Monday, July 19, 2010

Apple Pan: Classic Burgers

The Apple Pan has been in business since 1947 on Pico Blvd just east of Westwood Blvd, in West LA. It has a limited menu, the centerpiece of which are the two varieties of burgers - the Steakburger and the Hickoryburger (which has barbeque sauce on it). Several sandwiches, french fries and pies complete the menu.

The slogan of the Apple Pan is Quality Forever. They have maintained the same style of operation with the same limited menu in the over 60 years they have been in business. Soft drinks are served in a paper cone in a metal stand which has been refrigerated, which keeps the drink cold once poured, an old fashioned touch.

The only seating are 26 stools at a U-shaped counter, which encircles the kitchen.

The burger is served in paper bag standing up vertically. I tried the Hickoryburger, no cheese. It is described as served with mayonnaise, their own sauce, pickles, lettuce. The amount of lettuce in the burger was almost comical. I removed most of the lettuce after the first bite as it dominated the burger. The burger is served on a plain bun, which has been toasted on the griddle. They were more pickles on the burger than many places serve, which is a nice touch. The burger patty is thin and overall this reminded me of an In n Out burger, but lacking some of the salt and pepper flavor I have found typical of that chains burgers. I prefer the In n Out burger to the Apple Pan burger.

They have been doing many things the same way for 60+ years and that is how the customers like it. The waiter pours ketchup from the bottle onto a small cardboard plate in front of you soon after you order french fries. As the menu is so short and the kitchen operates efficiently, you may find yourself in an out of a stool in well under 30 minutes. The french fries came just moments after ordering, hot and crispy. These were great french fries. The sodas which don't come from a fountain and are served in the cone, the long term employees and the no tomato on the burger are all traditions at the Apple Pan.

Overall I think the nostalgia factor rather than the food is the offer at the Apple Pan. A burger, fries and a soft drink was over $11, plus tip. Not cheap for a basic burger meal.

I did not sample the pies, of which both my parents recommend the cream version. Both of my parents lived in the neighborhood near the Apple Pan before it opened, and my aunt spoke about eating there with my grandmother on a weekly basis (Tuesdays) when she was growing up, so the restaurant has been a tradition in my family for decades. I have always enjoyed it but more for the legitimate authentic old school vibe than for the food.

Where Johnny Rockets feels like the chain it is, the Apple Pan feels lived in, and that is an essential component of its charm. Surprisingly the Apple Pan is open until midnight during the week and 1 am on friday and saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

The Apple Pan: 10801 W. Pico Blvd @ Glendon, West LA. Phone: (310) 475-3585. No website.

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