The hamburger may be the quintessential LA meal (and the lunch of choice for the pictured hair and makeup artists, working at a fashion show for the Mexican designer known as Mitzy, held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel). Greater Los Angeles is home to thousands of establishments with the word burger in their name: from regional chains like Fatburger and In-N-Out Burger to popular one-offs like Pie ‘N Burger in Pasadena to mini-chains like the one-year-old Umami Burger, whose creatively topped sandwiches have quickly earned a loyal following. And that categorization fails to include dozens of other legendary joints: the Apple Pan, famed for its hickory burgers since 1947; Original Tommy’s, a 64-year-old purveyor of chili burgers; Bob’s Big Boy, one of the world’s first burger franchises; and on and on. The hamburger may not have been invented in LA, but it was arguably perfected here, where a burgeoning postwar car culture created unprecedented demand for a tasty handheld meal. Today, old-school hamburger drive-ins—like the estimable Bill’s in suburban Van Nuys, among many others—remain a fixture of LA’s cityscape. You don’t have to drive far in LA to realize you’re in the burger capital of the world.
The hamburger may be the quintessential LA meal.