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Burger Continental in Pasadena---What's the deal?

  • l

A friend and I finally went to Burger Continental Thursday and what a disappointment. First off, I had probably the worst burger I've ever had. The name of this place is very misleading. Second, the server never refilled drinks, asked how things were or came back period till it was time to leave the check. Probably most disturbing was the general condition of the place. It was filthy. Ketchup stained and sticky menus, chipped plates, glasses with other restaurant names on them, a manager walking around wearing a filthy apron. It went on and on. They win the dirtiest restaurant award. Why is this place so well known and popular. It's a dump. We should of went to Pie & burger across the street.

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  1. Well, don't bash the place too hard.

    It's a good local hangout for grad students and undergrads from Cal Tech ... you know, cheap, easy and accessible comestibles for the student on a budget. The lunch buffets (around 10 buckaroos) is the epitome of cheap, non-offensive, starchy food for those times when a young aspiring physicist needs to work out the wrinkles in the laws of dark matter or GUT.

    It also has lively sunday brunches (esp. during Mother's Day), belly dancers, and so the atmosphere is always lively (if not a bit tacky). Once the servers recognize you (or get to know you), service improves by leaps and bounds. Rumor has it that it also offers up karaoke ...

    And, yeah, burgers are not its specialty. Faux Greek food (think chewy, non-imaginative kebabs and skewers and gyros more akin to Cal-Mex burritos than any Greek pita sandwich) are par for the course. It's sort of like people who think Yang Chow is not only real good Chinese food, but just real good food, period.

    To each it's own, I suppose ...

    13 Replies
    1. re: ipse dixit

      The last time I went to Burger Continental was about 7 years ago, I think. It was very disappointing. You can get much better kebabs and pita sandwiches just up the street at the Mediterranean Cafe. It has no atmosphere or lively belly dancers but the food is good and inexpensive. I used to like Burger Continental but I noticed each time I went, it got worse and worse. Finally I gave up. I've never been disappointed by Mediterranean Cafe, though - simple and good.

      1. re: monkuboy

        I guess I'm lucky that I've never gone to BC for the food, or on a weekday, or had a hamburger or seen it during the light of day, or sat in that awful front room. BUT It's just great on a Saturday nite with the entertainment and that outdoor brick area and the lively crowd and (if you go a few times) the waitresses start treating you much better... it's a lively, fun place and the food is perfectly passable..

        1. re: nix

          You are lucky you didn't eat at BC. Try Pie & burger across the street or Hamburger Hamlet north on Lake.

          1. re: nix

            BC used to be much better. It's been on a steady decline for decades now.

            1. re: nix

              If you do go there, which I don't know why, whatever yuou do, don't sit in the back of the back patio. The odor will knock you out. Stinks back there.

              1. re: Jaymes

                One wonders if Burger Continental is paying off the Health Dept & restaurant critics. It's amazing that it's stay so busy with such a bad reputation for cleanliness.

            2. re: monkuboy

              I concur that Mediterranean Cafe is one of Pasadena's best.

              I went to BC once and it's never occured to me to go back.

              1. re: Key Lime Guy

                I also highly recommend Lebanese Kitchen on Washington near Hill. Their food is damn good. A bit farther away though.

                1. re: bruthafez
                  k
                  kimpossible1138

                  I agree! Lebanese Kitchen is consistently good. No atmosphere to speak of, but brilliant stuffed grape leaves.
                  Lebanese Kitchen
                  1384 Washington Blvd.
                  Pasadena, CA 91104
                  (626) 296-9010

                  1. re: kimpossible1138

                    True, good food, but I grew old waiting for it. I have *never* had such slow terrible service when in a restaurant with only one other occupied table. I think take out is the only way to go... because it isn't *that* hard to fill the water glasses at one table when you fill them at the other.

                    1. re: MsAC
                      k
                      kimpossible1138

                      Hee. I think take out is a great idea...I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me! I'm sure we can muster a nicer atmosphere at home, complete with music and beverages of choice.

                2. re: monkuboy

                  Last time I was at BC was about 9 years ago and it was OK. I went back there last week and boy I was disappointed. The food was horrible, cold and wow the cheap pastry was a big shock. They have lost their originality, except the dancers, everything else is bad. The service is horrible, No service at all. The owner is losing it he is in his 60s and wearing a drop down baggy jeans. I could not believe my eyes. The place looks like is having money problems. Dirt was all over. I will never ever go back there.

              2. I don't understand it either. KABC-TV has featured them quite a few times on the tube. Too bad they didn't film the kitchen for their viewers. I don't know how they pass a health dept. inspection. The Sahara Cafe on Colorado Blvd. has some pretty good middle east food. At least you don't have to wipe off your feet before leaving.

                1. I have not eaten there in quite a while, but I have eaten at BC-catered parties, and the food is actually fine.

                  Someone I know who boycotts BC mentioned to me that the owners of BC are also landlords of properties, which to put it mildly, are not in the best-kept condition. It sounds like they have the same attitude toward their restaurant.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: bruthafez
                    k
                    kimpossible1138

                    I'm another person who boycotts BC. They have been dirty my ENTIRE life in Pasadena. I have an early memory of my mother taking me by the hand as we walked behind BC to get to the Pantry Supermarket, and her pointing out a pool of filthy, stinky water dripping into their back patio from some drainage pipe and her making me promise never to eat there.
                    Years later, I had no choice as they were doing the food service at Caltech. Yikes. They did have good baklava, but they were ridiculously overpriced. Then, when they lost the contract, they started bringing restaurant leftovers for dinner in takeout boxes. Oh my GOD, will people please stop supporting this crazy place.

                  2. One reason that people I know eat there, especially Caltech students, is the $2 burger + soda happy hour on Mondays and Tuesdays. For this price, they do win against McDonald's and such for quality. They also have $2 cocktails during the day and afternoon that I've known people to be enthusiastic about. I agree heartily with what's written here that I wouldn't pay full price for their food.

                    They do occasionally have entertaining zydeco bands and such if you like that sort of thing. But I would stick to the drinks.

                    1. Have never been there because I heard it was the dirtiest restaurant in L.A. After reading all of this I'm glad I never ate there. It's amazing that almost everyone I know that mentions BC says it's dirty.