Burgers: Let's Hear It for the Stand

It’s the end of National Burger Month, so what better time to celebrate five burger joints that have made a name for themselves on bare-bones good food without an expensive publicity machine calling the shots. Bill’s Burgers: Also known as Bill and Hiroko’s, this stand in an industrial area has been grilling up burgers for 50 years with Bill Elwell, now 88, […]

It’s the end of National Burger Month, so what better time to celebrate five burger joints that have made a name for themselves on bare-bones good food without an expensive publicity machine calling the shots.

Bill’s Burgers: Also known as Bill and Hiroko’s, this stand in an industrial area has been grilling up burgers for 50 years with Bill Elwell, now 88, at the burners of an original 1920s cooker. He’s known for being a bit cranky (albeit beloved at the same time)—and the sign on the wall probably says it all: "This is not Burger King. You don't get it your way, you take it my way or you don't get the damn thing." Grab a seat along the seven-seat counter for a close-up of the grill. There’s a choice of a single or double patty (starting at $3), but definitely go for the double. It’s thin, but mighty in taste. Burgers come with iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato, pickles, chopped onions and mayo. The cheese is American, and pastrami and bacon are options. Bill is so confident with the quality of his meat he has been known to eat it raw—just to prove a point. Only open until 4 p.m. daily. 14742 Oxnard St., Van Nuys, 818-785-4086

Jack’s Classic Hamburgers: This North Hollywood stand is not quite a destination run, but rather the perfect place to go when you are in the neighborhood. Owner Jack can seem a bit gruff, but it’s just a dry sense of humor in that Oscar Madison way. He’ll ask what you want on your burger after it’s grilled up and ready to go. And you won’t pay until just before you have food in hand. Burgers top out at $5. There are also worthy items like the breakfast burrito. Cash only. Open until 10 p.m. daily. 11375 Riverside Dr., North Hollywood, 818-761-4599

K’s Burgers & Sandwiches: The Encino branch of this donut shop located in a strip mall adjacent to a car wash serves up very tasty ¼-pound burgers with single or double patties. Mayo, lettuce, tomato onions are standard—or make it a cheeseburger for $4 to $6. The real deal is the lunch combo for $6.50 that includes fries and a drink. There’s also a variety of other sandwiches, but burgers are the thing here—as well as donuts (next door), of course. Burgers are only sold Monday to Friday until 4 p.m. 16304 Ventura Blvd, Encino, 818-501-4412

The Munch Box: Declared a Historical-Cultural Monument in 2014 and a prime example of Googie architecture, this bright yellow burger stand in Chatsworth opened in 1956 and is now run by second-generation owners. The burgers are thin but packed with flavor starting at $3. The tiny, simple menu consists of the plain burger, hickory burger, chili burger and mushroom burger, as well as a few hot dog variations. Down it all with a root beer float. Open until 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and until 4 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. 21532 Devonshire St., Chatsworth

Old Fashioned Chiliburgers & Sandwiches: This San Fernando eatery is more than just a stand, as it is located within a small shopping area with a clean, modern interior and indoor/outdoor seating. Plus it is also a bit pricier than the other joints, with a broader choice of burgers featuring thin, fast-food type patties as well as 1/3-pound to 1/2-pound gourmet angus burgers with various toppings including pork belly, chili, bacon and pastrami. Prices run $5.50 to $7 for a burger. A combo of fries and a drink is an extra $4.20. Hot dogs, pulled pork, baby back ribs are also on the menu. Open until 7 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 233 North Maclay Avenue, San Fernando, 818-898-2227

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