For a number of reasons, I usually don’t drink soda. There are certain occasions where I believe a Coke is the only acceptable beverage. The Apple Pan, described by George Motz in Hamburger America as the “definitive burger in America”, is one of those places where Coke is a must. Diets, palates, and soda allegiances aside, there is no denying that Coca Cola is the most timeless beverage in America. The Apple Pan in West Los Angeles is a timeless burger joint where things like Heinz in glass bottles, and Coca Cola Classics are to be enjoyed. Located on Pico Boulevard, the Apple Pan is a time capsule, dwarfed by the upscale Westside Pavilion, and the towering Guitar Center. It is quite literally a shack. Stepping in, the sounds and smells of the city give way to the “ding” the cash register and the wonderful scent of grease.
Ordering at the Apple Pan can be quite intimidating. It is one of the reasons it has such a low rating on Yelp . Immediately after sitting down, the waiter places a menu in front of you and asks if you’re ready to order. “Steakburger with everything on it, fires, and a Coke.” The fries and drink will arrive within 30 seconds, and the burger not long after. The fries perfect. Neither too thick nor too thin, piping hot, soft on the inside, they can be dolloped in Heinz or consumed plain. Drinks come in metal cup holders, and even though it’s entirely placebo, make any drink taste better . This is all a prelude to the focal point of the Apple Pan: the burger. Wrapped in paper, the bun is warm and soft. The lettuce is crunchy, the pickles are sweet. All of this compliments the patty itself. Where many burger places opt for a paper thin patty, the patty at the Apple Pan is relatively thick, allowing for the meat to be cooked rare. The result is a juicy, smokey, burger that puts In ‘n Out to shame. It is the burger that I will forever compare all burgers to.
Usually pie is a must at the Apple Pan, but today I opted out, going only for coffee. The coffee, served from a great vintage Farmers Brothers percolator, is typical diner coffee. This is what makes it great. It tastes of coffee and nothing else. As much as I love single origin coffees from South America and Africa, there is something so comforting about drinking this type of coffee. It is not meant to be over analyzed, so I’ll stop by saying it is the perfect way to cap off a meal at the Apple Pan. Stepping out in to the Los Angeles sun, a meal at the Apple Pan is only complete if you smell like burgers and fries. And because the Apple Pan is a model of consistency, you’ll smell this way every time.
1. The stupidity of these Yelpers is overwhelming. Some of my favorite reasons people had for hating the Apple Pan are “the rude waiter who threw utensils at me”, “server didn’t seem inclined to waste words on us”, and “not a single hello or thank you from the counter clerk”.
2. I’ve been going to the Apple Pan my entire life, and for the longest time they used to have red plastic cup holders. Then these cup holders were replaced by styrofoam cups, as customers were stealing the holdes. My friends father, upset by this, tracked down 50 of these holders, and now you can once again enjoy your soda in a cup holder at the Apple Pan.