Cassell's Hamburgers

March 3, 2015

When I think of Los Angeles in the 1940’s, a film noir scene comes to mind. Streetcars ring their bells as they pass through the tracks along the city. Fedoras and suspenders are the uniforms of men, not the accessories of young hipsters. There is no Dodger Stadium, just the ravine. In the 40’s LA has the first freeway, the first parking meter, the Los Angeles Rams, and of course, Al Cassell’s famous burger joint.

Cassell’s opened in 1948 and quickly became a popular place for lunch to hungry Angelenos, (it was only open during lunch). Al Cassell was meticulous in every aspect of his burger establishment. He used only the finest ingredients and the meat was ground fresh onsite. Each burger was cooked on a unique slanted grill that broiled each patty nicely. In the early years, Al never offered french fries, but would invite you to use the “buffet” or topping bar that had ketchup, mustard, onions, lettuce, and his housemade mayo. Cassell’s thrived for several decades. When Al was contemplating retirement, he sold the restaurant to another family. Al passed away in 2010 at the age of 98, and two years later Cassell’s officially closed for business.

Just recently Cassell’s opened up shop under new ownership at the newly restored Hotel Normandie, a few blocks away from its original 1948 location. Christian Page who lead the kitchen at Short Order is heading up the revamped Cassell’s. Page is still using the original equipment, grinding Colorado Angus whole chuck and brisket daily, the first step in those tasty burgers. The restaurant is also using Al’s famous crossfire broiler to cook each burger to perfection. 

The burgers are served with a side of lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles, and thousand island. You assemble it yourself, like in the old days. There are also other items like tuna sandwiches, egg salad, ham and cheese, and a patty melt. Staying true to the original, they do not serve fries, but offer potato chips, cole slaw, mac salad, and Cassell's famous potato salad. Christian Page says, "Cassell's now is what it was 60 years ago, great yet simple ingredients executed without compromise, except now we've got a full bar and coffee, so you can come any time of day." 

Sixty-seven years later, this city has seen many things come and go, like the Los Angeles Rams and the electric Streetcar. Cassell’s may have been gone for a while, but it’s back, and it’s as good as the stories you’ve heard. 

3600 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020

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