[RESTAURANT REVIEW] Cassell’s Burgers –Still a Local Favorite

Can an historic Los Angeles favorite retain its juice in a new location with 21st century prices? That’s what everyone wondered when Cassell’s Hamburgers closed down a few years after founder Al Cassell died in 2010 and re-opened down the street as part of the restored Hotel Normandie in Koreatown.

First opened in 1948, Cassell’s was long one of the city’s favorite burgers, decades before the appearance of Umami, the Counter and Father’s Office.

It was bigger and beefier than the Apple Pan burger, with higher quality ingredients than Tommy’s. The new location has been open for two years now and has settled in as a family-friendly spot with the same attention to quality that Al was known for back in the day.

Instead of opening only for lunch, which was great for Wilshire area business people but tough for everyone else, it now has long hotel-restaurant style hours, from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends to accommodate hungry revelers.

There are antique-looking stools and a full bar visible behind a sleek wooden counter. And there are welcome additions to the formerly brief menu, from a fried chicken sandwich to an excellent blue cheese wedge salad to a full case of fresh pies.

The most important thing, of course, is the burger, ground from Colorado Angus whole chuck and brisket, according to the menu. It’s a fine griddled specimen that’s even more decadent served as a patty melt, with oozing cheese and plenty of grilled onions.

You can still upgrade from the standard ⅓ lb. burger to the ⅔ lb. size Cassell’s was famous for, though that seems excessive in this health-conscious age.

Better to save room for the famously mustardy potato salad, some onion rings, and that pie afterwards, available in homey varieties like lemon custard or banana-dulce de leche.

Menu items make use of products like Mary’s chicken and organic eggs, showing that Al’s long-ago attention to quality ingredients has returned in full force.

Homemade sodas, craft beers and classic cocktails are also a big step up from the original.

While the hotel also houses cocktail temples Normandie Room and the Walker Inn and quirky tasting menu restaurant Le Comptoir, there’s nothing precious about Cassell’s.

As a result, Cassell’s has a much more eclectic clientele—local families mingle with hotel guests and pre-karaoke crowds, because who doesn’t like a good burger or a piece of pie?

It’s true, you can’t go home again, but in this case, maybe that’s a good thing.

Cassell’s Hamburgers

3600 W 6th St.

(323) 387-5502

cassellshamburgers.com

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