Marty’s seems to be the type of nondescript fast-food shack that I always seem to drive by on way to somewhere else. Although one day a few years back I threw caution to the wind and tried the join mostly know for its COMBO. The combo not being a burger, fries, and coke as at other shacks, but rather a thin, griddled burger topped with a slender, butterflied foot-long hot dog (a Vienna Beef dog to be exact) on a regular hamburger bun. Interestingly enough, we have chili burgers, bacon avocado burgers, double cheese burgers, and even pastrami burgers all around town. But for some reason not many burger joint proprietors have given much thought into placing a hot dog atop a burger.
The combo at Marty’s feeds the yen for what is is, namely a burger with a grilled hot dog on top, though it is far from transcendent. Just the other day I had mine topped with melty processed American cheese and chili, which makes the whole endeavor that much tastier (an upgrade of only 75 cents). Bits of hot dog slip out of the bun at times when you bite into it. That can be somewhat problematic forcing me to eat the bits of dogmeat sans bun.
Afterwards, I kid you not I was still hungry. Not just a little hungry but beyond hungry. So I threw out the prospective New Year’s diet and ordered up a spicy Polish sausage with some warmed sauerkraut to wash everything down. Subsequent to eating all that, my hunger had not abated completely, but I gave my stomach a rest for obvious reasons.
Marty’s is a perfectly acceptable lunch if Marty’s happens to be the fast food shack that just happens to reside in your neighborhood.
I have to come to Marty's defense, just because I've been going there my entire life. I'll totally admit that it's not amazingly fantastic, but they're nice guys, and the Combo is pretty ingenious. Especially if you get a bacon chili cheese combo. They also have Orange Bang, which is disappearing. I would definitely not go there if I lived more than 3 miles away, but as it is I live half a mile away (or my parents do, technically), so I like to go there when I'm home and need some grease. It's on Pico and Prosser, by the fire station, if anyone is looking for it. If you're actually wanting some serious food in that neighborhood, it's better to get the corned beef hash at John O'Groats, if it's brunch time on a weekend, or otherwise a Steakburger with well-done fries at the Apple Pan.
What neighborhood is this Marty's in? (apparently not mine! - I haven't got a clue!).
However, Kevin - thanks! You did bring back wonderful memories of a place in West Covina called "M-M-Marty's" (at least, that's what the sign read) that made WONDERFUL meat stacked-high sandwiches. Never able to finish a whole sandwich, I'd take home the untouched half and stir-fry the meat with Asian-style veggies, serve over rice the next day and feed two adults and two kids. Now that was a sandwich! Unfortunately they lost their lease (more than ten years ago) and I don't know if they retired or opened up something somewhere else. Does anyone else know? This wa a sit-down place, not a "fast-food shack."
There are other joints that do the burger/dog combo. A good one is the Hockeyburger at Mike's, in ELA on the N/W corner of Soto at Washington. On the westside, the Shackburger at the Shack, on Wilshire at 25th in Santa Monica or in Playa is similar but bigger and more expensive at $7.75. I've never seen one specified on their menu, and I don't know how you'd fit them together, but it would be fun to ask at Tommy's Burgers.
I grew up around the block from Marty's, and it was always a great treat to be allowed to walk over, sit at the counter staring in the window, and have a burger. I remember wondering how long it took them to squish all those patties between the slips of waxed paper every morning, wondering what happened to the paper after they stuffed it down that little hole in the counter, and wondering if anybody would ever order grilled onions from that pile that was always pushed off on the side of the cooking surface. And there was always the possibility that there might be a fire somewhere, and I might get to see the fire trucks pull out! With their sirens on! Wow!
Seeking to feed my nostalgia trip, I drove by there and stopped and had a burger five or six years ago. Big mistake. The patty was a thin grey puck, full of gristle and chunks of bone. The bun and condiments were okay, but they couldn't redeem the awful flavor of that meat.
Could somebody please reassure me that I went on an off day, or that they've upgraded their patties? I really want to like Marty's as much as I did thirty years ago.