The trajectory of a fine dining chef these days is circuitous — see: Ludo Lefebvre — more often than not encompassing pit-stops, pop-ups, food trucks, food festivals, fried chicken epiphanies, grilled cheese sandwich trophies, then back to brick-and-mortar. Or not. Joseph Mahon, most recently of Bastide, has been doing successful pop-ups since he left Joe Pytka's Melrose Place restaurant while he looks for a location for his own place. Midway through that journey, as it were, Mahon has come to rest in Fullerton, where he will open what he calls his “permanent pop-up” in mid-May.

Mahon's new concept, The Burger Parlor, will go into an existing restaurant space, taking over the Rialto Café in downtown Fullerton at night after that restaurant finishes its customary breakfast and lunch service. What to expect? Well, burgers.

exterior of Rialto Café; Credit: Rialto Café

exterior of Rialto Café; Credit: Rialto Café

Also short rib chili cheese fries, Sloppy Joes, watermelon and fried chicken salad, as well as shakes, Guinness floats, ice cream sandwiches and S'mores parfaits. In addition to all the old school dessert-y things, there will be a focus on Belgian ales and American IPA's, and wines available by the glass (Mahon's pop-up partner, sommelier David Haskell, is not involved in this project). Mahon says that the restaurant will support local farmers, and he'll get all the beef for his burgers from Creek Stone Farms in Nebraska.

“We actually had great feedback when I did burger Monday's [at Bastide]. It really put the wheels in motion for this next project,” Mahon emailed yesterday. The chef says he has had this business plan for the last 6 years, but had not had the funding before. “I also believed fine dining here in L.A. was in better shape.”

As for the burger concept, Mahon says that he wanted to “redefine a common staple of American culture,” and that “burgers are the most American thing I can think of.”

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