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Cassell's Burgers on 8th and Western

kevin Apr 15, 2009 03:21 PM

I have not been in years. is it still the definitive burger that's all about the beef and should it still be labeled as one of the "Best of LA" or has it gone by the website, mimicing the old saying, where's the beef????

  1. SilverlakeGirl Apr 15, 2009 03:55 PM

    Was there one on 8th and Western? The famous one was on 6th just west of Vermont. Great in its heyday but it was taken over and quality declined.

    I believe it is something else now.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SilverlakeGirl
      kevin Apr 15, 2009 10:27 PM

      you're right it's 6th street, my mistake.

      same one, so it's declined in quality?

      1. re: kevin
        SilverlakeGirl Apr 15, 2009 11:22 PM

        I don't think it's there anymore.

        1. re: SilverlakeGirl
          Servorg Apr 16, 2009 05:28 AM

          Are you sure? I think it's still on 6th just west of Vermont (as far as I know). There was a second one that I used to go to back in the mid 80's at the SE corner of Crescent Hts / McCarthy Vista and Wilshire Blvd. in the little strip mall, (and if I am recalling correctly may be a Wahoo's Fish Taco place now).

    2. Hughlipton Apr 16, 2009 07:42 AM

      Google still shows them on 6th St. Haven't been there myself for over 7 years.

      1. a
        Adsvino Apr 16, 2009 07:43 AM

        Still in business on 6th, not very good anymore.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Adsvino
          maxzook Apr 16, 2009 09:25 AM

          I last went there about three years ago. It's declined quite a bit, and imho is just coasting on its reputation. The burger managed to be both greasy and overcooked; the produce for toppings (which in its time were the best thing about a Cassell's burger) was soggy and limp, obviously cut the day before.

          It closes at 4 pm and all day Sunday and it's in a non-residential part of town; ironically I think that boosts its rep. Once this was without much question the best burger in L.A., but that time is long past.

          1. re: maxzook
            love2eat Apr 16, 2009 11:08 AM

            In a non-residential part of town??? There a hundreds of apartment and condo buildings in the immediate vicinity. It's in one of the most densely populated part of the city. I was there a couple years ago. I enjoyed it but never had the burger when the original owners were still around. It is korean-owned now.

            1. re: love2eat
              kevin Apr 16, 2009 11:13 AM

              max, if you mean not many single family homes are there you are correct, it's mostly impartments and/or condos.

              1. re: love2eat
                condiment Apr 16, 2009 10:47 PM

                I've been going since I was a kid, I remember well when Mr. Cassell still presided over the place, before the misguided attempts at franchising, and I maintain the burgers are pretty much as good as they ever were: USDA Prime beef, ground fresh several times a day, cooked on the double-sided grill of Cassell's own invention. A 2/3 pound Cassell's burger, cooked rare, is a marvelous thing. It's a one-trick horse (maybe two if you count the ultra-mustardy potato salad), but the trick is great.

                The fries and onion rings and such are pretty bad, but the original management never offered them anyway.

                1. re: condiment
                  Harry Nile Apr 17, 2009 12:31 AM

                  I remember 20 years ago having to drive to the nearest McDonald's to get fries, but I haven't been to Cassell's in a long time. I need to make the stop and see why all the badmouthing.

                  1. re: condiment
                    JosephEBacon Apr 17, 2009 09:18 PM

                    When Mr. Cassell ran it, Cassell's was THE place to go for hamburgers and he also made wonderful ham, tuna and egg salad sandwiches. When he retired, the quality went way down. I went back last year because I was hungry for a grilled ham and swiss on rye, just came out very greasy. Not at all like it was 25 years ago and that's so sad.

            2. l
              LuluTheMagnificent Apr 16, 2009 11:19 AM

              It can be good, but it is nothing special anymore. Some days it is fresher than others.

              1. h
                Hackenbush Apr 16, 2009 12:48 PM

                I go to Cassell's on 6th about every four months. It's not as consistently good as it was under the old management but sometimes, it's as good as it ever was. And at it's worst, it's still better than any alternative I can think of for several miles around.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Hackenbush
                  Briggs Apr 16, 2009 08:32 PM

                  "And at it's worst, it's still better than any alternative I can think of for several miles around."

                  You betcha! And I'm sure fans of Taylor's, Papa Christo's, the Pacific Dining Car, Dino's, El Gran Burrito, Yuca's Fred 62, El Parian (not to mention the Korean restaurants in the area), would no doubt agree.

                  1. re: Briggs
                    maudies5 Apr 16, 2009 10:39 PM

                    Haven't been in a gazillion years, but always remember the potato salad. It was great. The burgers were forgettable, but, the potato salad was memorable. Has anyone tried the potato salad in recent years?

                    1. re: Briggs
                      Hackenbush Apr 17, 2009 01:20 AM

                      If I'm in the mood for a hamburger, yes, it's better than any alternative I can think of for several miles around. Most of the places you mention don't serve burgers.

                      Actually, Taylor's is pretty good but I don't think of it as in the same category. Part of the appeal of a place like Cassell's is that it's quick and simple. Taylor's takes a little more effort and time.

                      And given my last few visits to Pacific Dining Car, if it was a choice of that or Wendy's, I'd pick Wendy's. The food is just as bad but it's a twentieth of the price.

                      1. re: Hackenbush
                        Harry Nile Apr 17, 2009 01:51 AM

                        I'm curious, Hackenbush -- what did you have at PDC that justifies such a strong criticism? Are you talking about the hamburger steak?

                        1. re: Harry Nile
                          kevin Apr 17, 2009 08:52 AM

                          Pacific Dining Car worse than a Wendy's? Maybe if you're looking solely for a quick, greasy, fast-food run. Seriously, PDC is not an exceptional steakhouse but it's much much much better than decent. And the petite prime steak and eggs in the wee morning hours hits the spot like none other.

                          Their other Prime Steaks on a mesquite grill are nothing to throw stones at either.

                          1. re: Harry Nile
                            Hackenbush Apr 17, 2009 09:36 AM

                            I have tried both Pacific Dining Cars (the one downtown and the one in Santa Monica) a total of maybe twelve times over the years. The last six or seven times were all unpleasant experiences where I felt my party was overcharged for very bad food and very bad service.

                            I wrote in a post here about four years ago of an experience I had at the Santa Monica one that caused me to vow never to go to one again. Late last year, I wound up at the downtown one again because an old friend was in town and others had decided that's where we'd all meet and eat. It was the same thing. A Sizzler quality steak was served to me. I'd asked for Medium. They gave me a super well done steak that was almost inedible. When I complained, they insisted it was Medium and that they wouldn't give me another. I wasn't paying that evening but the pricetag really bothered me. I will pay dearly for a good meal but this was not a good meal.

                            If you want to read of my earlier experience, it's in a thread here called "Pacific Dining Car Santa Monica." I don't seem to be able to paste in a direct link.

                            1. re: Hackenbush
                              LesThePress Apr 17, 2009 10:00 AM

                              'last six or seven times were all unpleasant experiences '

                              After one, or two at the most, why would you keep going back when there are so many other viable options at this price point?

                              1. re: LesThePress
                                Hackenbush Apr 17, 2009 04:12 PM

                                I went to Pacific Dining Car a few times and had good experiences.

                                Then I had a bad experience. Okay, that can happen anywhere. You don't scratch a place off your list over one bad meal.

                                Then I had another bad experience. I didn't go back for a while.

                                Then a few years later, a date wanted to go there. I figured, "Well, maybe it's gotten better." It hadn't.

                                Then a few months later, I had a lunch interview for a job. The person who was going to hire me wanted to meet at the Pacific Dining Car. I went. Good interview. Bad meal.

                                Now that I think of it, maybe it was only four or five bad meals, not six or seven. Recently, an old friend was in town and a dinner of the old gang was arranged. They picked the Pacific Dining Car so I had to go there if I wanted to be with my friends.

                                I don't plan on ever going back. But I have a date next week with a very beautiful woman and if she says she's always wanted to go to the Pacific Dining Car and that eating steak in a place that looks like a train puts her into a romantic mood, I may eat there again.

                                1. re: Hackenbush
                                  kevin Apr 17, 2009 08:54 PM

                                  Ah, the things we'll do for a hot chick. The utter lengths we'll go to.

                              2. re: Hackenbush
                                Servorg Apr 17, 2009 10:38 AM

                                I only go for breakfast, and only to Santa Monica, but I have always had excellent meals (which includes the steak they serve for breakfast) and the service is attentive and friendly.

                                1. re: Servorg
                                  kevin Apr 17, 2009 02:35 PM

                                  you mean the petite steak and eggs, right?

                                  if so, i've tried it and it is delicious and loads cheaper more rather more reasonable than the rest of the menu (at $15.95).

                                  1. re: kevin
                                    Servorg Apr 17, 2009 04:12 PM

                                    That's the one. Really, when I'm in the mood for a "Mercedes" class breakfast PDC is my first choice.

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      Hughlipton Apr 17, 2009 04:47 PM

                                      The crab cakes benedict are a mind blower. I can't imagine how inexpesive they can be for breakfast and how expensive they can be for dinner. I have been going therre for close to 60 years and I will continue to go for the memories it brings back. I remember Mrs. Cook (owner) would show up every morning and make the steak sauce and the cobblers. In the bar there is a gone fishing sign and I do remember when they would close, I believe it was August, for the whole month. Maybe the momorabilia is more imporatant but at least as important as the meal itself.

                            2. re: Hackenbush
                              Briggs Apr 18, 2009 02:06 AM

                              I specifically made a point of including Taylor's, Yuca's and Fred 62, all of whom have partisans about their burgers.

                              But in your defense of Cassell's you're now changing the rules. If it's quick and simple, then McDonald's should be at the top of your list. So what's the criteria? A great burger, or an ok burger that's quick & simple? (BTW - I didn't include any restaurants in Downtown L.A. which also has its share of more than terrific burgers, and is in your couple of miles radius).

                              1. re: Briggs
                                Hackenbush Apr 18, 2009 11:15 AM

                                My criteria is a great burger without a lot of cost and ceremony. Cassell's is not and doesn't pretend to be the kind of place you take friends to have a leisurely meal or a business meeting. It's just a place you stop when you want to eat a hamburger.

                                Yes, McDonald's is cheap and fast. I don't think you can get a great burger there and neither do you.

                                I haven't been to Yuca's. I have been to Fred 62 and I prefer the burgers I've had at Cassell's.

                                You seem very bothered by the fact that I like the hamburgers at Cassell's. I'm writing about my tastes and my experiences, which is all we can do on this forum.

                        2. b
                          BD11 Apr 17, 2009 09:52 AM

                          They definitely still have the beef. Great, huge burgers that are timeless. The best burger spot i've tried out here

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: BD11
                            flowerofhighrank Apr 17, 2009 11:37 PM

                            Did the new owners have an idea of how good it used to be? The rumor was that Mr. Cassell raised his own cattle, in Colorado! I'm going to check it out, next chance I get! Anybody remember the hours?

                          2. HerbyN Mar 8, 2010 06:43 AM

                            used to live in the hancock park/koreatown area back in the mid/late 90's and this was my go-to place for a good burger. that said, i believe sometime during that time they changed management (someone corect me if i'm wrong), and my feeling is that they are still above average, but the place is no where near as good as it once was. definitely on the decline. each time i've been since it seems to bear less and less resemblance to the place i fell in love with.

                            the signature "spicy" mashed-style potato salad is still a winner, though.

                            overall, no longer a destination burger joint for me, but i will stop by on occasion if i'm driving by and hungry.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: HerbyN
                              RoachCoach Mar 8, 2010 04:52 PM

                              Very good USDA prime beef burger. Probably the best deal for one of these around. I just had a cheeseburger here last week after a 10 year hiatus and found it to be delicious...

                            2. blackbookali Mar 8, 2010 07:39 PM

                              I went two weeks ago and it was pretty weak. It was big, pricey and bland. Id rather eat fatburger.

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