Bring on the Beef, and the Cheese: Pasadena’s Cheeseburger Week is Here!

Published on Jan 22, 2024

Editor’s note: We begin our official celebration of Lionel Sternberger and his 1924 cheeseburger “invention” with two selections this week, and lots more here through Thursday. Come along with us now to Barney’s Beanery, and the Great Maple.

Being at Barney’s Beanery

Though this roadhouse chic eatery has been in Pasadena for more than a decade, this may be its first appearance in our Cheeseburger Week coverage. This is one of the Beanery’s six locations including the original in West Hollywood, Burbank, Westwood, Santa Monica, and its newest location at LAX.

While fans of Barney’s celebrate its memorable and famous chili, it famously features a range of cheeseburgers called the “Juicy Lucy.” There is also a selection of standard burgers available with cheese, from a Cali, with guacamole and jalapeno, to an Ultimate with a ⅓ lb patty, bacon, onion and arugula, but we were offered one of the “Juicys.”

The trick to the Juicy Lucy is that it’s stuffed with cheese inside the patty before grilling, and that creates a wondrous, tasty mix of beef and cheese, dripping with beef juices and cheese. 

We tried the Three Cheese Juicy Lucy stuffed with Jack, American and Cheddar Cheese, and then topped with pickles, tomatoes, Barney’s own sauce, and a lot of grilled onions. Take our word for it—it was its own glorious, juicy chaos. 

The brioche bun was soft and lightly toasted, and it all arrived with a wire basket of seasoned fries, a personal favorite. 

Barney’s is a fun, Americana-intensive, loud rock and roll roadhouse, with an expansive menu, and cheeseburgers are the perfect food for this kind of place. 

Barney’s Beanery, 99 E Colorado Blvd, Old Pasadena. (626) 405-9777.


Great Cheeseburger at the Great Maple

Full disclosure: Great Maple has, since its opening, been one of our favorite local eateries. We love those pancakes and those donuts the size of small vehicles. 

So, naturally, when Cheeseburger Week raised its melted head, we thought, “Great Maple! Cheeseburgers. That’s gotta be a thing.”

And a thing it was. 

Chef Erin (we really  hope we got that name right), brought us their Cheeseburger Week special creation, the Mushroom Mornay, which is an impressive 8 oz burger patty, in a toasted Brioche bun, with mornay sauce, and manchego cheese. 

According to, (yes, its a real site), manchego originates from the La Mancha region of Spain and is known for its distinctively creamy, firm, and slightly crumbly texture, with a mild, nutty flavor with a hint of tanginess, which becomes more pronounced as it ages.

As long as we’re on the subject of cheese, the younger, milder versions are often used in dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, (and likely, cheeseburgers) while the older varieties develop a more intense flavor and are enjoyed with fruits and wine.

Meanwhile, Erin’s Mushroom Mornay, also features a sweet Grape Tomato Compote, arugula, and of course, a generous hunk of Portobello mushroom. 

The fries are equally impressive, hot and salty and crispy, as fries should be.

It’s a lot of Cheeseburger, and truth be told, we sliced it and brought half home, where it was equally delicious out of a toaster oven the next day. 

You can add the cheeseburger to the list of our favorite menu items at Great Maple, and while we are impartial reviewers, it’s an impressive, delicious cheeseburger. 

Great Maple, The Paseo, 300 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 696-3265.

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