LA may be known for their sushi and their fresh, organic cuisine, but they’ve got some serious burgers out there, too. My favorite was at Apple Pan, a relic that hasn’t changed anything since it opened in 1947. The wallpaper is red plaid and the layout consists of one U-shaped bar with red bar seats bolted to the ground—no crowding—that surrounds a central griddle/food prep area where two people assemble burgers and man the deep fryer.
Here, you must order everything as is on the menu, no substitutes. The man who took our order looked like he’d been taking burger orders at Apple Pan for quite some time and didn’t seem like a special requests kind of guy. Go for the hickory burger: a toasted bun painted with mayo, topped with an ample amount of iceburg, then burger patty, cheese, and then topped with their special hickory sauce. The lettuce is key. It keeps the whole thing crunchy as the hickory sauce seeps to all layers. The patty is thin but flavorful, and combined with the sauce, there’s no doubt about its big flavor.
The burger comes wrapped in parchment paper; no plate so as to facilitate gobbling the burger as fast and efficiently as possible. Fries come on a plate and I suggest ordering themsince they arrive in a jiffy and will save you from reaching over to your neighbor and stealing his burger. You can ask for your fries well done here, which means they’ll leave them to soak up even more oil in the deep fryer.
A girl who was with me ordered a tuna melt claiming that it was fantastic here. She ordered hers on rye with cheddar cheese. The only non-burger on the menu, I was skeptical until I took a bite and decided that this was a legit thing to order if for whatever reason you may be in a non-burger mood at Apple Pan.
However, if that’s the case, I suggest just going straight to the apple pie, which comes à la mode. It tastes great after wolfing down piping hot greasy meat, but it probably is just as good if eaten solo. The cool milky ice cream and the warm, soft apples make for a sublime combination.
Come in late night and have a full Apple Pan meal and you are sure to get a very good night of sleep.