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Last Hamburger Hamlet Standing (Sherman Oaks) Bites the Dust.

Hamburger Hamlet Sherman Oaks has closed. So sorry to see the end of this LA institution. Another part of my childhood is now gone….
http://la.eater.com/archives/2014/06/...

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    1. What I find so interesting about Hamburger Hamlet closing is that they've been closing at a time when gourmet hamburger joints are popping up all over the city.

      Were they just not able to adapt?

      4 Replies
      1. re: gr8pimpin

        I know. sucks. their burgers were nice size and so juicy. ill miss it.

        1. re: jessejames

          Huh. The burgers at their Bethesda MD location were never better than mediocre. Ditto for the rest of the food.

          1. re: Just Visiting

            I like the size, not too huge, the thickness, so they could be medium rare and the blue cheese on top...not fancy but IMO not much different than golden state. and the lobster bisque, also not gourmet but classic.

            1. re: jessejames

              I can recall when you could get that burger with Roquefort cheese. Later there was a descent into inferior blue cheeses. R.I.P.
              With and without a hangover, I enjoyed more than a few Hangover Omelets.

      2. It's been going down hill since the Lewis family sold the chain a few years back...

        5 Replies
        1. re: wienermobile

          I last went to the one on s. Beverly drive...it was an oasis of welcome mediocrity in the middle of BH

          1. re: wienermobile

            "...since the Lewis family sold the chain a few years back..."

            A few years is about 25 or more years now. My how time flies when you're having fun! As Bill Griffith's favorite cartoon character likes to say "Are we having fun yet?"

              1. re: wienermobile

                + 1 lb per year? Doh! (or is that Dohnut?)

          2. They lost my love when I discovered that their "lobster bisque" was nothing but a mixture of canned Campbell's Soups+pinch of cayenne, milk and a little sherry +crab.

            10 Replies
            1. re: maudies5

              Actually, that's not true…

              Don't know where you heard that one but I was given the recipe, before my beloved BH HH closed, and Campbell's has nothing to do with it.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but that recipe you referenced was the P.R. version, not the factual version. I got the recipe from HH Corporate. Those canned soup combos were the best Lobster bisque recipes ever and exact duplicate of what HH has been selling for years and years.

                  1. re: maudies5

                    Please post your recipe- if you have it.

                    1. re: BubblyOne

                      1 can tomato soup
                      1 can green pea soup
                      1/2 can cream of mushroom soup
                      1 soup can of milk
                      1/8 soup can madeira or dry sherry
                      pinch of cayenne pepper.
                      Fresh (not canned) lobster or shrimp
                      Combine all of the canned soups and stir well while adding milk. Heat through and keep stirring until soup is smooth.
                      Add seafood at the end and cook together on low heat for a couple of minutes.
                      This is THE RECIPE. I have made it for years and my sister in Washington,D.C. makes it every year for her Super Bowl party. Folks are incredulous when they taste it.
                      I think it's remarkable that Marilyn Lewis actually thought people would believe she was making lobster stock from live lobsters for a restaurant chain.

                    2. re: maudies5

                      A Google search produced this: " My first job in LA, H. Hamlet, Ventura Blvd. 1987... I think he took the recipe for the Lobster Bisque with him, cause that was the only item that was not allowed "to go" from the restaurant in fear that someone would duplicate the recipe."

                      There was a definite reason he didn't want anyone to duplicate that recipe:)

                      1. re: maudies5

                        "I got the recipe from HH Corporate..."

                        That in and of itself may be the problem - you got the recipe after the chain went corporate. HH started going downhill once it was a corporate business rather than a family-owned establishment. It would not shock me to learn that they changed recipes.

                        1. re: Jack Flash

                          That's my thought as well. If the recipe was such a guarded secret that one couldn't even order it to go, why would it be given out?

                          I worked at HH in the mid 70s, and many items (besides the bisque) were delivered from the commissary- the chicken salad and rice pudding were two.

                          I'm wondering if Marilyn did use the recipe from her book back in the beginning. After all, that was written long after the Lewis family sold, so I'm not sure what "P.R." benefit she would get out of lying.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        That's not where I got my recipe, Servong, but it looks interesting and certainly worth a try.
                        Over the years I became acquainted with the staff, having been a regular in BH, and this doesn't come very close to mine.

                    3. re: maudies5

                      Ah, back when there used to be some lobster chunks in the bisque.

                    4. I'm still grieving, probably always will, for my favorite bar and staff in my area….
                      What a loss.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: latindancer

                        At the Sherman Oaks location?!
                        That place had the ambiance of a Chili's or Panera Bread - translation, none, zippo.
                        The food was much better, which is more than over-stating the case.
                        Probably the least interesting/ambient HH ever.
                        I live about 1-2 miles away, and ate there once, never to return.

                        1. re: carter

                          No, not the Sherman Oaks location. I was never there.

                      2. I'm really bummed!!

                        I was planning on eating there for the first time in 20 years!!!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gr8pimpin

                          The best analog would be The Counter burgerwise.

                        2. Very sad. I knew the time was coming after the Pasadena Hamlet closed...

                            1. This does make me sad. HH was a special treat when we were kids, reserved for celebration dinners (with 4 kids) or when the grandparents came to town. I still remember my grandfather sneaking his newly-acquired stray toy poodle into the Brentwood location in his overcoat. The dog sat there with her nose sticking out for air for a good hour before the waitress noticed and said something. My grandpa slipped her a $20 and she dropped it.

                              Haven't eaten at HH for probably 15 or 20 years, but I remember thinking their chicken strips with fries and a Shirley Temple was the greatest meal on the planet. I'm sure it was all just frozen mass-produced garbage, but boy was it tasty as a kid.

                              1. I don't think HH suffered from lack of business. It was more like they had taken on layers of unsustainable debt.

                                1. actually, the new owners have closed the place for two weeks for repairs. this intelligence comes from a waitress who works there.

                                  it is regrettable that the author of the article neglected to read the sign on the door. no soup for you!

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: barryc

                                    So the Hamlet returns after the repairs/revamping?

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      from my friend's FB post (though i didn't know she worked there until i saw the post)::

                                      " If you haven't heard the Hamlet is temporary closed for 2 weeks. We are in transition with the new owners. It's been hard the last several months not knowing what was going to happen. So, no income until we reopen. It's been terrible reading all these articles today saying we're closed. They didn't talk to anyone or even read the sign on the door. Very upsetting !! just rumors people!! Hamlet is not closed down!!!"

                                      1. re: barryc

                                        Thanks for clarifying things, Barry. Nice to know they will still be around to scratch my HH itch when it strikes. We went so many times to the Sepulveda Blvd. branch over the years it became a running joke between my wife and I. Our son, who is about to turn 27 (how in the hell did that happen?) had his first "restaurant" experience there when he was 8 days old. He slept through the entire episode...

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          Well, the space is for lease through the brokerage community, and the liens may or may not have been cured.
                                          Don't bet the place will re-open.
                                          Either way, the place is doomed, it is just a matter of when, unless of course if Adam Fleischman gets hold of the lease, recipes, and ABC license!!!

                                    1. re: mc michael

                                      I actually find this a little disappointing, if it's true. With respect to all the nostalgia posted here, I always found the place pretty overrated myself, and I was hoping something better might take its place.

                                      1. re: mc michael

                                        We had to destroy the Hamlet in order to save it...

                                      2. FYI: http://la.eater.com/archives/2014/08/...

                                        and from a FB post of a friend who works there:

                                        "Ha! Yes. I am hired back. Orientation and retraining is next week. Reopen date is @26th. It will remain a Hamlet and the new owners are going to bring it old school Hamlet!!"

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: barryc

                                          It's true. The old Hamlet is back. A friend bought it (he owns Killer Shrimp), and worked at the Hamlet when he started out in restaurants, under the Lewis' tutelage. He wrote on FB: "As a life long fan and former manager of The Hamburger Hamlet (I have known the family since I was baby) I could not be more excited for the opportunity to reinvigorate this historic brand. Our plan is to celebrate the wonderful history of The Hamburger Hamlet, its founders Harry & Marilyn Lewis along with their children Adam and David, and take the Hamburger Hamlet back to what we all grew up with. The Hamburger Hamlet in Sherman Oaks will reopen in late August with new units coming soon."