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Hamburger Hamlet Pasadena Done

Los Angeles' second to last Hamburger Hamlet has closed in Pasadena after over 40 years, Du-par's Restaurant & Bakery moves in today and reopens tomorrow. California's final Hamburger Hamlet remains in Sherman Oaks at 4419 Van Nuys Blvd. (from LA Eater). It's really kind of sad.

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  1. OMG, how horrible! I was just there about a month ago. The back room with the fireplace was one of my favorite local spots this time of the year. In days of yore, I could take solace in the addition of Du-Par's but not with the atrocities that the Naylor family has done to that once-proud institution. Talk about rubbing salt in a wound.

    38 Replies
    1. re: Jack Flash

      Really??? DuPar's is owned by Tiny Naylor's? I didn't know that.

        1. re: Jack Flash

          When the Farmer's Market Du Par's reopened, it just was DuPar's in name only. Nobody made omelets as good as the old Du-Par's. Same for the hotcakes and French Toast. Just not the same since the Naylors bought the place.

          1. re: JosephEBacon

            How were omelettes better. I still generally like dupars. No big expectations.

            1. re: jessejames

              The old Du Par's actually used omelet pans to make them, they came out incredibly large and fluffy, they were folded in half with any extras you wanted. I liked their Denver Omelets they diced Hormel Cure 81 ham with peppers and onions. Since the Naylors took over, they make them the same way they used to at the various Tiny Naylors--not as fluffy and the ingredients were mixed in the eggs.

              1. re: JosephEBacon

                "The old Du Par's actually used omelet pans to make them, they came out incredibly large and fluffy, they were folded in half with any extras you wanted."

                Just like Hamburger Hamlet. We probably went there for Sunday brunch more than any other meal and their "hangover" omelet was one of our perennial favorites.

                  1. re: jessejames

                    Don't know because we haven't been to that Sherman Oaks location is a loooong time.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      I don't get omelettes but i like the pancakes corned beef hash eggs and toast and pies donuts and other stuff at one on 3d and fairfax

                      1. re: jessejames

                        I go to that Du-par's at the permanent Farmers Market on my post bike ride 5AM dining needs for breakfast. It's still a solid choice and closer than hiking all the way out from our house to Brent's for their 6AM opening.

                        I did go for a 5AM breakfast the other day to the Pacific Dining Car on Wilshire in Santa Monica. It's just a little too $$$$ for regular breakfast.

                          1. re: jessejames

                            This time I got their Country Breakfast but probably won't again as I'm not a fan of their pancakes (or really their sausage patties either as I like my sausage in link form). I'll go back to one of their steak and eggs combo's or one of their many, many benedict variations. I've tried their hash, but it's just not as good as corned beef hash so that is off the table for me.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              I want to get the eggs sardou i heard about

                              1. re: jessejames

                                That's a good one and the Hussarde is also chow worthy.

                                  1. re: jessejames

                                    Poached eggs served over Canadian bacon, English muffin halves and a rich marchand de vin sauce - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/marc... - topped with hollandaise sauce.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      sounds delish

                                      never been to PDC for breakfast -- sounds like a great time to go

                                  2. re: Servorg

                                    I enjoyed Eggs Hassarde at Brennan's in NOLA. And as for omelets, they have them forever. But a little too far for the old bike ride.

                                    1. re: mc michael

                                      I would love to do that as a ride, but probably not in this lifetime...(g)

                                      Laissez les bons temps rouler (and the bike wheels rolling for me are good times).

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  i know this is rude, but what does the average breakfast run at pdc? say, if you get the steak and eggs?
                                  i've kinda always wanted to go, but want to prepare for the sticker shock.

                                  1. re: linus

                                    With tax you are looking at at least $35 per person or so if you have coffee also. For the filet more like $40 or so.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      thanks. i suppose a coupla breakfast cocktails would up that considerably.

                                    2. re: linus

                                      steak and eggs should be 19.95 or possibly 17.95 by now, which is much cheaper than their dinner time steaks which run into the 40s.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Yeah, nowhere in town seems to be able to make a fluffy omlette at all.

                          1. re: kevin

                            Try the Original Pancake House in Redondo. Their giantic fluffy omelets are oven baked.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Damn, I hit it up a couple weeks ago. Loved the fresh whipped cream.

                              Though the scrambled eggs were terrible and the pumpkin pancakes where just ok (though the showering of cinnamon on the pancakes made it much much much worse).

                              And the breakfast potatoes were terrrible.

                              Shoot, don't know if I'll be up for giving it another try.

                  2. re: Jack Flash

                    But, didn't Tiny Naylor's own eatery go out of business years before that? Weren't they on LaCienega?
                    Do they own the DuPar's here in Vegas also?

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      The chain was purchased in 2004 by an investor group led by W.W. "Biff" Naylor, the son of noted California restaurateur Tiny Naylor.
                      Du-par's expanded in 2009 to include several locations from the bankrupt Bakers Square chain.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        I kinda used to like Baker's Square and to me it was much better than Coco's.

                        1. re: kevin

                          I never actually ate at one but, I sure do miss having one nearby for their pies which were very good.

                1. re: Jack Flash

                  I'm conflicted as well, having grown up in the SFV where we frequented both HH in Sherman Oaks and Dupar's in Studio City during their heyday. My only consolation is that blueberry cream cheese pie will now be more readily accessible.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      Not good ones. Du-Par's stopped making good pancakes when the Naylors took over. They persist on reputation alone.

                      1. re: Jack Flash

                        I like the HH pattie melts beyond belief.

                        1. re: Jack Flash

                          Is this supposedly true of all Du-Pars? I just ate at my first one last week in Vegas and the pancakes were excellent.

                          1. re: thebordella

                            Perhaps I exaggerate a bit. If you'd never had pre-Naylor hotcakes you'd probably find these OK. But those of us who've been going there since before 2004 can tell the difference merely by sight (not to mention taste). They're obviously not the same. The PR campaign to deny it is what really offended me, although it's theoretically possible that they simply got duped, too, and were only given something close to the real recipe.

                    2. re: Jack Flash

                      Yes, some of the worst food, EVER, served by people who really are there to get a paycheck.
                      Nothing wrong with that, but the empathy for HH is definitely not there.
                      Those pancakes, that French toast, and worse yet, that syrup - just awful.
                      Have a friend who lives overseas, and returns to S/C annually, still loves the stuff, yet I find it beyond bad.
                      And their coffee is even worse!

                    3. This is downright distressing and depressing.

                      1. This sucks. Ate there just a week ago. The French Onion soup was excellent. The service was very good. Place was busy. I don't get it. Must be a money thing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mc michael

                          Ok. I'll have to hit
                          The sherman oaks branch at least.

                        2. Deja Vu all over again. Here was my report from the sudden closing of our local Hamburger Hamlet on Sepulveda Blvd. (and basically National) back in 2008: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568612

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Servorg

                            Who makes burgers closest to hh? Size wise golden state?

                            1. re: jessejames

                              Simple answer nowhere.

                              But go to Morton's and see if they have rye bread on hand so that they can make you a patty melt. Since they already have the cheddar as well as the griddled onions.

                              Someone also said they make a great martini at HH.

                              Nuff said.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Great martini ez. Frozen vodka and a glass!

                                I used to enjoy their burgers on south Beverly

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    <Someone also said they make a great martini at HH>

                                    That was me.
                                    I have no idea about the other Hamburger Hamlets, as I've never been to any other, but the one on Sunset, may she rest in peace, was my neighborhood hangout…
                                    "My" bartender knew how to make it for me….along with their stellar potstickers at my favorite intimate, private dark bar.
                                    Boy do I miss it.

                                      1. re: jessejames

                                        I hate the counter and yet I loved HH.

                                1. Say it's not true! I just moved back to the Pasadena area and was looking forward to returning to one of my old haunts

                                  1. I shed no tears.

                                    Which is not to say I am cheering Du-par's.

                                    I'm thinking ... why not a parking garage.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      There's ample parking in that stretch of Lake Avenue.

                                      1. re: mc michael

                                        There's ample metered parking in that stretch of Lake Avenue.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          There's all that parking in back, and it's 2 hours free. Who wants to spend more time than that? There's also the giant Macy's/Trader Joe's Parking Garage, and the other Macy's garage on the other side. Parking is pretty much what Lake has going for it. That, and the Mediterranean place with the kebabs. And the hamburger at the former Crocodile Cafe.

                                          HH was dead to me ever since they stopped serving the #11 burger, which was sometime during the 13 years I didn't live in Pasadena.

                                    2. Yes and the Hamburger Hamlet XP on Larchmont also closed last month.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: JosephEBacon

                                        The XP in NoHo closed a few months back too. Way too much competition in that neck of the woods (counter, umami, et al)

                                      2. It is interesting to note though that they have a

                                        The Hamburger Hamlet Express on Larchmont.

                                        So in some ways there is the possibility for a fast-food-ish expansion.


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: kevin

                                          Are they still open? They supposedly are open from 10AM to 9PM Monday through Sunday but they aren't answering their phone right now. And Joseph E Bacon http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9300... reports them closed in his post above.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            I don't know for sure.

                                            But when I was driving down larchmont at least a few months ago, I did a supreme double take.

                                            It made no sense to have an HH express but then again what do I know. ?????

                                            1. re: kevin

                                              The Hamburger Hamlet XP on Larchmont closed a month ago.

                                        2. Here is a link to Pasadena Star News story and photos about the end of the Hamlet.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. The original Tiny Naylor's

                                            1. The bad news is Hamburger Hamlet is closed. The worse news it's now a Du-Par's …

                                              I never got to any Du-Par's pre-Naylor; I think my first visit was around 2007, and I got a terrible burger. When I bitched about it here, everyone said "GET THE PANCAKES, YOU IDIOT!!!" So I got the pancakes, and they were worse than the burger.

                                              But frankly HH has been losing the plot for a while. When Pa-in-law was among us he'd take us all to brunch there now and then. We had one several months after he died, and while Mrs. O, her mom and sis-in-law got the Eggs B. and liked them okay, I tried the version with the salmon cake and wished I hadn't. My old fave the Cajun Burger was also long gone, though the last one of those I'd gotten had some kind of gummy skin on the sauce and an off flavor. In the meantime, there are plenty of decent food choices in the neighborhood that I need to check on to make sure they still are. Like Abricott, which I loved in its first several months and ought to try again.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                I would add, though, that I first tried their fish and chips at the Sunset location, asking for steak fries instead of the skinny ones and getting extra tartar sauce to dip them in. That instantly became my favorite HH meal. I was not happy when Sunset closed, but glad ours in Pasadena was still there.

                                                The only upside I can see here is that Pasadena finally has someplace to eat in 24 hours a day, what I consider a significant sign of real civilization. If we're somewhere near to or west of Vermont there's always Fred 62, but in or around Pasadena it's food trucks or nothing. Remains to be seen whether Du-Par's is better than nothing …

                                              2. Hamburger Hamlet is all about memories.

                                                I used to go to HH all the time as a kid. My Mom took us to the one in Sherman Oaks mostly (but a few others too, including one "over the hill," as she used to put it). My Grandma Lil liked the place, so that's where we went. At least that's how I remember it.

                                                To an 8 year old kid in the 60s, their onion soup was heavenly. Of course, at that point, I'd never had french onion soup anywhere else and when we tried to duplicate it at home with Lipton's onion soup, it just couldn't compare. Later I ventured out and tried the Lobster Bisque. I might've been 9 or 10 by then -- another great soup, in my mind.

                                                My sister liked their tuna fish sandwich a lot. It didn't taste like Mom's. A la Todd Wilbur, we tried to re-engineer the tuna and decided that they put relish in it. I think they also used Miracle Whip or some Sysco version of it. It sure wasn't Best Foods, like Mom made.

                                                And then I discovered the Stella Nelson special. God knows who Stella was, but I later mixedher up with Stella Dallas, who would always be a young Barbara Stanwyck in my mind.

                                                Funny how I don't remember any burgers at Hamburger Hamlet! But I do remember my pretty Mom, my sister who was like a best friend and our crazy grandmother who probably wore all kinds of real jewelry to lunch. The Dowager Grandma.

                                                It's memories -- that's what the Hamburger Hamlet is and always will be.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: susiequeue

                                                  For me as a kid it was at Sherman Oaks and their Hamlet Chicken Wings southern fried with a side of apricot sauce. Never had anything like that before at 10 years old.

                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                    Funny -- I'm right now making a chicken dinner w/ an apricot jelly (like) sauce!

                                                  2. re: susiequeue

                                                    Your're right, but it was also about taste. Taste may be dead in this era.

                                                  3. NOT GOOD! My wife and I had our first date at the Hamlet in Brentwood and my Mom and step-Dad were regulars at the one on Beverly Drive. For many years we'd go to one location or another to celebrate that first date.

                                                    Lobster Bisque, Oak Plank Hamburger Steak, and Tin Roof Sundaes!!!!!!! Stella Nelson special too. Lots and lots of great memories. One of the servers on Beverly became a true friend. Her husband worked there too.

                                                    Sad to see this ending but it's been headed that way since the Lewises sold out years ago.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                      The bisque and hamburger steak were my favorites dishes, also. I was too full for the sundaes after that.

                                                    2. Certain things are beyond the food. Had a friend out of state who loved the Hamlet. My assignment: Get a set of the monogrammed (HH) silverware and mail it to him. Mission accomplished. Friend: RIP.

                                                      1. HH pissed me off when they pulled The Hotsburger off the menu and charged me $16 to recreate it (it was not as good). The Sherman Oaks location will always leave a bad taste in my mouth, but it has nothing to do with the food... it is where my mom took me to tell me my parents were divorcing!

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: WildSwede

                                                          So sorry. Did you at least get to eat before they told you the bad news?

                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                            ;-) Probably. I am thinking it was during the meal that she broke the news to me.

                                                          2. re: WildSwede

                                                            They must have swapped out the Hotsburger for their Caliente Burger $10.25 with pepper jack cheese, tomato, grilled onion, crisp lettuce and Serrano chili pesto

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              I tried the Caliente, and while ok, definitely not The Hotsburger. It had salsa mixed into the meat, then had pepper jack cheese on top with guac. Maybe jalapenos, too. Then it came with a side of chili and fries. On toasted sourdough. Delicious!

                                                              1. re: WildSwede

                                                                I don't recall a Hotsburger. Anyone know when it joined the menu? Most of my visits were in the 60's and 70's. Only occasionally after that. We'd moved out of the area.

                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                  I began going to the Sepulveda location in '74 and they had it then.

                                                          3. Now I'm very nostalgic. Maybe the Chowhound meet up in LA should be at Hamburger Hamlet Sherman Oaks before it's too late.?

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                              Now that would be something.

                                                              Thanks for stepping up to the plate Wiener. :)

                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                That's exactly what I was thinking! I think it's a good choice because we'd be able to focus more on meeting one another and not be that concerned with the chow-worthiness of the cuisine! :)

                                                              2. Good new Hamburger Hamlet story from LA Magazine at this link

                                                                The family sold the chain in 1987 for $33 million, then went on to open Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills and it's still family run.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                                  NWhen the writer refers to the "West Hollywood" location which one would that be? Sunset or the one that was off Beverly Blvd. (I think) near La Cienega? Was there another one on that area? I recall those, and the two in Beverly Hills, but wasn't sure which one would have been so star-filled.

                                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                                    The one at 9201 Sunset in the medical building which now houses 2 operations from the sushi roku gang, one called RivaBella, and the other one a high-end Chinese restaurant.
                                                                    That place was always star-filled.
                                                                    Regardless of era, even up to the final few years, that place had a cast of characters that you always recognized, always enjoyed, assuming you were at least 60 years old.
                                                                    But their best unit of all was the first one on the north side of Sunset, now home to an exotic used car dealership.
                                                                    Back when the Strip was the Strip.
                                                                    Nowadaze, zzzzzzzz for dining.