Celebrate the Birth of the Cheeseburger in the Home of the Cheeseburger: Pasadena

Published : Wednesday, December 27, 2017 | 6:24 AM

During Cheeseburger Week from January 7th to January 12th, Pasadena honors Lionel Sternberger’s genius in being the first to put cheese to hamburger and serve it at the Rite Spot in Pasadena in 1924.

Legend has it that, in 1924, teenaged Lionel Sternberger burned a hamburger patty at his father’s roadside stand, The Rite Spot at 1500 West Colorado Street in Pasadena. Rather than throw out the burger, and risk the ire of his father, young Sternberger covered his mistake with a piece of cheese and served it to a customer, who was delighted. The Aristocratic Burger, a Hamburger with Cheese, appeared on the menu of the Rite Spot through the 1940s. This is the first verified instance of a cheeseburger being served to a customer.

Forty of Pasadena’s favorite restaurants, lounges and burger joints offered their signature burgers, some special creations and a deals during Pasadena Cheeseburger Week.

Some, such as El Portal offer specially created burger for Cheeseburger Week.

Pie ‘n Burger, The Counter, Dog Haus and Dog Haus Biergarten and others offer special deals for Cheeseburger Week.

Check out all the participants and see what everyone has on the menu for Cheeseburger Week at www.pasadenarestaurantweek.com/restaurants.

Again in 2018, patrons can vote for your favorites in the Cheeseburger Challenge. Who makes your favorite lunch counter burger? Who serves your favorite turkey burger? Who makes your favorite veggie burger? Who serves the best beverage with a burger? You decide during Cheeseburger Week, January 7th through January 12th.

For 2018, we are adding several restaurants. Some participants will include special menu items or deals for patrons during Cheeseburger Week.

Let’s all salute Lionel Sternberger for his mastery, insight, pioneering innovation and daring in placing a piece of cheese atop a hamburger for the first time in recorded culinary history at his father’s roadside stand, the Rite Spot at 1500 West Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. The invention of the cheeseburger at the Rite Spot has been documented by the Los Angeles Times, Time magazine, cheese-burger.net, Hamburger Heaven:the Illustrated History of the Hamburger and The San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Even CNN covered the story in 2012.

The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce hosts the fifth Cheeseburger Week and Cheeseburger Challenge January 8th to 13th. Once again, you’ll be able to vote for your favorites in a number of categories, from traditional lunch counter burgers to white table cloth and veggie cheeseburgers. We’ll also have an alternative cheeseburger category or two, as well.

Visitors can plan to come to Pasadena for a Cheeseburger Crawl, take the Cheeseburger Challenge and celebrate Lionel Sternberger’s culinary legacy in the city where the cheeseburger was first served.

Voting in the 2018 Cheeseburger Challenge opens January 7, 2018, and ends January 15, 2018.

Here are the participants for 2018 (so far, information is updated as it becomes available):

  • Brookside Golf Club (lunch only)
  • Cameron’s Seafood
  • Central Park Restaurant
  • Clearman’s Galley
  • The Counter
  • Del Frisco’s Grille
  • Dog Haus Biergarten
  • Du-pars
  • El Portal Restaurant
  • Gale’s (lunch only)
  • Green Street Restaurant
  • Kathleen’s Restaurant
  • Kings Row Gastropub
  • Lucky Baldwin’s Delirium Pub and Cafe
  • Lucky Baldwin’s Pub
  • Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste Pub and Cafe
  • Pie ‘n Burger
  • Plate 38
  • Robin’s Wood Fire BBQ
  • Rounds Premium Burgers
  • Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Happy Hour menu
  • Slater’s 50/50
  • Smitty’s Grill
  • True Food Kitchen
  • Twohey’s Restaurant
  • Umami Burger
  • Vertical Wine Bistro
  • White Horse Lounge
  • Whole Foods Market – Arroyo
  • Women’s City Club-Happy Hour Mixer
  • Twohey’s Tavern
  • Yahaira’s Cafe

All the information is available at www.pasadenarestaurantweek.com and on the Pasadena Restaurant Week mobile application for iPhone and Android phones.

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