HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >



My friends and I were really excited last night when we got to Pie n Burger. My friend wanted to go there since she always passes by it on the way to work and I had read positive reviews on here. When we got there, we were smiling since it looked so quaint and we were so hungry. When we got in the old lady behind the counter gave us a stoney look and walked away. "OK-they're busy," we thought and went to the side to wait. After about 10 minutes of being ignored and failed attempts to get someone's attention we left with a bitter taste in our mouth. I'm sure there will be people who will defend this establishment but we had a terrible experience and plan on never returning.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Our experience was no better, and we made the mistake of sticking it out for the entire meal after waiting excessively long for a server. The service was rude. The food was really mediocre. The price was ridiculously high for what little amount of food we ordered. I don't understand the appeal of the place at all. We're frequent diners at Apple Pan, so that type of place definitely appeals to me, but Pie N Burger is terrible.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Faulkner99

      "The service was rude. The food was really mediocre. The price was ridiculously high for what little amount of food we ordered. I don't understand the appeal of the place at all. "

      That's a great description of Apple Pan!

      1. re: BeenThereAteThat

        I haven't been to Apple Pan in about a year, but the last few times I was there, the service was abrupt but very efficient, the food was delicious, the price was fair. I'd take Apple Pan over Pie N Burger any day of the week. I do think it gets overhyped, but for a burger, Apple Pan is a decent place. I think there's some substance behind that hype. I don't feel like that's the case with Pie N Burger, but obviously that's based on my own experience.

    2. I went there last night, had dinner around 8. The place wasn't terribly busy, lots of counter space available, and a few tables were free. My husband and I got served right away. About the food--I wished my chili had been served hotter, and the pecan pie was so so good.

      About the service, while I had no complaints last night, I have been there when they're super busy, and it hasn't been a great experience. Now, if I poke my head in, and I can see people waiting to sit down, I just go somewhere else.

      1. You indicate that you "went to the side to wait." Were there no seats available? When that's the case, there's almost always a sign-in sheet where you put your name down. They should have directed you to that list, but it's sitting right there next to the register. If there were seats available, why would you stand around waiting, instead of sitting down? If you're just standing there, they would probably figure you were waiting for more members of your party.

        1. yah, I'm sorry--I really wanted to like Pie N Burger, but they fail at almost every turn. the burger itself is pretty good, but not good enough to make up for the astoundingly bad service, and for a place that charges as much as they do, they could afford to hire more/better help.

          Jack Flash--crystaw says that "attempts to get someone's attention" failed, so even if there is a list, I won't let 'em off the hook. customer service means a lot, especially at a place that fancies itself as a "little neighborhood joint".

          2 Replies
          1. re: annagranfors

            I question what sort of "efforts" they were undertaking if all they were doing is standing off to the side in a diner. If you want someone's attention, you stand at the cash register (if you're ordering to go) or you sit down. I would think that everyone knows that when you go into a diner-type place with mostly counter seating, you just plop yourself down in a chair. I've been going to PNB for years. There have been times when I've had to wait, but in literally dozens of visits (it's probably less than 100, but easily more than 50) I have never, EVER, been ignored. It's just too difficult to believe.

            I also don't understand when people expect 3-star service at a diner. I expect someone to take my order, deliver the food, and keep my beverage refilled. That's all.

            It's expensive for a burger & fries compared to, say, McDonald's, but you get what you pay for. It's a much higher quality meat, a coarser grind (and therefore better texture). I really like the fries, although I've learned that I usually need to order them well-done or they can come out on the limp side, and there's no such thing as a good limp fry.

            1. re: Jack Flash

              I can sort of relate with crystaw's gripe. There have been times when I've walked into Pie N Burger and wondered if I was Casper. But, on balance, the service has been just fine, and the food better than average.

              And I agree with you, Jack, that diner service shouldn't be compared to what you'd expect from a Michelin 3-star joint. I mean, I've gone to some Taiwanese fast food joints where I could've sworn that the wait staff was having a contest to see who could be the most standoff-ish and aloof.

              Just have to be a bit aggressive and damn it demand (demand!) that they serve you some pork chop rice with a boba!

          2. I've been to the Pie n' Burger many, many times over the years and have never seen anything but friendly, helpful service, so I don't know which warp in space-time you stumbled across. The hamburgers are excellent, the hash browns are outstanding, the chili is good but sometimes served too cold, and the pie can be pretty darn good. For a low-cost hole-in-the-wall, it's a great place. I'm sorry you had a bad experience and hope you'll try again.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sbritchky

              I have to wholeheartedly agree with sbritchky. While the service is never polished (this is a diner folks), we've always enjoyed our Pie n' Burger experience and are huge fans of their burgers. Sorry you had a bad experience, but I'd suggest trying it again if you ever feel like giving them a second chance.


              1. re: Suebee

                Have to agree with Suebee and sbritchky, even though we've only eaten there once. We had good service and we loved our burgers. Plus we saw other food being served that looked really good and would like to try. Actually what happened to OP can happen to anyone anytime at any place. Even when it has happened to us we usually give a place a second try to see if it can redeem itself. Anyone can have a bad day even hostesses and waiters, they're just as human as you or I. I think I'll quote Suebee here, and it's a good one...'this is a diner folks'.

                1. re: crt

                  I also agree with Suebee.
                  Although one time I was walking to our table and one of the waitresses spilled hot coffee on my sandaled foot and just walked away (even though she was made aware that she did it). The other waitress got so pissed off that she said that she was going to be our server (apparently the coffee spiller was supposed to be ours) and said it really loud (to chastise the spiller). It was pretty funny. Our waitress gave us free pie - she felt really bad. I am pretty sure that she even told the owner when he was there - she was that pissed!! It ended up being pretty funny at the end.
                  I also do not think that the service is fantastic, but like it has already been said, it is a diner and at least you get your food.
                  Also, I stay away from the chili and fries (even when I get them well done, they are not that good) but always get a burger with grilled onions, as someone mentioned, the hashbrowns (well done) are great and I love their Tuna Melt. Also they make their dressings so I really like the dinner salad with their Thousand on it. Coconut Mirangue pie is delish!!

            2. I've been there once. I was impressed by the size of my pie slice, but I too felt that the price was too high for what I got. I'm glad that I experienced the place, but I probably won't go back.

              A few people on Chowhound recommended the burger special at Bake and Broil in Long Beach to me. I really enjoyed it, and the price was right. The special comes with a great burger, a drink and a great slice of pie. A bit far from Pasadena, but worth it if you are in the Long Beach area...

              Bake 'n Broil - (562) 595-0396 - 3697 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA

              1. 'I'm sure there will be people who will defend this establishment but we had a terrible experience and plan on never returning."

                Just as I'm sure that you probably defend a favorite place of yours. Even if someone else had a bad experience like you had at Pie n Burger.

                1. Place is so-so. Only went once. Would have to agree with the ice-cold service. Not the friendliest of people. The cheeseburger was a 7/10, maybe. A little on the expensive side too.

                  1. I've been there several times, since one of the people I worked with in Pasadena and another in Eagle Rock liked the place. The first time there, I had the turkey burger and it was very good, on the expensive side I thought, for what I got, but the taste was very good. The rest of the times I went with the regular burgers because my friends wanted to go, and I was not impressed with the food. The burgers were not notably better than other places and the fries were limp. Service doesn't stick in my mind so neither great nor bad I guess. I won't go there on my own again; went only because someone else wanted to. Never had the pie so can't comment.

                    1. I've been there once, but did not eat. My husband and I actually walked in looked around and were so unimpressed by the place. We sat at the counter for a few minutes looked at the menu, looked around and decided to leave. The few minutes I was there were so hmm....not sure how to explain the feeling I had of the place, but let me give it a try. Well for starters, I felt like I was at a convalescent home. The place looked so depressing and senior citizen like. It was too 60s/70s for me. Way to retro, but not a pretty funky retro and instead a depressing, old people kind of retro. I just really didn't understand how people could've liked the place. I've never been one to base my outings just on the ambience, but this place was just AWFUL for me. I felt so dead. It was just a downer for my husband and I. It was like our energy was sucked out of us in just those 3-5 minutes we were in there. We wanted a more up beat eating environment. Believe me we've eaten in very ghetto places where the food has been great so this was a first for me to just leave based on the ambience, but I have no regrets.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: handycrafter77

                        Well, there's a reason it felt like it had a 60s-70s look - that's when it dates from. They haven't updated the decor, but so what? You missed out on a good burger. It's not supposed to be "funky" or retro. It's just supposed to be what it is. It's not an "energy" place, or a place that tries to capture a certain vibe. It's a neighborhood place, plain and simple.

                        What's wrong with old people, anyway?

                        1. re: handycrafter77

                          wow, way to offend senior citizens. For "pretty funky retro" maybe go to the Westside?
                          Anyway, people who have problems with the service or decor, I truly recommend picking up pie (slice or whole) to go. Just go back and give it a shot, if only for that pie. yum yum.

                        2. Blame Jonathan Gold for creating the hype!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                            Yeah, Jonathan Gold and Chowhound are to blame for the hype, no doubt.

                            Not to say that Pie N Burger is a bad place, or serves bad food, but it isn't a holy grail or a destination place. That said, I still like the place.

                            Did you know that when asked "Where do you want your last meal in LA to be?" ... our intrepid food critic Mr. Gold answered, "Pie N Burger".

                          2. I've eaten at Pie and Burger many times. On my last visit I was treated like dirt...by the owner. A regular customer sitting next to us explained that he was filling in as a cook, could not keep up with the orders and was terrorizing the staff. It's amazing the regulars are so loyal. Our informant seemed genuinely upset that we were having such a bad experience.

                            1. If being ignored for 10 minutes ranks as your "worst experience ever" you've had it good.

                              Thanks for not returning, it'll lesson the wait.

                              I ate there friday night too & had a great time.
                              The older waitress is super fun; she always works fridays.


                              1. Pie n Burger just plain old sucks. The only thing they do good are their pies; NOTHING ELSE. If you like their food, it's either because you're taste buds like diner style greasy bland food or because you're part of the herd.

                                Thanks for being honest. Too many times people rave about it and I just don't get it!!!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Joe

                                  Well I guess there's no question how you feel about that place. Just to add my two cents, my wife and I went there and could not figure out why it got such raves. A very plain, mediocre burger, horrible fries and also we did not feel very welcome over there - the waitress was not friendly at all. We'll never go back. However in all fairness we didn't order any pie so maybe that would have been the saving grace.

                                  Another two cents - head over to the other end of Pasadena for Top's Kobe burger - soooo much tastier and cheaper, too. And they know how to make french fries at Top's, also.

                                  1. re: monkuboy

                                    Funny you mentioned that. I just tried the Top's Kobe Burger yesterday for the first time and we absolutely loved it! A close 2nd to Father's Office burgers. Only bummer is that we've waited so long, considering how close it is to us.

                                    1. re: monkuboy

                                      TOPS fries? Those flimsy, flaccid, scrawny things utterly lacking in any substance? You actually like those? Whatever floats your boat. Now if we're talking about their fried zucchini, that's a completely different story. Good onion rings, too. But how anyone could prefer the Tops fries over PnB is just beyond me.

                                      1. re: Jack Flash

                                        I prefer the thinner, shoestring style of fries that are crunchy. I know some like the flaccid, frozen-tasting limp tasteless type that Pie and Burger has (at least that's what they were like when we went there - tasted like OreIda frozen ones) but I don't like that type.

                                    2. re: Joe

                                      If you *don't* like PnB, it's probably because you can't appreciate a hand-formed patty made with quality beef, coarse ground so that it actually has some texture, and properly cooked so that the meat develops that ever-elusive caramelization.

                                      1. re: Jack Flash

                                        I realize it's all a matter of preference. P&B serves more of a home-style burger, to my tastes anyway. That is, the kind of burger I make at home in a frying pan and I don't make a very good burger, lol. The burgers we got had no hint of carmelization, char, or anything; they were relatively flavorless. Maybe it was a bad day but based on the comments in this and other threads, it sounds like it is a matter of style preference. As with the french fries, I don't care for the style of burgers they serve there either. I don't doubt that P&B uses quality beef but I don't care for what they do with it.

                                    3. What counts as expensive? Howmuch do they charge for a slice of pie?

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Diana

                                        Here's a link to the menu

                                        It doesn't give the pie price, but you can see how much the other stuff costs. I kind of like the place, but I was really surprised by how much things cost. Keep in mind it's all a la carte, burger doesn't come with fries or any sides.

                                        1. re: Diana

                                          I spent $12 (including tip) on a small side of fries, a slice of fresh strawberry pie with whipped cream and a tap water.

                                        2. Chowhound is to be blamed for the Pie n Burger hype? The hype started many years before Chowhound and the Internet came into existence. Yes, if you've been to PnB more than two or three times, chances are you didn't receive the warmest of service. Anyone who says they've received nothing short of friendly service must just have the magic touch (kind of hard to believe). Now as far as not being funky retro enough and not "ghetto" in a good way...whatever that means...that's a good thing. Most of us, even the younger ones like that it hasn't been updated and has the original food on the menu. As opposed to the trendy, sterile s#@tholes with awful food that abound in LA. A place like Pie n Burger is so hard to find these days, we cherish it if we find it. The fries are great and the pie is great and they use actual syrup in their fountain drinks. Yes, the prices are on the higher side for the type of restaurant it is, but so are the prices at Apple Pan and the pie (which they're known for) isn't even good. And at Apple Pan, they're rude even when they're not busy...it's just their way. I'd choose Pie n Burger anyday!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: big_apple

                                            Thank you, Big! If you live in the Pasadena area, this is a place you go. No one needs to read either J Gold or Chowhound to know about it.

                                          2. I've lived in Pasadena 14 years and have been to PnB many many times, busy and not. The burgers are good, the pie is great, the atmosphere is genuine. It is on the expensive side, but I don't mind. The service can be slow, but I have never once been treated rudely. I don't understand how someone can give a restaurant review without having tasted the food? I hope you give it another chance because it's a fun little neighborhood joint. It's not supposed to be some manufactured retro diner "experience," it's just a place with good pie and good burgers.

                                            1. It must be said: If your worst experience ever is waiting 10 minutes for a seat at a lunch counter, your life has been charmed to an almost unprecedented degree.

                                              I grew up eating at Pie n' Burger. My kids are growing up eating at Pie n' Burger. I have no doubt that my grandchildren, should I ever be so blessed, will grow up eating at Pie n' Burger. There are many kinds of happiness in the world, but few of them surpass the bliss of a cheeseburger with grilled onions, a half-order of fries (well-done) and a cut of strawberry pie in season. The milkshakes are hand made, starting with ice cream, which may not seem like much, but is. I have my disagreements with the crust, but the pies are fixtures at more Pasadena dinner parties than you can imagine. If you're feeling grand, Chronicle Wines, which shares a license, I think, is in the parking lot, and you can wash down your patty melt with a Cote Rotie, if such is your desire. Those ``ghetto'' customers next to you are probably absent-minded professors, engineers, artists, or disheveled Caltech postdocs 15 years away from winning a Nobel Prize. Pie n' Burger, in many pertinent respects, IS Pasadena in all the important respects, reverence for tradition and all, and if you can't hang, cool. That puts my family one step closer to the stools at lunchtime next weekend.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: condiment

                                                hear hear, I really hope handycrafter77 read that.
                                                Some of those "senior citizens" might have actually won a Nobel Prize already!

                                                1. re: CookieEater

                                                  Or, they might be the ones behind the tech that makes it possible to post on Chowhound ...

                                                2. re: condiment

                                                  Not sure how potentially winning the Nobel Prize has anything to do with their taste buds.

                                                  It's one thing to like a place for nostalgia reasons, but another to subjectly taste the food and declare it to be great.

                                                  The first and last time we went to P&B we waited there for about 1/2 hour. The service was abrupt but not rude. The food was so-so. Burgers decent but really nothing to warrant all the raves. The pie was overly sweet and again nothing to write home about.

                                                  Chili was lukewarm, after the waitress warmed it at a microwave oven.

                                                  Frankly, I had better food at Ruby's (yes - the chain). Top's not far from P&B - has better burger, and no wait.

                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                    Well I have to disagree with you - sometimes you have to wait at Tops, like a couple of minutes.

                                                    1. re: monkuboy

                                                      Yes, but a few is quite different than 30 minutes, then another 5-10 for the waitress to take your order, then another 5 to get the check.

                                                3. Overall I love PnB, and I used to live in the Cal Tech area, so I went there a lot. I recentlt stopped in for the first time in a long time, and found the food and service to be poor, and the place was empty (at least for PnB--which means I was able to walk in and grab a table or a stool no problem, but the place still had customers). I am not sure why it's not as good as it used to be. Even the pie was just so-so, and typically it is great.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: mbh65

                                                    As a Caltech alum, I find myself torn between defending Pie N Burger and wondering whether my own heightened sense of nostalgia adds to the experience. I certainly enjoy it, and I'm sorry that others don't.

                                                  2. My wife loves the P'n B butterscotch pie, that badboy Keifer Sutherland, then me ( in that order :-). Once, when it appeared that they were sold-out of the butterscotch pie and my wife opted for a big hunk of the coconut-cream instead, the no-nonsense waitress discovered a just-baked butterscotch pie hidden away and promptly plopped a honkin' hunk of that down before my wife, on the house. Another time (early on in our initial visits), we thought to get two orders of their medium-cut french fries, but the same hard-as-nails waitress warned us off and suggested a one-and-a-half order of the fries instead (since one order can easily feed two diners), then only charged us for a regular order anyway... Yes, the syrup mix-to-soda ratio on the rootbeer can sometimes be too light (and the small glass its served in is even smaller than my 'junk' ), but they eventually refill the glass when I look up from my feeding frenzy and make with the puppydog eyes. Those waitresses ( few, granted ) and fry cooks bust their humps taking orders, cooking the chow, then serving the grub to such an extent, that its hard to get someone to eventually work the cash register; so much so, that I over-tip, then add-on a couple more bucks to the over-tip. And yes, for what amounts to neighborhood diner food, its not cheap. But as I cannot regularly afford $250 per-person for sushi or $120 for a small filet of kobe beef, I don't begrudge myself and my wife the $25 experience that is P'n B, now and again. And its alot cheaper than keeping up with that badboy Keifer !!

                                                    1. Wow, “WORST EVER and NEVER RETURNING”
                                                      No sense of convincing you otherwise to actually try and taste the food.
                                                      I have been only once but had an amazing server whom even allowed us to open up the bottle of wine that we got next door at the wine shop.
                                                      Theres to say that you can have two completely different experiences at one place and that is why you should try and give second chances.
                                                      Less your bad experience was in the actual food department which in this case it was not.

                                                      1. I think we can all agree that 1. There are those who don't like Pie N Burger, for whatever reaons. 2. There are those who like Pie N Burger, for whatever reasons. It's like going around around and around in circles. When we get back to the original starting point...it just the same thing. I like(d) it. You hate(d) it. Or...I hate(d) it. You like(d) it. It reminds me of a term...'Beating a dead horse'. JMHO.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: crt

                                                          When a poster uses such a strongly worded subject line, you've gotta expect this to happen. It must make for an interesting read anyway, cuz you made it to the end!

                                                          Everyone wants to be the one who convinces a naysayer to go back and try a place again. Isn't it so great when you get someone to try some food they're *certain* they won't like, and they end up loving it? Anyways, that's another topic.

                                                          One more kick for the dead horse: seriously, just try the pie!

                                                          1. re: CookieEater

                                                            Yep CE, you have it just right. I’m going to continue to suffer the abuse just for the pie, like soup from the Soup Nazi. I’m starting to feel old and my hair is turning white, so if I can depress some of the youngsters into leaving, my revenge will be complete.

                                                            1. re: CookieEater

                                                              This is very true. On one hand it gets annoying when people get so riled up over another's opinion, but it is also nice to see people who are very passionate about food. You take the good with the bad, in this case the pie over the burger. =)

                                                            2. re: crt

                                                              I have to disagree with crt...because there is no right or wrong point to stop disagreeing. And if we were to stop "beating a dead horse" there would be no need for Chowhound.

                                                            3. I was never all that impressed with either the food nor the service at Pie and Burger. For my money I would just as well go to Lucky Boy instead.

                                                              1. Reply to 'big apple'

                                                                Who said anything about a wrong or right way point to stop disagreeing? I think you and many missed the point I was trying to make here. I thought it was pretty clear when I said ''it's just the same thing". And that would be redundancy. Sorry, but to me redundency gets really really boring. As Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again." Snore...

                                                                1. Having been a regular customer for almost 30 yrs. I enjoy both the "Pan" & P&B. In my mind I consider them unique.
                                                                  Both can serve a 10+ burger but your karma has to be there:-) I mean that both places usually serve a burger with top quality beef, crispy iceberg lettuce,pickles, no tomatoe,on a bun that is grill toasted so the perimiter is cruchy!
                                                                  The main differences are the spreads. P&B has only one, and its homemade thousand island. The Pan offers two burgers: Hickory and Steak, the former with their hickory sauce, the latter comes with mayo and their red pickle relish.Oh and no plate unless you ask.

                                                                  It always sucks if the service is bad=little or no tip, but usually it's fast at both places.

                                                                  For me the deal breaker is the toasted bun, if it fails to have that perimiter crunch my mouth is expecting it's not perfect.

                                                                  Has anybody noticed how they set the paper wrapped burger down on the counter at the Pan?