Your Favorite Holiday is Back

Pasadena’s Cheeseburger Week is Like, So Totally On
By EDDIE RIVERA, Editor, Weekendr Magazine
Published on Jan 22, 2023

Here at Cheeseburger Central, we’ve mentioned this before, but we truly believe that it bears repeating. Often. 

There’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Opening Day, the Rose Parade, the Rose Bowl game, and Cheeseburger Week, in no particular order. But those are the days each year that set Pasadenans atwitter, so to speak. 

When young Lionel Sternberger glanced worriedly at that burnt beef patty on his father’s grill at the Rite Spot Café, all those many years ago (sometime between 1924 and 1926, goes the legend), he knew exactly what to do — plop a thick slice of cheese right on that charred thing, and serve it like you mean it.

(The exact site of that legendary burger joint is just on the southern edge of Pasadena as Colorado Boulevard emerges uphill out of Eagle Rock. There is an office park there these days.)

Meanwhile, that fortunate customer came back in a few days, and naturally, asked about that “Cheeseburger.” And the rest became the future.

Since that time, nearly 100 years ago, there is probably a cheeseburger served in every country in the world. And every restaurant that serves cheeseburgers maintains that theirs are the best.

You’ll be the judge of that.

So, cue Cheeseburger Week in Pasadena. This year’s Pasadena Cheeseburger Week, which is sponsored as always, by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, begins right now. Like, today. 

You can have a cheeseburger sitting at the counter, at Pie and Burger, or you can sit in style at the Terrace at the Huntington Langham hotel. Perhaps the carnival of burgers at Slaters 50-50? Maybe a build-your-own burger at the Counter, or maybe have a classic cheeseburger at Jake’s?

Dozens of Pasadena restaurants are offering cheeseburger specials throughout the week, and we are only too happy to try them out for you and tell you about them.

Here are some Cheeseburger Week highlights from Old Pasadena restaurants, for example:

  • Der Wolf
    Offering a $14 Wolf Burger with French Fries or a $16 Short Rib Burger with French Fries 
  • Dog Haus Biergarten
    $7.99 on Haus Burgers: Cheeseburger; Little Mule; Ringer; Hangover; Holy Aioli 

Those are only two of the cheeseburger specials, and there are dozens available throughout this week. We have been eating most of the last few days, and we begin our reviews this morning. We’ll be featuring Cheeseburger eateries all week.

And don’t forget that you can vote for your favorite cheeseburger right here. The votes and the bites will be tabulated over the next week, and we will, of course, be covering the dramatic election results.

Here’s a list of all of the restaurants involved. Please read it carefully, and contact the restaurants beforehand, as some restaurant entries may have changed.

Eat like the wind, friends.

Here’s our first review:

Visiting an Old Friend

La Grande Orange offers a great burger and a great place to eat it

One of our favorite memories about cheeseburger week in Pasadena involves one of my favorite places. As memories recall, we were seated out on the terrace at La Grande Orange at the site of the former Santa Fe railroad station, on a fabulously clear sunny January afternoon, soaking up the rays and eagerly awaiting lunch.

We must’ve been high on vitamin D, because I certainly do not remember ordering a cheeseburger with green chili. But soon after we were seated, and after some anticipatory chat, it arrived.

I’m not a green chili fan. I didn’t order a cheeseburger with green chili. The cheeseburger with green chili was extraordinary.

On a rainy night earlier this week, I tried to duplicate that experience. The only thing that was the same was the burger, which apparently is a special that Legrand orange is promoting this week as part of their cheeseburger week celebration. We had ours served on one of their homemade English muffins, which are a treat all by themselves.  Wrapped around a thick beef patty that is topped with green chili slices and shredded melted cheese they rival any high-rise construction in the city.

As health conscious as we’ve become in our formative years, we rarely order the French fries. But the chopped green salad and Le Grande Orange, tossed with ranch dressing, tossed with ranch dressing, is the perfect complement to the burger.  It was sweet and fresh and crunchy, and after a few forkfuls, I personally forgot all about ketchup and salt, let alone potatoes.

While I had (almost) forgotten how good that green chili burger was those many, many years ago, memories came roaring back on that rainy night. 

And that’s what a Cheeseburger’s all about. 

La Grande Orange is at 260 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA. (626) 356–4444.

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