Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hamburger Hamlet

9201 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood

It's the end of an era. The very last Hamburger Hamlet restaurant in L.A. proper is closing. At one time there were about a dozen Hamburger Hamlets in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and the surrounding areas. The only two left in California are the ones in Sherman Oaks and Pasadena.

Last night Larry and I had dinner at the Hamlet on Sunset Blvd. just inside the West Hollywood border, near Beverly Hills. The very first HH was located just down the block from this incarnation, near the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. The Hamlet has been in business since 1950. Here's a great story about the history of HH, how Marilyn and Harry Lewis revolutionized casual dining in Los Angeles AND a couple of recipes.

Original Hamlet w/black & white striped awning on Sunset @ Hilldale, WeHo

Growing up in Beverly Hills, my parents often frequented the Hamlets on South Beverly Drive and on North Bedford Drive. I was a classmate of David Lewis, one of the sons of the founders, Marilyn and Harry Lewis. We often saw the Lewis' at the Hamlet, running around, checking to see if everything was handled well. It was a Beverly-Hi hang-out. We all had our favorite dishes. The Lewis' sold the HH chain years ago, but the remaining restaurants still served the same delicious food. After the sale of the Hamlet, Harry and Marilyn opened another successful restaurant in Beverly Hills, Kate Mantilini, that David and his brother Adam now operate. There's also a branch in Woodland Hills. It's a lovely place too, but has a different ambiance than good ol', comfy, clubby Hamburger Hamlet.

Tap Room, Hamburger Hamlet, Sunset 2011

Last night we ordered the Lobster Bisque, served with garlic cheese toast. We split the Mushroom Burger and substituted cheddar for swiss cheese. Everything was delicious. The only menu item missing from my youth was Egg Custard Lulu!

Lobster Bisque w/ Garlic Cheese Toast
Mushroom Burger

We might just have to make the trek out to Sherman Oaks or Pasadena for our next Lobster Bisque fix!

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At 5:26 PM PDT, Blogger Laurie Ann said...

That makes me sad. We Tower folks used to go to lunch there at least once a month. Miles Davis's ex-wife was the hostess (weekdays) and she loved to talk jazz with my boss.

I always got The Stella--onion soup, salad, and half a sandwich.

At 7:45 PM PDT, Anonymous Jo Anne said...

So many Sunday nights our family went to the Hamlet - usually on Beverly Drive. The Chocolate Cake was good too! Thanks for sharing.

At 10:40 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I had totally forgotten about the Lobster Bisque. That was my standard order back in the day when we lived in WeHo. This was before WeHo was even a city. Long ago...

Christine G.

At 3:08 PM PST, Blogger Planettrout said...

Back in the day, this joint was the lunch spot for the "who's who" of people in the office was just down the street at 9110..was a regular at the original just down the street before "hippie mob" took over in the mid 60's...all those great watering holes on the Strip are now gone...

Tim B.


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