"World's Best" and "#1" and "Fan Favorite" are proclamations that frequently get hung in restaurant windows. The celebrated food in question is pizza or ice cream or cheeseburgers, and, usually, the signs are fairly right: The dishes are delicious and praise-worthy.
But no matter how many exclamation points are typed after a restaurant's dish, they can't change where the dish was invented: That usually belongs to one place, or a couple. And the cheeseburger? Its hometown is Pasadena, Calif.
Perhaps you've heard of the place. Back in 1924, Lionel Sternberger made the first cheeseburger at the Rite Spot in west Pasadena, and Southern California soon zoomed into the upper pantheon of burger chain greatness, both of the boutique and available-everywhere-around-the-planet sort.
But where can you get a really fine patty with a slice of cheese and some bread on the top and bottom on National Cheeseburger Day, which just happens to be Wednesday, Sept. 18? Why not try...
The Oinkster: The Eagle Rock outpost's cheeseburger entry is a hefty one -- 1/3 pound Nebraska Angus patty, yep yep -- and it comes with three additional types of meat plus the cheese slice: bacon, pastrami, and chili. You'll probably get some on you, and that's okay. Oh, and the movie-riffic name? The Royale. Be truthful: You'd break out the "-riffics" too at the sight of this thing.
JNJ Burger Shack: The Culver City-Fairfax-West Adams nexus offers up a lot of fine burgerage, but this barbecue-sweet spot is a definite favorite. Go straight-up cheeseburger or head for the bacon-chile route. Turkey and veggie burgers are nice options as well.
Golden State: We're never going to complain if the word "aioli" shows up on the listing for our cheeseburger, nor the specific farm the cheese involved happens to hail from. Plus? This snug Fairfaxery just makes for fine burger-casual dining. We did mention aioli was involved, right? The burger has an easy name to remember, too: The Burger.