Business: Marketing Column

Cheeseburger Week Review: Twist on a Classic

by EDDIE RIVERA, Editor, Living Section
Published: Friday, January 17, 2014 | 10:10 PM

(Editor’s note: Nearing the end of our cheese, beef and bun odyssey,we found time and the room somehow, to explore yet one more. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Haven GastroPub in Old Pasadena.)

Nestled away off the bustling Colorado Boulevard at Delacey, Haven Gastropub has been busily brewing its own beers and serving a remarkably good cheeseburger for the last two years.

Haven Gastropub's McCormick Alley burger.

Over the past ten or so days, we’ve tasted a lot of great burgers, ate about 302 fries, and had almost every conceivable burger from outrageous to outstanding. They’ve all had their unique traits. At Haven Gastropub, it might be the unique sauce. We tried the McCormick Alley cheeseburger—a beef patty with cheese, arugula, sliced red onions, and a captivating sauce of apricot and bacon. It’s a little thing, but it’s a big thing. It creates a much sweeter burger, obviously, but it lights up everything else in the mix as well.

Cheeseburgers need a great supporting cast and in this case, it’s the fries, fresh, hot and thin, and once again, the sauce. Haven goes the ketchup idea a few levels better with theirs, which is ketchup, cayenne pepper, bell peppers and cinnamon. Who knew?

“The apricot-bacon sauce is just a twist on a classic idea,” says manager Kywan Lee, who proudly emphasizes their intent to rise above bar food. And they do.

They also have a terrific garlic aoli. We took the two sauces, and mixed them together, with pretty delicious results. Showing our handiwork to Mr. Lee, he laughed. “Yeah, everyone does that.”

Okay, we’ll stick to just writing about the sauces and the burgers. Haven Gastropub already does a bang-up job making them.

Haven Gastropub is at 42 South Delacey Avenue, Old Pasadena. (626) 229-9390.