8289 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
We’ve all heard of Route 66 but what do you actually know about it? I’m not talking about the TV show or the multitude of songs recorded by bands like the Nat King Cole Trio, The Rolling Stones or Depeche Mode. I am talking about “The Main Street of America” that was also known as “The Diagonal Highway,” and “The Will Rogers Highway.” It was a stretch of highway that once connected the Pacific Ocean with the town of Chicago and all points in-between. While many of the business that once ran along side this mystical street that inspired a lot of this country’s car culture, there is one classic that still stands today, Irv’s Burgers.
If someone doesn’t point out to you, and that includes Linda Ronstadt who once featured a panoramic photo of Irv’s inside her album “Living In The USA,” you would and probably have, driven right past it.
Irv’s is located on the North East Corner of Sweetzer and Santa Monica Boulevard. It’s hidden amongst much flashier retail stores, including a much more pronounced competing Burger shop and despite all the changes and growth of the neighborhood, Irv’s has been there since 1950. While Linda certainly took the biggest swing, the place is no stranger to the 70’s music elite as it’s a been known to be a favorite for everyone from Jim Morrison to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The menu is pretty simple and while they offer Hot Dogs, Omelets, Bagels and Pastrami, the reason for the hype the most classic of classic LA-style Hamburgers. There’s no frills and nothing fancy, just a short order counter and a few outdoor plastic patio tables but Irv’s does have a secret weapon beyond the Burg.
While the spot is still owned by the notorious “Irv,” it’s the Hong family and specially Sonia Hong that lease the property and run the business. Sonia runs the counter most days and you will be hard pressed to find a more energetic, passionate and friendly person in the entire food service industry. Sonia treats each customer like they are family with a little small talk, a friendly greeting, a personal touch that’s all spread with cheer and good humor. Every Burger Sonia serves comes with more than just toppings and sides, it comes with a hand drawn picture and personal greeting. No gloomy day feelings stand a chance against her beaming kindness and individual attention. I mean come on, look at this picture and tell me you wouldn’t have a smile on your face if you were me.
If everyone ate here once a week, the world would be a much happier place and maybe Unicorns would finally feel comfortable revealing their whereabouts.
The Irv’s Burger is a CLASSIC American, no frills needed, Cheese Burger. It’s the kind of sandwich that not only this town but this entire country were built upon. Every Burger can be made to order but normally comes with Cheese, Lettuce, Onion, Tomato, Pickle, Ketchup, Mustard and Mayo. It’s all stacked between a classic, George Motz approved, white squishy Bun…unless you’re the skinny Hollywood actress that sat at the table next to me, for them the Burger can be ordered in a Lettuce Wrap. The lean and fresh Beef Patty has a mild and all naturally beef flavor. It’s easy to over salt a Burger like this, but Irv’s after 6 decades of Burger making, has the seasoning down just right. It comes together to form a delicious American staple sandwich that should be on the “must have” list of every Burger eater in the world.
While the Burger is truly wonderful, it’s matched by the thick-cut, crispy, golden French Fries. There’s nothing more frustrating in Tater land than bland, soggy or flimsy French Fries. In fact, let’s admit it together, those sliced, blanched, fried and season cut strips of Potatoes are awesome and a favorite food to all who own a mouth. Well let me tell you, that the Fries at Irv’s should be put in the dictionary next to the definition. I’m still bewildered with the Actress who skipped out on them.
So get in that car and drive-past the In-N-Out only a couple of blocks away, they have NOTHING on Irv’s who will make a burger, “Just For You.”
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST
Mar. 4, 2011 – 3:43 PM