The world, unfortunately, is a little healthier today, due to the closing of Eagle Rock's venerable burger joint, The Bucket. The 78-year old eastside institution has for decades served as a natural congregation point for Occidental students, the ever-changing local demographic and lots of bikers on Harley Davidsons. The Bucket was just that type of joint.
If the closure this past weekend seems abrupt, that's because it was. Even locals were surprised by the sudden shutter, with the Eagle Rock Patch noting — in their own pitch-perfect small town way — that folks at the nearby Jake's Barber Shop were “all sad about The Bucket closing.”
Apparently, as we've seen before with other longstanding burger shacks in Los Angeles, the ultimate dispute came down to a lease agreement between the land owner and George Eckley, the latest operator of The Bucket.
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As those same locals will tell you, The Bucket went through a number of different owners over the years, often with mixed results. Some years, the place would have a vibrancy to their meals that would rival any other burger stand in town, but other pitstops — like burger blogger Damon Gambuto's run in 2009 — would yield less-than-tasty burgers, served with a side of historical reference. The place was even alleged to have been a popular hangout for Occidental's own President Obama, but as usual the tight-lipped White House has refused to confirm or deny such reports.
Still, The Bucket was a constant for Eagle Rock, and in recent years had undergone a revamp that brought in flat screen televisions and a new coat of paint, although the corners were perpetually in need of a good dusting.
The Bucket's closure adds to a growing list of recent restaurant shutters, including this week's surprising wind down at The Parish, Casey Lane's farm-to-table spot on Spring Street. As far as we know, there are no plans for Eckley to take to the interwebs in search of a few thousand dollars to help with the transition, which means the ultimate fate of The Bucket remains unknown.
For now, the low-slung building with the faded sign at 4541 Eagle Rock Boulevard remains closed for business, their website a ghost town of former burger glories like the Famous Cardiac, a half-pound grilled beef monster that arrived with cheese, bacon, ham, mushrooms and onions. If The Bucket ever returns, some day, somewhere, expect burger lovers and bikers to form a line out the door.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Farley Elliott writes about food, drink and entertainment at OverOverUnder.com.
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