Burger stands abound in the San Fernando Valley, thanks to the simultaneous expansion of L.A.'s suburbs and its fast-casual hamburger culture in the 1950s. None, though, is as prolific as Bill and Hiroko's in Van Nuys, which has been griddling up cheeseburgers since the 1960s. While they're absolutely worth the drive, it's octogenarian Bill Elwell himself that is the biggest draw. Effortlessly working a grill that itself is pushing 100 years old, Elwell chats with entire generations of regulars and is quick to offer a snappy retort. The friendly curmudgeon is so beloved that his ex-wife still regularly runs the register. Truth be told, Elwell's fans may just be sticking around for the SoCal-style burgers, which arrive as perfectly salted thin beef patties, with plenty of spread and shredded lettuce. Most get American cheese, of course, which Elwell slings from chest-high onto each cooking burger — sometimes whether you asked for it or not. —Farley Elliott
14742 Oxnard St., Van Nuys, 91411. (818) 785-4086.