Someone really needs to start looking into this “walk-up window only” food phenomenon that’s seemingly sweeping Los Angeles. Is it all the work of the the shadowy Big Window lobby? We may never know. One thing is for certain: Some of the city’s tastiest new meals are being handed off on trays and in boxes. Plates need no longer apply.
If you’re into the walk-up window lifestyle, you’ll probably have a nice, meaty time at Twins Sliders on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. The new mini burger and fried chicken sandwich concept from George Abou-Daoud, the man who owns every restaurant on that block and a few other great ones down the street too, opened late last month in the wall space between Mission Cantina and Delancey Pizzeria. The orange and pale blue facade, coupled with old-timey signage reminiscent of the sock hop days, is eerily similar to another walk-up window meat-and-bread place across town. And they both have milkshakes on the menu.
When last we left the Irv’s Burgers saga way back in June, the West Hollywood burger shack run by Sonia Hong was facing eviction at the hands of their pesky landlords, who were looking to double the rent on the space. Well, for a time, it seemed that Hong might be able to stick around at her location on the corner of Sweetzer and Santa Monica Blvd., given the site’s protected historical status by the city. A 30-day vacate notice came and went, meaning — for a time — the Irv’s crew could get back to doing what they loved most: flipping burgers and drawing adorable messages on paper plates.
Now, the end has come — for real this time. After coming to an agreement with the family that owns the property, the Hongs must officially close up their Route 66 burger operation as of Oct. 30.
With outposts in Oakland, San Francisco, Miami and New York City, it’s easy to forget that Umami Burger is still actually opening locations here in the Southland. After expanding into the old Papoo’s Hot Dog Show space in Burbank, the unstoppable Adam Fleischman/SBE/Fortress Investment Group joint venture looks to continue their world-dominating ways with a new Umami Burger Arts District location, open for lunch as of Monday, Sept. 23.
Beyond the classics, Umami Arts District will continue the tradition of offering one signature burger unique to each location. In this case, the East 3rd Street site is really planning on porking up the place, with a retooled version of their already popular Manly Burger.
Los Angeles strip malls are made for Thai food and burgers. The low ceilings, faded posters and open, smoky kitchens are what give strip mall eateries their unique appeal. The table you’re sitting at probably needs a napkin or two pushed under one leg to balance it out, and there’s a 50-50 chance the place you’re lunching at takes credit cards. These are strip mall staples, and burger shops and pad Thai spots execute them to a T.
Case in point: the strip mall on the north side of Venice Boulevard, just east of Sepulveda. There’s that Howard’s Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers sign that will always catch your eye, and you can never tell exactly how long the place has been open. A decade? Four decades? Since the Gold Rush? You can also squint to try to catch a glimpse inside of Moo Moo Thai Cafe. That is, unless you remember the old Thai Market that used to occupy the same space. In which case, you may be looking away in disgust.
Here’s what we found.