Friday, 21 May 2010

Marty's Burger Stand, West LA - The Double Chilli Cheese

Before arriving in Los Angeles I had been looking for recommendations of places to eat in the city. There was only one person I thought of and whose opinions I regard highly. Simon Majumdar, author of Eat My Globe and Eating for Britain has not only eaten his way around the world but is also now semi resident in LA had been kind enough to supply me with a great list for good eating in the city of angels. Many of you who follow the blog he runs with his brother, Dos Hermanos, will know that the double chilli cheese burger from Marty's Burger stand in LA is said to be his favourite and the best. Coming from a man who's mantra is "go everywhere, eat everything" and who has travelled the world over in the name of food, I made this one of my priorities and the intrigue had me waking up at 6AM every morning and counting down the sleeps before I would be able to taste it for myself. We drove into town around six thirty in the evening and headed straight for the crossing of West Pico Boulevard and Prosser Avenue and located Marty's Burger stand. Unfortunately it was closed. It was a Sunday though and so my disappointment was consolable. We settled on something else for dinner and the following day, we took a bus, up Santa Monica Boulevard and then walked for half an hour to taste the legendary burger. We arrived at six fifteen and again it was closed. My heart sank, I was worn out and tired and we were leaving LA the following morning. I sulkily walked over to the pay booth at the petrol station next door and asked when, if ever, Marty's is open. It turns out it is open from eight in the morning until six in the evening. I had previously, since coming away empty handed the first night, googled and scoured the internet looking for Marty's opening hours but to no avail. I had presumed, wrongly, that surely there would be more trade in the evenings. Now, after two longwinded visits I had finally found out the operating hours of the business. So there was only one thing for it.

Having the double chilli cheese burger for breakfast was a turning point in my life. I knew there was something so very, very wrong with me to even consider such a breakfast. Especially when I had been for a hickory burger at The Applepan just the night before, but west LA's finest burger beckoned and so at eight fifteen in the morning, just before I drove to Las Vegas, I wandered up to the counter and ordered the burger I have been so eager to try. The burger exceeded my expectations. The perfect amount of chili, not too spicy to dominate the flavour and not too much of it that it soaks into the bap and makes it soggy. Two patties of beef, not too thick, cheese, crisp lettuce, tomato and a lightly toasted bap. The result is a burger full of flavour, not too stodgy, not greasy and for just $5.50. I sat quietly on the side of the road eating my breakfast, so very wrong yet so incredibly good. I contemplated what I had become and what lay before me on this long and twisted road of eating I have embarked upon. The three trips across the city had all been worth it, ten fold. We have some catching up to do when it comes to burgers in the UK. Whether or not they should feature on breakfast menu's is another matter though.

As we drove towards the edge of the city I spoke relentlessly about Marty's and the burger I had just had. My wife turned to me after about twenty minutes and said, "I wish I had a bite." Then it struck me, not only had I turned into some sort of monster that eats double chilli cheese burgers for breakfast but had become so engrossed in the experience that I had neglected to share it with my partner. I felt bad for a moment and then realised. We will just have to come back again next week.

Marty's Burger Stand is on the corner of West Pico Boulevard and Prosser Avenue, West Los Angeles and is open daily from 8AM through until 6PM.


  1. Sterling effort there, sir.

  2. Not even ONE bite? You're a hard man, Nick.

  3. But ... now you have to try "the combo", invented by my dad, Gary Garrabrant, the owner of Ayres Hardware, that used to be across the street from 194? to 2001, when he died. The original Marty asked him what he wanted for lunch one day in the 70's and he looked at the dodger-style dogs on the grill and the burgers and could not decide. Then he asked Marty to cut up a dog and put it on a hamburger. Voila. Marty's famous combo was born.