9/26/2012 05:24:00 PM

The Pastrami Burger, LA's Contribution to the World of Fast Food

The Hat's clsassic
If you're not originally from LA, the abundance of pastrami burgers - a beef patty topped with a ginormous amount of thinly sliced, salty ribbons of meat, Thousand Island dressing, tomatoes and lettuce - is a little jarring. What is the fascination with this meat-on-meat beast, other than it is utterly, heart-cloggingly delicious? It is a very LA thing, probably originating at the The Hat in Alhambra, which opened in 1951 selling "World Famous Pastrami" and burgers.

Apparently pastrami burgers are also very popular in Salt Lake City, but the idea most likely came from here - Jonathan Gold is quoted as saying they're an "atavistic souvenir of the decades when Chicanos and Jews both lived along Brooklyn Avenue in Boyle Heights." Whatever genius decided pastrami and burger should go together is a mystery, but they were definitely on to something.

You usually find the specialty at old road-side looking stands, places like any of The Hat locations, Tom's Burgers in East LA and Dino's in Lincoln Heights. Astro Burger has a great one. Heck, even Carl's Jr. attempted it at some point. We discovered the wonders of the pastrami burger at Tops in Pasadena earlier this week. Umamicatessen has a fancified pastrami burger, and Hole in the Wall often runs it as a special.

So where's your favorite? Tell us in the comments! And let us know your thoughts on Fast Food Week on social media with hashtag #fastfoodweek.

Photo: Thedalogs/Flickr

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