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Burger Crawl - Pasadena Area

I've a friend coming to visit this fall and he mentioned being interested in doing a week-long burger crawl, so I'm putting together a list of places we need to hit, preferably in the Pasadena area (we'll go to Oinkster, though).

Restrictions: Pasadena area (will go a ways east and south, if needed) - no "fancy" burgers (no blue cheese - a bbq/bacon burger is pushing things) - prefer counter service and shack-type places - no chains unless they're local (In-n-Out's fine, Islands isn't) - prices under $8.00 or so for a burger/cheeseburger.

Would like to know what restaurants you'd recommend, what you'd recommend ordering there, any incredible sides, and if they'll grill to order (medium-rare) (if they won't, that's okay too, just would like to know). Oh, and we'll probably have to try one of those taco-burger things that JeetJet mentioned on another thread.

I hate to admit this, but I've lived here now for three years and the only burger-type place I've tried is Oinkster - I know I need to try Tommy's, Rick's, Lucky Boy, etc. but am not even sure where to start.

I'm already salivating - thank you!

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  1. Ricks in Alhambra is good. ( Off Main)

    Ricks in Pasadena ( if its still around) Note i don't beleive this and the alhambra one are related. I forgot the street. Walnut Grove i think.

    Jim's in Arcadia/Monrovia border off duarte and 6th. Ho many High School memories here.

    Wolfe Burgers on Lake -- This is still on my to do list so I cna't really tell you how they are but I've heard good things.

    Tops- There are multiple locations i know one is on colorado and another is on Allen i think.

    Connels on Washington.

    Hat is more pastrami but their burgers are decent. Try the Pastramiburger actually if you don't mind the heart attack.

    Clearmans Northwoods at lunchtime -- Normally I would point you at the boat but its not there atm. Northwoods is serving Boat food at lunchtime though while they reconstruct it.

    Tommy's is overrated imo- All the pple i know who love it it seems like more a nostalgia thing. Also, if this is your first time bring some tums.

    Edit: Adding Jakes in Old Town-- Little more pricey, a little better quality. i don't go often but its good when i do go ( ususally late after a night of drinking and not much open)

    I know there are more but I'm drawing a blank atm. Anyways thats a good jumpoff imo

    10 Replies
    1. re: Mando

      Tommy's is legendary, as the only joint open at 2:00 A.M. when the bars close, and if you are already pickled, you won't notice how bad the food is.

      1. re: ChinoWayne

        Lies! the Tommy's in Pas closes at like 10:30 unless they recently changed it I've tried before and been shot down. Had to drive to the Eagle Rock one. Besdies I'm probably biased as i grew up on hat ( my buddies and i disagree for hours between the 2)

        Besides King Taco is open past 2 on weekends. Just don't park on the street past 2 -_-

        1. re: Mando

          The original Tommy's at Beverly & Rampart in L.A. is open all night, and it is the model for all the subsquent branches, regardless of what time they close, they all serve the same nasty food.

          The only "charm" of Tommy's is the fact that they have food readily available when everything else is closed and you have been on a bender and your taste buds have been numbed, which I will concede might be quite appealing to someone who wants to "live dangerously".

          1. re: ChinoWayne

            yea the one in Eagle Rock is open 24/7 as well. Its not horrible, my friends love it .. then again my friends love olive garden and other various chains i fight against every time someone has a bday... We had some friends from out of town who wanted to try it since the other guys talked it up so much. Needless to say it broke everyone's stomach for like 2 days (present company included).

      2. re: Mando

        Don't forget the Hi Life (I wonder if you drink a Miller beer with it if you would be having a Hi Hi Life Life?)

        1326 Fair Oaks Ave
        South Pasadena, CA 91030
        (626) 799-5401

        1. re: Servorg

          HI-Life is great, esp. the pastrami burger.

          1. re: Servorg

            I'm still laughing at this, thanks.

            Great rec - they also have/had (totally artificial) cherry soda, which to me is the best accompanyment to a cheeseburger and fries.

          2. re: Mando

            Nice list, Mando! Rick's in Pasadena (Walnut & El Molino) is still there at least through the end of the year (altho I am not a fan of their burgers - prefer their tacos & tostadas). Tops has really good burgers - Allen & Walnut (their tosada salad is fantastic - along with those zucchini sticks w/ranch!). If you go to Clearman's, don't forget to get some of their cheese bread (I MISS THE BOAT!!). If you do Wolfe's, be sure to get the onion rings - cooked well done - the onions become melty - delish!

            1. re: Mando

              Jim's on the Arcadia/Monrovia border was the first thing that came into mind when I read this post. I'm there often when I'm hankering a burger. Their sides come in huge portions-I'd recommend the fried zucchini. Helmos on Baldwin in Arcadia is pretty good too and definately shack like. There's a place in Monrovia on Duarte Rd. called Burger Basket that I've never tried but my friend recommended it to me. Other recommendation would be Top's they've added a Kobe Bistro Burger to their menu so it seems like they're trying to get a bit fancier. Happy hamburgering!

              Jim's Famous Quarterpound
              Address: 915 W Duarte Rd, Arcadia, CA 91007
              Phone: (626) 447-5993

              Helmos Burger
              Address: 1045 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
              Phone: (626) 447-2511

              Tops Drive-In
              (626) 449-4412
              3838 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA www.theoriginaltops.com/

              Burger Basket
              (626) 357-3514
              501 W Duarte Rd, Monrovia, CA

              1. re: crystaw

                The Kobe at Tops is GREAT!

                Burger Bsket no longer has that special char-burger machine. Thus they no longer have a good burger. In fact, their burger is now sooooo bad.

            2. The burgers at The Hat are not too bad, and they have outstanding fries and rings.

              I think Hamburger Hamlet is a little out of the criteria you set, but you can't beat their burgers, and you can also get schooner of beer there. Mmmmm, burgers and beer...

              The burger at Canadian Cafe is pretty good, and you can get poutine to go with your burger.

              -----
              The Hat
              491 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

              Diron's Canadian Cafe
              125 E Colorado Blvd, Monrovia, CA 91016

              Hamburger Hamlet
              214 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

              1 Reply
              1. re: ChinoWayne

                A shot of the poutine at Canadian Cafe.

                 
              2. I second Wolfe Burgers and Tops. These would be my first choices for a burger in Pasadena, but it's a very large field. Possibly more burger joints there than in any other L.A. Co. city other than L.A. or Long Beach.

                Does Olympic Burger still exist? I think it is on Foothill east of Altadena. Used to go all the time in high school.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cant talk...eating

                  I like Wolfe Burgers but this past weekend's trip was meh.... their zucchini fries and onion rings were good... their big bad wolfe burger and their roast beef, not so good. It surprised me.

                2. I didn't see PIE N BURGER on the list. It is the only burger I drive to Pasadena for (on the way to Bulgarini Gelato, natch).

                  www.pienburger.com

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Marco Polo

                    I second the recommendation for Pie N Burger. Definitely, in my opinion, the top burger joint in the Pasadena area.

                    1. Yanakis on Valley Blvd just 3 or 4 blocks east of the 605 frwy, Great Burger!
                      Never been but i hear it is a must try once in Altadena, Hawkins House of Burgers! Get the Super Duper $13 feeds a family of 4 one! Chow down baby!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        Yes Hawkins is a FANTASTIC burger, BUT do not send ElsieDee out for that giant burger if she's only going with one other person!

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                        Hawkins House of Burgers
                        2664 Fair Oaks Ave, Altadena, CA 91001