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Pie 'N Burger; old thyme SoCal

I have always been curious about this place in Pasadena, though I gather it's rather like Apple Pan which I really don't care for (good egg salad though). Still I'm interested in it as an icon for SoCal before the masses arrived. I'm not sure if that's really warranted but it seems to have that feel. I've stopped in on a couple occasions but left, thinking the food didn't actually look all that good. Now, for some reason, I'm cogitating that stupid place again; it's under my skin. Yet I don't really eat hamburgers either, which is also part of the problem!

So my question is: is there anything else on the menu there worth ordering, or would that just defeat the "purpose" of the place anyway? Do they, for example, have turkey burgers or again, are they just so derivative that it's pointless to order that?

By way of example, I'd say Apple Pan's egg salad is sufficiently interesting, tasty and an arguably good deal (relatively), that it is in fact worth arguing and is in fact iconic -- that is, you don't really lose from the "authenticity" of the visit by ordering that. I hope these thoughts aren't annoying you all...

Anyway, that's my question: is it "worth" going to PieNBurger if you order anything other than "Burger"; what would you order if so? And also, I'd welcome suggestions to tone down expectations if necessary as I've come to believe enjoyment is not in the least ways insignificantly tempered by expectation so there's no point in erecting insurmountable barriers before ever you start.

Thanks for reading this far.

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  1. Having lived around the corner for 15 years, I frequented it pretty regularly. I, personally, like the burger (grilled onions, extra cheese) - note: it does not come with tomatoes. I could definitely do without the fries and chili. I do like their tuna melt and hash browns. Pies are great (my fave is coconut cream). They make their own dressings so I like their dinner salad as well with their Thousand (they also put this on their burgers). One more note about the burgers, do not unwrap unless absolutely, positively necessary - they do and will fall apart on you!

    2 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      One of my favorite nonburger meals there is that tuna and some potato salad, which I truly adore. It's not only (maybe) a healthier alternative to fries, it's a tastier one.

      I'm not really a pie person, but I split a piece of the butterscotch with Mrs. O last time we were in there together, and it was sinfully good. Better than Mom's.

      1. re: Will Owen

        You two are making me hungry for this place. The burgers look to good to eat and they are great. That tuna melt sounds great and the last time I ate there the guy next to me had a tuna salad which has been on my mind ever since. The hash browns are always golden brown and crispy outside and moist inside. The bacon is perfect. IMO, they make the best pancakes in L.A. -- thick and fluffy or thin and chewy (I always get the thin kind). The pecan pie is great also.

        IMO, they should not offer a "Turkey sandwich" because what they gave me looked bad, smelled bad and it was bad. They re-fried cooked turkey until it was brown and dry. We could not tell if it was beef or turkey -- so bad!

    2. Pie.

      Seriously, they do make great pies. I order an apple pie slice a la mode, which they define as a pint of vanila ice cream on top. Other people on boards can speak to other flavors or search.

      1 Reply
      1. re: overresearched

        Second, the pie is pretty damn good.

      2. although i never had it people seem to enjoy the pancakes there. i believe they're the thin kind...i've had the regular breakfast there and it's very standard. nothing to write home about...

        1. My wife & I ate here on Wed. night after a evening at the Huntington. I love the burgers, but I have to add my appreciation of some other items:
          French Fries
          Shakes
          Salads
          Pie

          1. The burgers and pies are excellent, but it's the hash browns that take me back to "old thyme SoCal." Those potatoes -- you can get a full or half order -- remind me of when Russell's was Russell's.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sbritchky

              "when Russell's was Russell's." Such good times at the Seal Beach location and the West Covina Mall location -- both gone. The remaining Pasadena location is off my list because of the poor management / seating / service. My family lked those big thick sausages and the hash browns. Now The Swing Inn in Temacula is the place for that combo and they have a great Chicken Fried Steak. But yes, Pie N Burger has the hash browns and some great beacon.

              1. re: JeetJet

                Don't forget those Russell's pies, JJ, with their great, towering meringues. I once took a full coconut meringue -- in an oversize cake box that wouldn't close completely, because the topping was so high -- on a flight to Texas, and the aroma drove my fellow passengers crazy. My favorite Russell's location was the one in Bixby Knolls, Long Beach.

                The Swing Inn in Temecula, eh? I've heard of that place but haven't been there. I will have to correct that error soon (assuming they've fixed the sink hole on the 215, that is).