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May 12, 2009 07:43 AM

The Hat (Review + Pics) - Alhambra

I've been going to The Hat for about twelve years now but the one in Alhambra (their first location) is always a step above the rest. In the tough economic times there's nothing better than cheap eats that will keep you stuffed for two days.

Blog with pictures and review:


Since 1951, The Hat in Alhambra, CA has been serving the city and community its World Famous Pastrami. Not much has changed since then for The Hat. The bright neon sign still lights up the corner of Garfield Ave. and Valley Blvd., and the world famous pastrami is still being chowed down by locals and tourists alike.

We wanted the best of both worlds, so we shared the pastrami dip ($6.99) and an order of chili cheese fries ($4.99).

The pastrami dip is generously stuffed with layers of lean, tender, juicy pastrami in between a soft french roll. Mustard and pickles line one side of the french roll, adding a special kick of flavor that complements the pastrami.

The Hat's chili cheese fries are unbeatable. First, the fries are fried to a crisp perfection that prevent it from being instantly soggy when the shredded cheese melts from the heat of the chili that is lavishly poured over. Then, tomatoes, onions, and pickles are piled over this delicious indulgence. Stab a fork into it to grab every layer of the mound of heavenly goodness.

Every fry from the beginning to the end of the feast is still crispy. The chili is filled with bits of minced beef and unlike other chili cheese fries, it is not laden with that extra layer of oil that is usually soaking through the paper plate. It doesn't taste fattening, which can be very dangerous if you eat this with your eyes close.

The Hat has opened many locations throughout Southern California since 1951, but none of the locations have been able to match up to the original Hat in Alhambra, CA. This location only provides outdoor seating and the food is only prepared for take out.

1 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

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  1. I am not a big The Hat fan, but your review makes me want to go. Good Job!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Burger Boy

      Looking at the pictures, I feel like my cholesterol just redlined. *urp*

      The Hat is still among my occasional "guilty pleasures" (N. Lake Ave.), but I'm afraid their chili fries must remain part of my distant past.

    2. I had an order of the really good CC fries at their Lake Forest Location. It was everything you described. I just wish they offered a smaller version, because it's sooo much food. I filled up on a portion of that one order, took the rest home and my wife and I shared the rest the next night.

        1. "(chilli cheese fries) doesn't taste fattening"...
          Your joking right...those fries are the most dense, oil-laden form of American gluttony you can get...your pics especially the sushi ones are great btw

          1. Try this sometime when you're at The Hat.

            Order up, one of each, a side of their potato salad and chili. Mix together and top it on their fries. Mmmm. Total trailer food, but who cares.

            3 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              There you go again -- mixing it all up. This one, being from "The Hat" really does sound like "Trailer food." I'll pass because I never had "lean, tender, juicy pastrami" (as stated in the OP) from The Hat. Only fatty and rubbery every time. I will go back to try that good looking grilled cheese I saw on my last visit with my brother – he loves the beef dip there. If I wanted dip style pastrami in Alhambra I would go to Tops Jr. on Main. But wherever you get the dinner the dessert should be the classic ipsedixit mix-it. Like you said, in Alhambra go over to Costco just South of Main (near Tops Jr.) and buy a couple hot churros and keep them hot while you quickly drive a block more to Fosselman's ice cream. The result is a must-have flavor, texture and temperature mix. FROZEN & CREAMY ice cream with a HOT & CRUSTY churro. I finally did it a couple of weeks ago and it is a great mix -- hot and cold along with creamy and crusty. Keep-up the good work ipse.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Hey that's what I've been doing lately too!

                By the way ipse, are you also going by the moniker ipse_dixit (space in between)?

                1. re: J.L.

                  Whoa. Someone else besides me is doing this evil combo?? Kudos to you.

                  Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever ordered the pastrami at The Hat. It's always been the roast beef, or the chili/potato salad fries combo.

                  Since the transition to it's always "ipsedixit". In's earlier iteration (before the fancy graphics and java applets), there are posts where I have been "ipse dixit" but that's a long, long time ago.