Sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday (provided I’m not working at an open house), my favorite thing to do is gather up my wife and three boys and enjoy a tasty burger. Luckily we live close by to the finest local burger joint in the world. I am not exaggerating. Sure, In & Out is spectacular- no argument there. But when it comes to the best hamburger in Los Angeles, you really need to look no further than the Hickory Burger at the Apple Pan.
Located on Pico Boulevard where Rancho Park meets Cheviot Hills, the Apple Pan has been in the same location since the early 1940’s. It even held firm and refused to be bought out back in the 1980’s when the Westside Pavillion shopping mall tried to expand and create a bridge to shops on the opposite side of the street. Now, I believe, it has been deemed an historical landmark and will (hopefully) remain firmly placed in that location forever.
The restaurant has a variety of items on the menu including tuna fish sandwiches and absolutely scrumptious pies (the apple is fabulous but you haven’t tasted heaven until your first bite of banana cream. Or boysenberry. (Or peach, when it’s in season). But, all of that is truly secondary to the main event: the hamburger I like to call the mighty Hickory (and get it with cheese). The burger patty is thick and succulently tasty and the special sweet hickory BBQ sauce is the perfect counterpart to the crisp, cold lettuce. Everything is made to order and you can watch the gentlemen grill your food from your red vinyl stool perch behind the counter. Sodas are served in paper triangular cups in metal holders, contraptions straight out of the soda countered 1950’s. I typically indulge in a cup of coffee, though, because the secret of a perfect cup of joe? Real freaking cream swirled right in the middle and the Apple Pan does not disappoint here whatsoever. The fries are so good, they’re probably pretty unhealthy but the portions are grand enough to share with your kids or even the strangers sitting next to you.
Customers know the drill- there is no check-in list or number called. People walk in and kind of wait until a stool vacates before they can sit down. If diners linger too long, they know they’re going to get in trouble. Only one stool opens up but there are 3 in your party? Sorry kids, you’re going to have to stand. Daddy’s hungry. You may not actually even sit with your entire party and that’s OK. The food is that level of worth it. Customers also know they’re not going to come and hear about specials or healthy choices or the kale/quinoa/aioli du jour. They know they’re not necessarily going to be treated all that nicely. And that’s OK! They can get ‘nice’ from their parents. They come here to get the best burger in all of Los Angeles and if the customer service isn’t quite up to snuff, they can certainly take their whole pies to go.
The only thing customers really have to remember is to bring cash because the Apple Pan doesn’t take plastic, tip generously because the waiters deserve it and don’t try to come on Mondays because it’s closed.