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Inexpensive hole in the wall good American food Pasadena?

Hi guys,

Anyone know of a good American inexpensive "hole in the wall" but good food restaurant in the area around the Rose Bowl. One that is still open? It's kinda a joke I am playing on relatives who took me to a hole in the wall in Tennessee. Need to get them back. Mexican 2nd choice. Thanks, you guys are the best!

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Pastrami sandwich and chili cheese fries should do it - for the whole group - burp!

      1. re: bulavinaka

        ... or better yet, Pastrami Chili Cheese Fries with gravy!

        1. re: ipsedixit

          They OP would need to hire outside help to finish that one. ME! ME! PICK ME!!!

      2. re: ipsedixit


        Just get ONE order of fries or onion rings or any side. Trust me...


        1. re: ipsedixit

          Probably as bad an example of pastrami as there is. You want fat, you get it.
          You want pastrami, go elsewhere.

          1. re: carter

            I'm not a pastrami fan -- either at the Hat or anywhere else (Langer's included). Might go for pastrami once in a while at Oinkster, but generally could care less.

            But at the Hat it's always the roast beef dip and some chili cheese fries with onions, tomatoes and pickles.

          1. Of course, there's nothing really "in the area around the Rose Bowl," per se, given its geographical situation. The Hat (mentioned above; on Lake) is a solid choice. There are two hot dog places in town that each have their own merits (Slaw Dogs, also on Lake & Dog Haus, on Hill; overall I prefer the former, but each has strong points, and I think I like the chili better at Haus). I'm not really sure if Pie 'n' Burger constitutes a "hole in the wall," and like any other venerable institution it has both its admirers and detractors, but I think it's a very solid choice for a local establishment serving tasty and unpretentious food.

            There's a wealth of Mexican options, one of which is Tonny's (Orange Grove at Lake). You'll find many positive recommendations here on chowhound.

            Tonny's Restaurant
            843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

            Dog Haus
            105 N Hill Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106

            1. Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles is American Food. 830 Lake.

              Not as inexpensive as The Hat. Get there at 8 a.m. so are not waiting in the lines...


              1. Pie and Burger isn't that far afield and has the right ambience. Definitely feels like you're slumming it but the food is quite good.

                9 Replies
                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Explain, please.

                    Mathew Broderick and Richard Dreyfuss were (and are?) regulars there.

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      "f'ing scary"? Now _that's_ a unique take on PnB! I've been dozens of times and have always enjoyed it. The burgers are slightly better when the older gentlemen is at the grill -- I don't know why exactly, but everything melds together a bit better. The pies are always excellent no matter who's at the grill. Okay, the fries are meh, and the few times I've experimented with their non-burger entrees have been disappointing, but their pies and burgers are decidedly non-scary.

                      Perhaps PnB's air of charming neglect is offensive to rarefied sensibilities?

                      1. re: Peripatetic

                        I'm kinda glad the fries are boring, because their potato salad is damn near perfect, and this way it's not hard for me to choose. As for alternative sandwiches, I always finish the tuna with tuna salad dripping off my elbows and a great big grin.

                        I guess this place would be "scary" to anyone who's addicted to all tidy and shiny. Me, first time I walked in I was Home.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Interesting, I'll have to try the potato salad on my next visit. I was disappointed by their chicken pot pie, patty melt, and chili, which made me think that -- like many Chinese places in the SGV -- they excelled at a handful of items and the rest of the menu was essentially decoration.

                          PnB won't appeal to the mysophobic, but it's hard to think of it as "scary", and it's far from the "most filthy restaurant I have ever been to in the U.S." (as another commentator remarked).

                          1. re: Peripatetic

                            "most filthy restaurant I have ever been to in the U.S."

                            That title might belong to PnB's nearby neighbor ... Burgers Continental.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Big fat AAAYY-men to that, ipse. BC smells bad. P&B smells like food.

                              I was deeply disappointed in the P&B patty melt, too, especially after J. Gold's glowing recommendation. Mine in no way resembled the one he described, down to my postage-stamp slices of "cheese". I ascribed this to an off day, and still intend to give it another try.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                Second that (the BC comments). I like PnB's Tuna Melt and their salad with their homemade Thousand.

                      2. re: Phurstluv

                        If you don't like it, then you don't like it. But, PLEASE, reserve words like scary for places that really are like Burger Continental.

                        Burger Continental
                        535 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

                    2. Definitely the hat, get chili burgers, etc plus you have to get their onion rings.
                      But then again, how about Hawkins Burgers in Altadena, really hole in the wall, but their hamburgers are supposed to be great. I went but it was 100 degrees outside and only place to eat is outside.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: paprkutr

                        Sadly, the Hawkins House of Burgers in Altadena closed last year. I believe the original is still open in Watts.

                        1. re: A5 KOBE

                          Second Rick's, but note that there's no indoor seating. (The outdoor seating is covered, though.)

                        2. I'd go with Tonny's or Tarantino's (nb:cash only). Might be fun. Let the relatives run up a big check. Then, tell them they have to wash dishes.

                          Tonny's Restaurant
                          843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

                          Tarantino's Pizzeria
                          784 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mc michael

                            Unfortunately, there are about 3 ATMs within 2 blocks of Tarantino's.

                            Trust me, it's from personal experience, and I have yet to do dishes at Tarantino's.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              "I have yet to do dishes at Tarantino's"

                              (whew!) guess it's still safe for me to go there.

                          2. Andy's Coffee Shop on Colorado near Hill St.. Classic diner.

                            Andy's Coffee Shop
                            1234 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: SeaCook

                              I was thinking either Andy's on Colorado before Hill or The Reyn Coffee Shop on N Lake since they are both mom and pop coffee shop type places with decent food. Probably give Andy's higher marks, tho. Call to check times they are open - usually Andy's is only open til 3 on weekdays and The Reyn, I think 2. But with the game and holidays, they may have changed that. Good luck!
                              Since they are from the south, they may (?) already know the chicken and waffles thing, but I think Roscoe's (on N Lake) is awesome and different.
                              I love Rick's but it is just an old-timey outdoor eating hamburger/burrito/taco place. Maybe not for what you are thinkging - but it is good.
                              The Hat - love the pastrami and the CCF, but like someone said, one order of the CCF should be good for about 3-4 people (this is the small one!).
                              Tonny's is good Mexican in a simple space.
                              Don't quite understand the "scary PnB", but whatever. Their burgers are great, fries <meh> pies - AWESOME!!
                              Good luck with whatever you choose! Go Wisconsin!! ;-)

                              Tonny's Restaurant
                              843 E Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91104

                              635 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

                            2. Maybe I'm dense, but by "hole in the wall", are you thinking some place really sketchy/dangerous-seeming? I think of that term as being merely small and inconspicuous, but obviously there are probably regional/personal variations in interpretation.

                              This makes the joke make more sense. Just dragging someone to pie-'n'-burger won't have the same effect as maybe somewhere way outside their comfort zone. Am I close? With that in mind Tarantino's wouldn't be outside anyone's comfort zone, but I do like the run-up-the-bill (cash only) prank idea. Could get the waiters/bus-boys in on it probably.

                              1. Inexpensive and sort of a hole in the wall and in Pasadena try Burger Continental. Lots of different burgers and a lot of mediteranian things too.

                                Burger Continental
                                535 S Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: chuck

                                  I was going to mention BC, but the OP asked for "good" American food.

                                  1. re: chuck

                                    hah! now that you mention burgers, I suppose Lucky Boy would qualify as a bit of a hole but with decent burgers.

                                    Lucky Boy Drive-In
                                    640 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105

                                    1. re: mc michael

                                      How about Tops? (http://www.theoriginaltops.com/). Lucky boy is good and greasy, but I think Tops is a better, solid burger. They have an $7 Kobe beef burger that really hits the spot.

                                      I think Pie N' Burger would be a disappointment. Has anybody been recently? I used to daydream about their cheeseburger, but the last time I went, prices went up and quality was down.

                                      1. re: yangjon

                                        Re: Pie N' Burger. Just got back a few minutes ago actually.
                                        Possibly the most filthy restaurant I have ever been to in the U.S. I wish I were exaggerating. Also felt basically unheated - everyone eating in their coats/scarves (it's currently 45 F outside). Dirty napkins on the floor, along with whole fries, older food scraps, both in front of and behind counter. Just completely disgusting. If this place got a "C" I would be impressed.

                                        As for the food, the pie was really good. Didn't see anyone having burgers.

                                        Oh yeah - about $18 (w/ tip) for 2 slices and 2 foul decafs. Will not return (well, maybe for a whole pie to go).

                                  2. Maybe if you told us what kind of food your relatives took you out for at that hole-in-the-wall place it might help us make a more amusing choice?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: monku

                                      They took me out to a little roadside country restaurant called Clarence's Drive In,TN. Biscuits & gravy, chicken fried steak kinda place. Real down home country I would say. I asked for a meal that would represent the area, and said it did not necessary need to be fancy. They laughed and said, "This is not fancy". They were correct in that definition.

                                      1. re: mara44

                                        Yeah, but I bet it was GOOD! ;-)

                                        1. re: mara44

                                          Based on that, I stand by my The Hat recommendation.

                                          1. re: mara44

                                            Sounds like my kind place. When there's chicken fried steak on the menu that's what I'll order.
                                            Roscoe's chicken & waffles in Pasadena would fit the payback.

                                        2. How about tops on Allen? Oops, already mentioned!

                                          1. Euro Pane Bakery in Pasadena on Colorado serves "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" egg salad sandwiches - so creamy, with delicious toasted crunch from the rosemary bread, returned the very next day for another. All of the items on their menu look fabulous, can't wait to get back.
                                            The Hat is an awesome place for pastrami sandwiches - it is a favorite for melt in your mouth pastrami on a soft French roll - just thinking about it makes my mouth water! No, it isn't NY pastrami, but that is o.k. by me. I've had both, and enjoy them both for different reasons.

                                            Euro Pane Bakery
                                            950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106

                                            Euro Pane Bakery
                                            345 E Colorado Blvd #101, Pasadena, CA 91105

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MsJulie

                                              I'm not sure Euro Pane counts as "hole in the wall" and neither really is it inexpensive.

                                              Pastries are $4-5 and sandwiches $8-9.

                                            2. Maybe Wolfe Burger on Lake?

                                              Wolfe Burgers
                                              46 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101