Pie ’n Burger
Pasadena, CA 91106
@bloefeld/Flickr Pie ’n Burger's cheeseburger
- Sun.-Thu., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- No Alcohol
- Kid Friendly, Takeout
- Street Parking
- Reservations Not Necessary
The iconic Pie 'n Burger in Pasadena (mere blocks from Caltech) has the cheeseburger most reminiscent of the old-fashioned, idyllic lunchroom cheeseburger of the '40s and '50s. Each ground beef burger is grilled to perfection in the open kitchen by longtime cooks, topped with a sheaf of iceberg lettuce and lacquered with a piquant Thousand Island dressing. Not much has changed in the 5½ decades since Pie 'n Burger opened in 1963. Unwavering consistency is a virtue here. There's the same Formica-topped counter, the same recipes. And one of the waitresses has been there since the place opened, which really gives it the feel of a time warp. Even the Cokes here are made the old-fashioned way, by mixing Coke syrup with soda water to order. The menu did add a veggie burger (a sign of the times) and spinach and mushroom quiche. The pies are some of the best anywhere and still made fresh daily. The suave butterscotch meringue pie and coconut meringue can only be improved by having your no-nonsense waitress scrape the meringue off and layer it with a solid inch of homemade whipped cream (trust us). It may look somewhat disheveled, but it makes up for that in the custard-to–whipped cream ratio. And despite the small seasonal window for the fresh peach pie, it's worth the pilgrimage for a slab of pie that can transport you to a Midwestern grandma's house for a fleeting gustatory moment. —Kayvan Gabbay
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