where where where... better than the Godmother? I'm there...

                                                                                  2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                    Arthur Feb 21, 2007 10:59 PM

                                                                                    Sigh. My references to Subway were not to be taken as an endorsement of that chain's sandwiches. Quite the opposite, I brought it up as an easily recognized example of a sandwich that is overwhelmed by cheap iceberg lettuce - just like an Apple Pan burger.

                                                                                    1. re: Arthur
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      mc michael Feb 22, 2007 04:48 AM

                                                                                      If you don't want so much lettuce, ask them to go light on the green.

                                                                                      1. re: mc michael
                                                                                        Arthur Feb 22, 2007 11:27 AM

                                                                                        "If you don't want so much lettuce, ask them to go light on the green." Of course anyone could do that. You're only deflecting attention from the main point, which is: THERE JUST AIN'T MUCH BURGER THERE.

                                                                                        What certain Apple Pan supporters on this page seem to miss is that, for the rest of us, the restaurant has crossed the line as far as the cost-benefit value analysis goes. I don't think anyone here has said Apple Pan makes a wretched, inedible burger (or any other menu item). What has been said, instead, is that it simply and objectively is not particularly impressive nor is it worth the price, the discomfort and/or the hassle.

                                                                                        As I've stated repeatedly, if you don't mind that and still want to support the place based on other criteria, I wholeheartedly respect that, and more power to you. I sincerely hope the restaurant can continue to survive and thrive with customers like you who genuinely enjoy the true Apple Pan experience.

                                                                                        But the bigger mythology of The Apple Pan is one that I feel does not hold up well to objective scrutiny, and it deserves to be examined, debated and perhaps debunked. Otherwise, it may have become nothing more than another overpriced establishment hyping its own brand of snake oil for tourists and suckers.

                                                                                        1. re: Arthur
                                                                                          Mr Taster Feb 22, 2007 11:57 AM

                                                                                          Very well put.

                                                                                          Look, as I see it there are three classes of burgers.

                                                                                          There's the "fancy burger" like Father's Office, $14 price point (arugula, compote, blah blah)

                                                                                          There's the "restaurant burger" at a $6-$8 price point (thick patty, hefty bun)

                                                                                          And lastly, there's the humble fast food burger, at a $1-$3 price point (thin patty, thin bun)

                                                                                          In my opinion there is nothing that Apple Pan offers which raises it to the "restaurant burger" level. Consider that most "restaurant burgers" bulk up their sandwich with MEAT, not an extra 5 cents of purported "high quality" lettuce... which also bugs me since iceburg lettuce is cheaper than dark green leafy varieties. So where is this "quality forever" they're talking about??).

                                                                                          Some people here speak of Tillamook cheddar with reverence as if it were some high cost import from the English countryside. Guys, Tillamook is mass produced supermarket cheese. I'm not saying it's not tasty-- I eat plenty of supermarket cheese. But I feel this praise which justifies the high cost of an average product is representative of the "emperor's clothes" phenomenon which somehow sustains the Apple Pan's business ad infinitum.

                                                                                          To each his own. I just don't get it.

                                                                                          Mr Taster
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                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                            Mr Taster Feb 22, 2007 12:03 PM

                                                                                            I'll reply to my own post.

                                                                                            Thought you might like to compare and contrast to an equivalent thread about DiFara's pizza in Brooklyn, where people have complained about terrible wait times as the old man who makes legendary pizza is very forgetful and inefficient.

                                                                                            The difference here is that in the end the pizza at DiFara is the best in the city, and the owner does not charge exhorbitant prices.

                                                                                            The apple pan "experience" can claim neither of these caveats.

                                                                                            I seriously don't mind waiting for a good product-- I'll do it at DiFara. But with Apple Pan I feel like it's a case of adding insult to injury.... even after waiting/parking/paying 3x the market rate for a fast food meal, in the end the burger is completely average.

                                                                                            Oh what, dear god, is the point?

                                                                                            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/361315

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                                                                                      2. re: Arthur
                                                                                        b
                                                                                        bulavinaka Feb 22, 2007 08:21 PM

                                                                                        I can't see any other lettuce being in a conventional burger other than Iceberg... and I guess you don't buy iceberg often - it can be relatively expensive. Anyway, I don't agree with your point, but your clarification is noted... thanks

                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                          Mr Taster Feb 22, 2007 09:09 PM

                                                                                          Check out the burgers they prepare at the sandwich grill at the Whole Foods at 3rd and Fairfax (of all places). At $5.50 it is a hefty, wonderful thing-- truly a bargain (especially for the rediculosly high prices they generally charge at WF) Somehow the burger actually looks like the picture perfect advertising photo of what a hamburger should be, including bright green leafy lettuce. The hamburger itself tastes smoky and delicious-- bun toasted with a little scmear of the saffron colored "special sauce". Give it a shot!

                                                                                          Mr Taster
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                                                                                            bulavinaka Feb 24, 2007 06:59 PM

                                                                                            Green Leaf lettuce, or green leafy lettuce? I personally don't care for the first one... Have had to use that a couple times in substitution for Iceberg... just not the same for me... otherwise this place sounds like it deserves a try. The only problem is I'm in the Westside, and going to 3rd and Fairfax from here requires serious persistance...

                                                                            2. l
                                                                              LuluTheMagnificent Feb 19, 2007 10:26 AM

                                                                              I'm willing to bet if Authur had never heard of the place, stumbled in, this would be a different review. just sayin'.

                                                                              37 Replies
                                                                              1. re: LuluTheMagnificent
                                                                                Arthur Feb 19, 2007 11:23 AM

                                                                                With all due respect, Lulu, that's exactly wrong. The key point of my review is that the burger was merely OK but nothing remotely special, especially considering the price and the fairly uncomfortable accommodations. Without any prior knowledge whatsoever of the place's history and reputation, an uninformed neophyte might very likely think the Apple Pan was an outrageous rip-off joint.

                                                                                I understand and appreciate the Apple Pan advocates on this page who vociferously support the place based on its nostalgic value, its decades-long resilience, and its relationship with the community and its employees. That's all extremely valid on its own subjective terms, and more power to all of you for almost literally putting your money where your mouths are.

                                                                                But it speaks volumes that almost none of those Chowhounds so far have chosen to root their support of the place in terms of the quality and value of the food itself.

                                                                                1. re: Arthur
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  mc michael Feb 19, 2007 12:28 PM

                                                                                  To the contrary, I think Apple Pan lives up to it's slogan, "Quality Forever." The bun, the meat, the lettuce, the cheese are all good and fresh. The sauce is good as well. And the pies.... It may not be the highest quality today in terms of designer burgers, foie gras burgers, kobe burgers, et al., but it's the same very good quality it has been for years. There hasn't been the decline one sees all too often in such institutions. There's a lot to be said for such consistency.

                                                                                  1. re: mc michael
                                                                                    Arthur Feb 19, 2007 12:46 PM

                                                                                    "There's a lot to be said for such consistency." No doubt. But what if it's consistently and merely "very good quality," like anyone might reasonably expect from a standard coffee shop or diner? Does The Apple Pan merit the praise and the price just for that? Not in the estimation of many people who have responded on this board.

                                                                                    1. re: Arthur
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      mc michael Feb 19, 2007 12:59 PM

                                                                                      OK, I'll bite. Where in LA is this hypothetical coffee shop or diner where I can get an AP quality burger apparently at a lesser price? As for the estimation of many, sometimes the many are misinformed. Examples abound. Ciao!

                                                                                      1. re: mc michael
                                                                                        Arthur Feb 19, 2007 01:42 PM

                                                                                        It's not a hypothetical coffee shop or diner. It's pretty much any decent coffee shop or diner. While I typically get my burger fixes at In 'N Out, in recent memory I've had quite good (sometimes better than that) burgers at Cafe '50s, the Headlines diner in Westwood Village, Hamburger Habit, even Denny's. None of those places completely knocks my socks off - but neither does The Apple Pan. And that's my key point, whether you agree with it or not.

                                                                                        "As for the estimation of many, sometimes the many are misinformed." True, but, with all due respect, that can just as easily be redirected back at you and all those who have over-glorified, trend-ified, and fallen under the spell of no-better-than-competent establishments like The Apple Pan.

                                                                                        1. re: Arthur
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          mc michael Feb 19, 2007 01:57 PM

                                                                                          The whole point of Apple Pan is it's not trendy. It's done the same thing for years--the antithesis of trend. Have fun at Denny's.

                                                                                          1. re: mc michael
                                                                                            Arthur Feb 19, 2007 02:10 PM

                                                                                            Anything is trendy when enough people support it based purely on the hype.

                                                                                          2. re: Arthur
                                                                                            b
                                                                                            bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 10:38 PM

                                                                                            I can agree with you on Hamburger Habit - they are a life support system for a great burger and fries combo... and their shakes... wow... It was this place where my son started down the dark road of fat food... Arthur - you're still kickin' him... but I think he's getting up again...

                                                                                            1. re: Arthur
                                                                                              j
                                                                                              Jack Flash Feb 19, 2007 11:29 PM

                                                                                              The quality of meat at Apple Pan far surpasses the typical coffee shop burger; blows it out of the water, really. And it's criminal to compare it to the Oreo cookie-sized patty at an In 'n' Out.

                                                                                              In fact, although I can never decide if I prefer the hickory or the steak burger at AP, I think the best way to try it is just plain - meat & bun only. That way, you can truly appreciate the difference in the meat, the quality of the bun, and the way the edges get crisped just so.

                                                                                              And the fries - not too thin, not too thick, and cooked properly to order (I ask for 'em well done, and they achieve the proper texture).

                                                                                              It costs more than fast food, but really, you get what you pay for.

                                                                                            2. re: mc michael
                                                                                              e
                                                                                              Ernie Feb 20, 2007 12:16 AM

                                                                                              Big Mike's in San Pedro. $7.50 gets you an enormous Big Mike burger with hot link, side of fries, and a drink. Their patty alone is bigger and tastier than the whole thing at AP.

                                                                                            3. re: Arthur
                                                                                              b
                                                                                              bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 01:03 PM

                                                                                              Praise for what it has done successfully for more years than I've been around, yes. Justifying price? It's all relative. Economics 101. Can one justify paying 10 bucks for a popcorn and soda at the movie theatre? Sure, if it's part and parcel to the experience to which I am seeking, and can afford to do so.

                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                Arthur Feb 19, 2007 01:50 PM

                                                                                                "Can one justify paying 10 bucks for a popcorn and soda at the movie theatre?" bulavinaka, what you are saying, whether you realize it or not, is that just like popcorn and soda are not objectively worth $10 bucks, neither is an Apple Pan burger. I agree.

                                                                                                "Sure, if it's part and parcel to the experience to which I am seeking, and can afford to do so." Like I said, if you want to support the place and believe this is an experience worth seeking, more power to you.

                                                                                                1. re: mc michael
                                                                                                  Arthur Feb 19, 2007 02:23 PM

                                                                                                  mc michael, I understand the concept of gestalt just fine, thank you. No need to continue attacking me personally.

                                                                                                  At Apple Pan, yes, it's possible that, to some, the whole experience may be greater than the sum of its parts. But if that's your standard, it's a subjective one that could hold just as true for some ardent supporters of McDonald's. It does not automatically hold up to any standard of objective truth.

                                                                                                  1. re: Arthur
                                                                                                    m
                                                                                                    mc michael Feb 19, 2007 02:28 PM

                                                                                                    No need to be defensive, Arthur. Here's a guy who agrees with you: http://www.losanjealous.com/2007/02/1... Looks like two places just opened at the counter.

                                                                                                    1. re: Arthur
                                                                                                      tony michaels Feb 22, 2007 03:05 PM

                                                                                                      You say "It does not automatically hold up to any standard of objective truth."

                                                                                                      Are you saying that it is an "objective" truth that Apple Pan does not offer a hamburger that is as good as any other restaurant than one can name in LA?

                                                                                                      1. re: tony michaels
                                                                                                        Arthur Feb 22, 2007 05:14 PM

                                                                                                        Tony, to answer your question as you phrased it, I absolutely think the objective truth is that there are better hamburgers in LA. Objectively, by all the standard criteria, I believe most people here - even the Apple Pan supporters - would say that is beyond question. I don't recall anyone on this page defending the Apple Pan hamburger as much as the whole Apple Pan experience.

                                                                                                        But your question seems to misunderstand my quoted point, which was that if you evaluate the merits of Apple Pan only by some gestalt experiential standard, the results would be extremely subjective. So, for example, some people here have found The Apple Pan to be an overpriced dive while others argue passionately that it is a welcome throwback to a lost era. Who's right? Both are, because there is no objectively correct response.

                                                                                                    2. re: Arthur
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                                                                                                      bulavinaka Feb 21, 2007 08:47 PM

                                                                                                      Thanks - I think that's the whole point of my original response... To some, it's all about a fat greasy berger that is overflowing with ingredients not even heard of when the Pan opened. To others, it's price point. To me, in this case, it's about an institution that earned its reputation on so many merits - many of which don't apply to many who are in different camps in this thread. However, as is obvious, you have your priorities, as do I... Thanks for starting up a very entertaining and lively post.

                                                                                              2. re: Arthur
                                                                                                b
                                                                                                bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 12:45 PM

                                                                                                The quality is there - never had a wilted slice of lettuce - it's always a crisp wedge, their buns are always fresh, their fries are killer, and their pies taste great. Oh yeah, they do use real tillamook cheddar cheese. I believe many HAVE mentioned this. I think the biggest complaint relative to your argument is that the meat is dry and small. You're right, and that is my one complaint about the place too. I think it's because the meat they use is too lean. I believe they use sirloin, if I'm not mistaken. At least it tastes of ground sirloin. No, the Pan doesn't do Father's Office's take on what a hamburger should be. No, not even close to In-and-Out. In fact, if I were to choose my current taste in burgers, I'd say it was closer to In-and-Out, but their fries suck - you need to doublefry a freshly cut potato and they don't - what's a real burger with a decent side of fries? That's like playing tennis without a racket.

                                                                                                Arthur, you keep wanting to kicking this old man for not being what you want him to be, but he's a tough old man with alot of character.

                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                  Arthur Feb 19, 2007 02:07 PM

                                                                                                  "Arthur, you keep wanting to kicking this old man for not being what you want him to be, but he's a tough old man with alot of character." It's not about what I want him or it to be, at least not more than in any other restaurant evaluation. It's about the objective truth. I do give Apple Pan points for maintaining its own heritage. But I think the overall actual experience of patronizing that particular heritage is vastly overrated.

                                                                                                  1. re: Arthur
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                                                                                                    bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 05:54 PM

                                                                                                    10.4 good buddy...

                                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                      mc michael Feb 19, 2007 07:11 PM

                                                                                                      6.

                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                        Mr Taster Feb 19, 2007 07:35 PM

                                                                                                        Apple Pan is high priced nostalgia without the substance.

                                                                                                        Now consider Phillippe's in Chinatown. $2.50 for a huge wedge of heavenly banana cream pie plus 9 cents for the coffee. Compare with apple pan's $8+ fiasco for roughly twice the dose of old world LA charm and "quality forever" for nearly 3x the price.

                                                                                                        Bulavinaka, surely you can appreciate the difference between the two institutions with particular regard to the Apple Pan's naked emperor?

                                                                                                        Mr Taster
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                                                                                                          bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 09:40 PM

                                                                                                          I've been dragged down to Phillipe's enough times to know that they are overrated as well. The difference for me is that with Phillipe's, I get an okay experience with alot of attitude at the counter from the women working behind there. I consider myself a relatively polite and empathetic person, especially when face-to-facing with customer contact people. I used to work in alot of those types of jobs and know how much easier one's day could be if the customer is willing to be at your level - not looking down at you... I have consistantly gotten attitude at Phillipe's, and that's why it's not even on my radar anymore. I've mentioned this in other threads - I don't care how good a product or service is, nor whether it is a mom&pop, or a global conglom... if they don't respect the customer, then I won't patronize them.

                                                                                                          Conversely, at the Pan, the guys are always low-key but very polite. Plus they are closer as I live on the Westside. Why should I drive to the far end of downtown to have a waitress give me attitude and then curse me out in mumbling Spanish when I don't leave a tip because of her attitude? And I don't really concern myself with their coffee - I personally don't like it, no matter what the price. But I will be honest - I have never tried their banana cream pie... and if I get dragged down there again, maybe that will be the only thing I will try - ordered by someone else so I don't get the attitude...

                                                                                                          The Pan's emperor may be naked, but his subjects embrace him...

                                                                                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                            e
                                                                                                            Ernie Feb 19, 2007 11:53 PM

                                                                                                            We have been going to Phillipe's for 3 generations and have never received any "attitude" from the counter women. It is a very blue collar establishment with basic counter service, so not sure what the expectation is.

                                                                                                            In contrast, for the same 3 generations the most "attitude" we have consistently encountered has been from westside restaurants and their patrons, ironically at higher-end restaurants. I think most native Angelenos can attest to this.

                                                                                                            1. re: Ernie
                                                                                                              k
                                                                                                              kevin Feb 20, 2007 10:05 AM

                                                                                                              the expectation is that you tip em a couple bucks, which usually they don't really deserve. When people start tipping at McD's then so so should people at Phillipe's, after all, they haven't hand-sliced their meats for years.

                                                                                                            2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                              Mr Taster Feb 20, 2007 01:41 AM

                                                                                                              I've had precisely the opposite experience.

                                                                                                              I really don't understand how it is possible to get attitude from Philippe's carving women. I mean really, you interact with them for such a brief period of time... just say "2 lamb sandwiches, banana cream pie and 2 coffees" and hand over your money. What else is there to say? It's not like they're forgetting you at your table and not refilling your water all night long.

                                                                                                              At the Apple Pan I've had an extremely surly experience, in particular from that big guy who looks like Drew Carey's grandpa. I was talking to him once about how dense and impressive their whipped cream was, because I have never been able to get a metal spoon to stand up in my homemade whipped cream they way you can with theirs. I asked the guy how they did it, and he gave me this insane, crazy look as if I were a spy trying to glean trade secrets from him. He virtually ignored me the rest of the time I was there. I finished my $23 fast food meal and left. (That was the last time I was there, about 2 years ago)

                                                                                                              Mr Taster
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                                                                                                                b
                                                                                                                bulavinaka Feb 20, 2007 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                I always start with, "Hi, how are you today?" if the person on the other side of the counter hasn't. The consistant reply is, "so what do you want?" Okay, so maybe she's busy, one is never too busy to acknowledge common courtesy. Then, they want to push the salads on me after I've placed the order for a dip, chips, soda. I decline, and they give this cursed look at me like I've just insulted their family. I don't get it, but it has happened to me every one of the half dozen times I've been there. Whether it's during lunch from jury duty, or going down there on a day off, it's been the same. Maybe they're mistaking me for someone else who is a cursed customer - I really don't know. I really like these old storied places and am willing to pay the premium - whether it's a high price, bad traffic, or nonexistant parking, but I won't tolerate a place that doesn't have common courtesy as a prerequisite. And that's why I won't tip them.

                                                                                                                As for your experience, yours sounds like the equivalent of mine, only I probably would have felt alot more uncomfortable being that you'd still have this guy's gut staring you straight in your face... sorry to hear about it. At least the the carvers and I can exchange dirty looks from afar. But as you mention about Phillipe's, my experience has been the opposite at the Pan. I guess there's no convincing each other of our views - I'll sulk on the counter over a steak burger w/ fries at the Pan...

                                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  mc michael Feb 20, 2007 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                  "I guess there's no convincing each other of our views - I'll sulk on the counter over a steak burger w/ fries at the Pan..."
                                                                                                                  Aw, don't be a thread killer. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: mc michael
                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                    bulavinaka Feb 21, 2007 09:10 PM

                                                                                                                    Ok... i've been away but I caught my breath... made a few replies and I can see no one's really come up with a killer response yet... looks like the same folks still think I'm stuffy and overdemanding at one place, and cut too much slack for the Pan... you gotta admit though, as small as the burger is at the Pan, it really tastes good - I mean the quality of the meat itself... all the other named burger places that I'm familiar with have fat oozing from their patties... not to say that's a bad thing, as most will agree that about 90% lean is about right, but I would venture a guess and say that most other burger joints are probably about 80-85% lean - that's a gang load of fat... One has to wonder about the comparative quality of meat... I guess those arguing that it's all about value have their own definitions of value...

                                                                                                                2. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                  k
                                                                                                                  kevin Feb 20, 2007 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                  Taster, I can defintiely agree with you on that at times. Gordon is pretty nuts, and sometimes he's ok and sometimes he just goes completely nuts.

                                                                                                                  I stopped going to the Apple Pan for quite a few years then in the past year starting going again. Because of a few things, first, I sort of let down my grudge.

                                                                                                                  Also, it's way convenient, it's definitely the best burger/pie joints around town open until midnight almost every day of the week. And if you go late nite you don't have to deal with all the touristy lines crap and whatnot.

                                                                                                                  The burger is better than Johnny's Rockets, Fatburger (and I actually like Fatburger), and any of the other big fast food chains. The burger is about twice the thickness of an In N Out single burger, but much tastier. Whoever said the Pan doesn't have a very thick juicy burger is correct. It is a platonic lunchroom burger, in the old fashioned manner.

                                                                                                                  And the pies are the best in Southern California, except for the namesake apple pie which is beyond disgusting and terriblely average. The best are the cream pies, and the whipped cream on these pies are head and shoulders above the pies at Phillipe's but once again Phillipe's pies are about a half to possibly a third the cost.

                                                                                                                  Lastly, the career waiters at Apple Pan are nothing necessarily special in my opinion. As long as the burger grill man and the fry cooks in the open kitchen/grill don't have a high turnover we'll be all right. Now the waiters are a different story. Some hounds and others have really warmed up to the servers, but others including me have not. I guess one of the big gimmicks here is to have their waiters here forever too.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                    Arthur Feb 20, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                    Sorry, but in no way are those Apple Pan toaster-size burgers anywhere near twice the thickness of In 'N Out patties (unless you're factoring in the ridiculous mound of Apple Pan lettuce). Furthermore, as I noted in my original post, a Double-Double combo at In 'N Out, which contains two patties, is less than half the price of the single-patty meal at Apple Pan.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Arthur
                                                                                                                      k
                                                                                                                      kevin Feb 20, 2007 11:15 AM

                                                                                                                      Arhur, the burger patty at the Pan definitely have to be at least one and 1/2 to 2x the size of a single in n out burger patty.

                                                                                                                      I think in n out is 1/8 pound or less per patty.

                                                                                                                      But yes, there is no question that an in n out burger is a fourth to a fifth the price of a pan burger (ap burger is close to 7, and in n out is 1.85 or 1.65?).

                                                                                                                      But as far as taste goes, the apple pan burger will win every time, and of course that's not the best dish on the menu, that would have to go to the pies.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                                                                        Arthur Feb 20, 2007 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                        Kevin, the Apple Pan burger is wider, i.e., has a somewhat bigger circumference than In 'N Out's. It may be a bit thicker as well, but in no way appeared to be 1.5 - 2 times as thick.

                                                                                                                        As for the taste, to each his/her own, but I don't agree. Most of the flavor and juice in my Apple Pan hickory burger (AKA "the lettuce sandwich topped with a thin patty") came from the lettuce brick and the sauce - which, incidentally, I noticed left a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth many hours after the meal, long after I typed up the original post.

                                                                                                              2. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                mc michael Feb 19, 2007 09:48 PM

                                                                                                                Philippe's certainly has its strengths and you've mentioned but two of them. But it's not a one on one comparison to AP. Clearly, reasonable (?) minds may differ about AP. Some folks may not like Philippe's. I like them both, although the Pan's coffee is both more expensive and better (I remember when the cream came in little individual glass bottles). Now, if only AP had Philippe's wines by the glass.

                                                                                                        2. re: Arthur
                                                                                                          r
                                                                                                          rancherostyl Dec 3, 2007 04:38 PM

                                                                                                          In all the fuss over the AP, the fact is, the place just puts its head down and keeps doing what it's been doing. I've never seen an ad for it, or a quote from one of the guys behind the counter anywhere, unlike the Kobe-slinging darlings singing their own praises. Somebody (including me) thinks the burgers are great, and it's doubtful that it would remain open long if it was just running on hype.

                                                                                                          1. re: rancherostyl
                                                                                                            s
                                                                                                            sel Dec 3, 2007 10:18 PM

                                                                                                            Well said!!!

                                                                                                            1. re: sel
                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                              rancherostyl Dec 4, 2007 03:06 PM

                                                                                                              Cheers Sel!

                                                                                                      2. m
                                                                                                        malibumike Feb 19, 2007 09:15 AM

                                                                                                        I used to go to the Apple Pan when we used to pick up my dad from 20th Century Fox Studios just east of the pan on pico in the early 1950's. I still love the hickory burger and the fries are the best, but because of the distance I dont get there often, and yes even in the 50's we had to stand against the wall and wait for somebody to finish. But I will agree that for what you get the price of the burger is outrageous, probably a factor of the real estate prices there.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: malibumike
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 10:27 AM

                                                                                                          I think the premium price point is sustainable due to the large number of tourists that pay them a visit. And again, they have a niche that few other restaurants have... maybe Pinks, Phillipe's and the venerable Musso & Frank's as well as Tam O'Shanter. I guess that's the price one pays for a slice of nostalgia... and to me, it's a small price...

                                                                                                        2. m
                                                                                                          mc michael Feb 19, 2007 08:44 AM

                                                                                                          BTW, you can get a double burger at Apple Pan, but I think they charge a premium for it. Heard some guy order one just the other day.

                                                                                                          1. d
                                                                                                            Diana Feb 19, 2007 08:37 AM

                                                                                                            If I want a burger, I think I'd always go whole hog and get a double double animal style. With fries..and a vanilla shake. My artereis are hardening at the thought, but I am drooling.

                                                                                                            The apple pan is only worth it for the banana cream pie.

                                                                                                            1. Pei Feb 19, 2007 08:19 AM

                                                                                                              I agree with the poster who describes Apple Pan's burger as not unpleasant, but perfectly ordinary. I would expect something equally delicious from even the most ordinary weekend backyard grill party, with nothing more exotic than Costco patties and buns (that is, tasty but not extraordinary). People are willing to pay the prices for the sake of nostalgia, convenience, the pie...but not because it's an exceptional burger in and of itself IMO.

                                                                                                              Our conversation after our first trip there went something like this:

                                                                                                              "Well, that was good." (shrug)
                                                                                                              "Yeah, it was." (mildly enthusiastic nod)
                                                                                                              "Yeah, not bad at all."
                                                                                                              pause
                                                                                                              "But kind of pricey, right?"
                                                                                                              "Yeah" (more enthusiastic nod)
                                                                                                              "We could just go to In N' Out."
                                                                                                              "Actually, I like In N' Out better."
                                                                                                              "But it's far."
                                                                                                              "yeah."

                                                                                                              1. b
                                                                                                                bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                I was a little taken aback by some who not just quipped but outright attacked a storied institution such as this. Maybe it's an LA thing, where so many of us move here from everywhere else, and really have no respect for what's here - only for what was but now a memory back home. And we don't realize that a restaurant being open for 60 years in LA is the equivalent of driving your 1947 Chevy pickup every day since the day you rolled it off the carlot, and it's still working fine in its original condition. Moreover, this loyal workhorse has been with you through good times and bad. Every time you climb into this long time friend, nostalgia is one day deeper, and your experience with her is that much richer. I think what one has to keep in mind is the fact that the Apple Pan hasn't changed its formula since I've been going - my first experience was as a youth in the 60s - and they are still going strong - maybe even stronger - I don't recall the now-everpresent lines as a kid. You can take it or leave it - I mean the burgers, the fries, even the slice of pie. But you can't knock their willingness, or should I say persistance, to stick to their guns and not change their concept, if not just for the shear marketing strategy that places them in a niche all their own, but maybe also for "old timers" like me, and older timers who can still stop by, if only once or twice a year, and still reach back to a time when a burger like this was something to behold. Maybe many of you don't have the fateful privilege of being a native Angeleno since LA stole the Dodgers from Brooklyn, but I'd be willing to bet a dime to donuts that if you were, such insults might be a little more tempered. Maybe I'm being too easy, or maybe you folks don't understand that it's not about the burger, but the burger experience. As I mentioned in the banana cream pie post, c'mon guys, cut the "old man" some slack.

                                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                  m
                                                                                                                  mc michael Feb 19, 2007 08:34 AM

                                                                                                                  Exactly, many of the burger joints touted on this board will be long gone and Apple Pan will soldier on. There's also something about the fact that the servers there never seem to leave.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mc michael
                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                    bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 10:12 AM

                                                                                                                    You're right about the staff - some have been around since I was a kid...

                                                                                                                  2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                    monkuboy Feb 19, 2007 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                    Mc Donald's has been around for eons too, and they will just keep soldiering on, also. That same hamburger they started with is still there and they've stuck to their guns about how they make it. They get some pretty long lines themselves.. (as you can see, I am not enamored of Apple Pan.. never did see what the fuss was about)..

                                                                                                                    1. re: monkuboy
                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                      bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                      Wrong monkuboy - look at their menu. I'm not a fan of Micky-D's but I think a better comparison could have been chosen. They've mad drastic changes in so many ways. They saw revenues falling back in the mid-90s because they weren't addressing what a more varied market was wanting... they first tried raising prices in an attempt to overcome falling revenues, but sales fell even further. They had no choice but to address their large-scale market's demands. That burger you refer to is but a small portion of revenue on their menu. And that burger was and still is a fond memory of what was part of a great burger meal for 25 cents. Believe it or not, that used to suffice as a burger for most back in the day. Times have changed and so have tastes.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                        monkuboy Feb 19, 2007 11:36 AM

                                                                                                                        Well I agree with you, McD was probably a poor choice, but regardless, I find Apple Pan to be vastly overrated. There are other similar-type "institutions" out there that are just as mystifying - like El Coyote. I guess you pay a premium for the reputation, and the nostalgia. Like you said, Bulavinaka, times have changed and so have tastes so while Apple Pan may have had what was considered a great burger back in their early days, there is more to choose from now (although even back then I wondered if I had ordered the wrong thing because it sure was disappointing).

                                                                                                                        Now that said, just to show you that one person's food is another person's poison, I have to say that I LOVE Tito's tacos, another place that brings up strong opinions on the CH board, lol.

                                                                                                                        1. re: monkuboy
                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                          bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                                                                                          Oh man, Tito's - that's a great example... they used to be considered great Mexican food when I was young... Their burritos had those big chunks of beef, and their tacos - albeit fried - could be eaten endlessly. I've since moved on because the lines are unbearable and I find "more authentic" Mexican food to be to my liking, but if the lines happen to be short and I feel like having some great chips and that killer salsa, Tito's is my local throwback to what Mexican food represented to so many of us.

                                                                                                                          You may have ordered the right thing at the Pan - just disappointed because it isn't the greatest burger by far in LA. Again, I am defending the institution that it represents... I don't know how old you are but I'm old enough to remember when there was only one McDonalds in the general Westside area, on La Tijera, about a block west of La Cienega... with that said, I've seen the evolution of so many cuisines and food items. There are so many choices now that eclipse their forefathers, but I still pay reverence to the institutions that created the foundations of which the newbies now stand. As I've said in another post, never forget your past.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                            monkuboy Feb 19, 2007 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                            I understand what you're saying - true, it does represent an instituion. As for the McD on La Tijera - yup, that's the first one I ever went to. We'd go there after a "tough" night of slot car racing at Revell Raceway next door! At the time I was amazed at how good all their food tasted, especially the french fries. I remember them as being better back then but maybe my memory has rearranged the facts? You are right about the institutions and foundations: they have inspired others to get into the business, often with a resolve to go one up and as a result, us hungry folks have benefitted from that.

                                                                                                                            1. re: monkuboy
                                                                                                                              b
                                                                                                                              bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 05:57 PM

                                                                                                                              i'm guessing we probably raced slots on the same tracks, probably at the same time and didn't even know it - I'm sure you kicked my butt too... I was the one always salvaging my car at the other end o the track... ;)

                                                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                                monkuboy Feb 20, 2007 07:45 AM

                                                                                                                                My car used to fly off the top of the banked turns on the Grand Prix and Imperial courses.. haha - that was so much fun. I was in junior high and thought that McD was the best deal around in those days. Also I read your Phillipes post below and must say I have to disagree.. while it isn't anything fantastic, I feel it is better than most and also priced reasonably (whereas AP is overpriced). But to each their own. It's nice to reiminisce about the old Revell's..

                                                                                                                                1. re: monkuboy
                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka Feb 21, 2007 08:41 PM

                                                                                                                                  I was probably the worst slot car driver to have walked through those doors... If I made it all the way around - just one lap, that was a victory for me... I stand by my Phillipe's experiences. Now it's not to say though, that they don't offer a great bargain for your money - how can you beat the price of their coffee - only I think their coffee is pretty bad by today's standards. Their sandwiches are good, but not great. Again, the price leaves you saying, "wow, that was a great meal." And as I've mentioned here and other threads, I can't knock the institution - only have the deepest respect for those who have been doing something right for so so long...

                                                                                                                    2. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                      broncosaurus Feb 19, 2007 02:49 PM

                                                                                                                      I've lived here all my life. What YOU don't understand is that I don't spend my money on someone's product just because somebody decides to make a mediocre burger in a drab setting under an inefficient setting for half a century, gets away with it due to various factors...convenience, trendiness, inertia, whatever...and then somebody else insists I just have to go like some zombie extra from "The Dawn of the Dead".

                                                                                                                      I like good value when I eat. Apple Pan is a nothing-burger in a poor environment. Hey, if I got people to pay their money under those conditions I'd get up at 5 in the morn to serve them too and wouldn't change a thing. But you'd never catch me on the other side of the counter.

                                                                                                                      Now give me a burger from the old defunct Wich Stand on Slauson any day...(once had waitresses on roller skates)

                                                                                                                      1. re: broncosaurus
                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                        bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 06:13 PM

                                                                                                                        So true - what you're describing about the Pan is pretty accurate, and that's how you perceive not to have your burger experience, but as this hornet's nest attests, many do for alot of reasons that are important to them, including alot of those negatives that you list that are perceived as positives for many of us. As far as trendiness, if that were the case, we'd be seeing pseudo-Pans popping up all over LA, just like the current cupcake and froyo shops. Again, this is a special niche that they and only a few others occupy. It's a very exclusive club that can ask a premium for their goods, like it or not.

                                                                                                                        How you feel about good value when you eat is how I feel when it comes to Malaysian and Mexican food - really top-knotch street food, like burgers, that I feel unfortable paying alot of money for - I think we've crossed pathes on this... but to me, I don't find paying an extra few bucks on a mediocre patty on a great nostalgic trip a very big price to pay once or twice a year now.

                                                                                                                        Are you referring to the old sandwich stand back in the 60s that is now Del Taco in Culver City?

                                                                                                                        And I'd be up at five too, but I'd also be bringing my wheel barrow full of cash at the end of each and every to the bank, like they probably are. Hey Bronc, their formula works for alot of people. You can laugh at us standing behind the counter stools waiting for a seat to open up while you drive by on your way to Fatburger... I detest that place... oops - stirring another hornet's nest...

                                                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                          broncosaurus Feb 19, 2007 08:00 PM

                                                                                                                          This contentious topic--panning or loving Apple Pan-- has been around as long as I've known about chowhound, over 5 years. Love it if you will, that's fine with me. Perhaps trendiness is the wrong word but there is a definite herd aspect at work here in some cases, though obviously not all as you have clearly expressed the place's specific attractions to you. I just think it's worthwhile to inform newcomers so they won't be unduly disappointed.

                                                                                                                          The Wich Stand was a classic astro-era burger joint with a distinctive exterior and which now lives on as a place serving health food. It's on the corner of Slauson and Overhill.

                                                                                                                          Here's a link to an ancient menu:

                                                                                                                          http://www.cougartown.com/wichstand-m...

                                                                                                                          As for Fatburger I do in fact think it is vastly superior to AP but the price kills a lot of the value so I seldom go. Best in town is B and R on Cerise and Rosecrans.

                                                                                                                          RIP Meatty Meat burger, which is now a (soon to be un-)vacant lot.

                                                                                                                          1. re: broncosaurus
                                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                                            bulavinaka Feb 19, 2007 09:12 PM

                                                                                                                            Points well-taken...thanks

                                                                                                                            1. re: broncosaurus
                                                                                                                              m
                                                                                                                              mc michael Feb 19, 2007 09:41 PM

                                                                                                                              If you want to get nostalgic for old burgers, consider Steak Burger (it was in the Valley, on Van Nuys Bl?) or more recently Thai American Express Cafe in Silverlake. Good burgers, but no longer with us.

                                                                                                                      2. b
                                                                                                                        B Minus Feb 19, 2007 06:47 AM

                                                                                                                        I've had the same experience with an opposite result. For 37 years I've been dragged to Apple Pan for what I'd always thought was a not unpleasant, but strikingly ordinary burger. I'm a burger freak/purist by nature. Even so, I had always opted for the egg salad, or the ham & cheese at Apple Pan because I thought the burger was sub-par. I don't know what possessed me to do it, but recently I stopped by to give the old Hickory Burger another try and I can't get the damn thing out of my head. Whether it's the hole in my heart left by the loss of my beloved Jay's, or an adverse reaction to all of the pretentious yet clumsy fine grind burgers I've been abusing in an attempt fill that hole, I can't say. What I can say is that the Apple Pan does make an undeniably true burger, and in a city where burger-truth is becoming increasingly muddled, that may be enough.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: B Minus
                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                          mc michael Feb 19, 2007 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                          Especially good with double cheddar. In burger veritas!

                                                                                                                        2. Jeet Yet Feb 18, 2007 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                          I completely agree on the burger. Never understood the hype. Now, the Banana Creme pie...that is a completely different story. Worth the $$ and parking hassle.

                                                                                                                          Nice OP, btw.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: Jeet Yet
                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                            Lmo1823 Oct 2, 2007 05:39 PM

                                                                                                                            The tuna, fries and coffee are delicious. That is all I care about. And if you haven't ordered banana cream pie, then you haven't had their best pie. I don't really like any of the ingredients separately-- bananas, cream or pie-- but the Apple Pan made me love them together.

                                                                                                                            Do not eat the Pie 'N Burger version of Banana Cream Pie-- it is covered in merengue, not cream. Yuck. And my cream was clumpy. Double Yuck.

                                                                                                                          2. b
                                                                                                                            Briggs Feb 18, 2007 06:37 PM

                                                                                                                            "but was not in any way superior to what you'd expect to get from most any diner, coffee shop or Fatburger stand."

                                                                                                                            You were right on about everything except the above. A chargrilled Fatburger is pretty darned good - certainly way beyond Apple Pan's (which I've been to a handful of times in 30 years and ALWAYS found subpar)

                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Briggs
                                                                                                                              Arthur Feb 18, 2007 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                              I'm with you Briggs. It wasn't at all my intention to denigrate Fatburger, which I agree is pretty fantastic. I'm so sorry if that sentence came across negatively. I was just trying to come up with an example of a quality chain other than the others I cited, In 'N Out and Johnny Rocket's.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Arthur
                                                                                                                                Alimentary My Dear Watson Feb 19, 2007 01:11 PM

                                                                                                                                I'm not going to wade into the Apple Pan question as the thread's getting repetitious but are you & Briggs really both okay with Fatburger's doneness restrictions (medium-well or well only)? It has been over three years since the chain went to a no-medium policy.

                                                                                                                                Have either of you had a Fatburger store make you a medium or less burger within the past month, and if so, which store and what time of day?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson
                                                                                                                                  Arthur Feb 19, 2007 01:17 PM

                                                                                                                                  I have never had a problem with a Fatburger as-is at any location, so that is a non-issue for me.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson
                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                    sklathill Feb 19, 2007 01:28 PM

                                                                                                                                    Over at the Fatburger by USC, I've had no problems ordering fatburgers cooked medium. I've actually been doing it throughout my grad school career here and am incredibly happy with them. I actually had no idea a no-medium policy was put into place...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sklathill
                                                                                                                                      Alimentary My Dear Watson Feb 19, 2007 01:35 PM

                                                                                                                                      Thanks, sklathill.... I have not found one willing to do this for a long time. (I also lived on them during grad school.)

                                                                                                                                      I think doneness doesn't matter to a lot of people.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson
                                                                                                                                        Pei Feb 19, 2007 01:48 PM

                                                                                                                                        I had a medium burger at the Santa Monica location maybe a few months ago, but it was the middle of the day on a weekday.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Alimentary My Dear Watson
                                                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                                                      Briggs Feb 19, 2007 08:04 PM

                                                                                                                                      i haven't had one in awhile, but the Sepulveda/Venice location would ALWAYS serve the Kingburger (or whatever) at the requested medium rare - as well as chargrilled.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Briggs
                                                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                                                        TomSwift Feb 20, 2007 01:59 AM

                                                                                                                                        I haven't eaten at the FB on Ventura in Woodland Hills for some time so I'm surprised about the no rare policy. However, right on the other side of the street is Boulevard Burger, where you'll get your burger rare, with grilled onions and grilled chilis. Their well done fries are great. I urge you to give it a try. Or you could go back to the other side of the street to Gorikee for a Whimpy Burger - excellent!

                                                                                                                                2. SauceSupreme Feb 18, 2007 06:30 PM

                                                                                                                                  My vote for best old school burger is still Pie N Burger in Pasadena; you'll get your pie fix as well!

                                                                                                                                  1. n
                                                                                                                                    nosh Feb 18, 2007 06:26 PM

                                                                                                                                    Agree completely. And you didn't even mention the difficult traffic and tight parking. Add to that standing against the wall like a schoolchild waiting for one of the seats to clear during busy hours.

                                                                                                                                    Story a couple of decades ago was that the owners held out against the developers of the Westside Pavilion additions and kept their property. Kudos for that. But rather than turn out a really great thick carefully cooked burger, you get a fairly chintzy sandwich. Now Merrill Schindler does rave about the tuna sandwich and says that's what to get there. Or stop in for a slice of pie -- but who wants to battle the parking and prices to do that?

                                                                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                                                                      broncosaurus Feb 18, 2007 06:18 PM

                                                                                                                                      Amen, total hype. And you have to fight chaotic parking etc. to boot.

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