I’m going to a premier of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film tonight and I haven’t had a decent burger since January. These two events normally don’t coincide, but tonight thanks to Irv’s Burgers they will. My hankering for a burger began this afternoon while reading reviews of the Apple Pan on Yelp, cursing at the idiotic Yelpers complaining about the “lack of options” on the Apple Pan’s menu. Burgers are arguably the quintessential piece of American cuisine, but I’m worried about their future. Los Angeles has apparently become bored of a cheeseburger, as joints offering tasty, yet irrelevant truffle infused burgers are popping up everywhere. Simplicity is what makes a burger a burger, and tonight I will go to Irv’s Burgers, a stand in Hollywood where a burger, fires, and drink can be purchased for under $10, and enjoy America’s greatest contribution to the culinary world.
A “Drink Coca-Cola” sign hovering above Santa Monica Boulevard indicated I had arrived at Irv’s. A menu above the the stand presented a variety of options, but the #1 combo was the obvious choice. Cheeseburger, French Fries, and Drink for $5.08. Sonia Hong, a chatty Korean-American women took my order. In 2005, Peet’s Coffee & Tea tried taking over the tiny plot of land where Irv’s sits, but Sonia and the local community went to city hall, and convinced Los Angeles County to declare the burger stand a historical monument. As I asked for pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on my burger, I was unaware of this, only knowing I had made the right coice of ordering a coke, the only beverage appropriate in this situation.
A small patio adjacent to the stand housed a handful of stainless steel tables and chairs. From where I was sitting, I simultaneously had a view of rush hour in West Hollywood, and the kitchen, where Sonia was apparently drawing something on a plate. Sure enough, when my food arrived, there was a drawing of my shirt with the message “Just for you” scribbled on my plate. After taking the first bite of my burger, I knew this was a genuine act of kindness, not a distraction. For a seemingly thin patty, the burger packed a juicy punch. I was eating a cheeseburger. The bun was lightly toasted and buttered and the iceberg was lettuce crisp and crunchy. The fries were neither too thick or thin, and the coke refreshing. None took away from the simplicity and timelessness of the burger. While it wasn’t quite up to par with the Apple Pan, it was definitely comparable. For the price, however, I’d be hard pressed to find a better burger. Next time you find yourself in West Hollywood, with an appetite and less than $10 in your pocket, go to Irv’s. There may better burgers in the vicinity (Short Order), but nowhere will be quite as enjoyable as Irv’s Burger.