27: The Hickoryburger at Apple Pan
Los Angeles' burger boom, in many ways, owes much to this humble onion-scented lunchroom, a place that stands out among the development along Pico Blvd. like Carl Fredricksen's house in Up. The Apple Pan has been around since 1947, and it's still cash only, with bills being exchanged out of a dusty antique register.
There are two burgers on the menu, both of the old-school, paper-wrapped, lettuce-intensive variety: the standard Steakburger and the Hickoryburger. They're more or less the same burger, the difference being that the latter is slathered with a tart, sweet, smoky sauce that falls somewhere in between ketchup and Kansas City barbecue sauce.
What impresses most about Apple Pan is the impeccable consistency: stoic men in paper hats, pouring your ketchup onto little plates before you ask for it, grilling just-thick patties to the same temperature, dolloping fat gobs of whipped cream onto pies and sprinkling the right amount of salt on the fries every time. Watching those impeccable burgers slide along the long U-shaped counter is like watching an intricate choreographed machine, fine-tuned over 65 years, performing right in front of you.
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