Right Time, Rite Spot

Pasadena celebrates 96th anniversary of the accidental invention of the cheeseburger

As legend has it, in 1924 teenager Lionel Sternberger was working at his dad’s roadside stand, The Rite Spot, on what was known then as Colorado Street, and accidentally burned one side of a customer’s hamburger patty. In an effort to cover up the mistake, the teen placed a piece of cheese on the burned side, thus creating what was first known as the The Aristocratic Burger, then simply a hamburger with cheese, and finally the cheeseburger. Word soon spread and customers flocked to The Rite Spot to enjoy the tasty treat, making Sternberger’s achievement the first verified instance of someone serving a hamburger with cheese to a customer.

In celebration of Sternberger’s accidental invention, 40 Pasadena restaurants, lounges and burger joints will be offering their own signature cheeseburgers, some special creations and great deals during Pasadena Cheeseburger Week, from Jan. 26 to Jan. 31.

Sternberger would later perfect his Aristocratic Burger, much to the delight of customers at The Rite Spot, and his culinary achievement has been documented by “Hamburger America,” the Los Angeles Times and Time magazine in its obituary of Sternberger.

To celebrate Sternberger’s invention, Pasadena restaurant patrons can experience the Zacatecas Burger from El Portal and Yahaira’s, the K-POP from Dog Haus and Dog Haus Biergarten, the Impossible Burger at Umami, or the traditional, and nationally recognized, cheeseburger at Pie ‘n Burger.

New participants for 2020 include Roy’s, Alexander’s Steakhouse, Smitty’s Grill and Granville.

Pie ‘n Burger, Dog Haus and Dog Haus Biergarten and Roy’s are among those offering special prices and/or offerings created for Cheeseburger Week.

Participating restaurants include:

1919 Cafe at the Huntington, Alexander’s Steakhouse, Cameron’s Seafood, Clearman’s Galley, Dog Haus (Hill  Avenuet location) and Dog Haus Biergarten, El Portal Restaurant, Granville, Green Street Restaurant, Kathleen’s Restaurant, Kings Row Gastropub, Lucky Baldwin’s Pub, Lucky Baldwin’s Trappiste Pub and Cafe, Mi Piace (lunch only), Pie ‘n Burger, Plate 38, Roy’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Happy Hour menu), Slater’s 50/50,Smitty’s Grill, The Stand, The Terrace at the Langham, True Food Kitchen, Umami Burger, White Horse Lounge and Yahaira’s Cafe.

Cheeseburger Week is a Pasadena Restaurant Week and California Restaurant Month event presented by the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Information on venues, specials, cheeseburger crawls and more can be found at pasadenarestaurantweek.com.


Sounds From the Mountains

Newly formed Mt. Lowe Chamber Players set to perform first in series of free concerts

In their inaugural concert on Sunday, the Mt. Lowe Chamber Players, a new ensemble of professional musicians residing in Altadena, will perform early works for string quartet by Mozart, Rossini, Arriaga and Ives.

Sponsored by Friends of the Altadena Library and Fulcrum Arts, the event is set to begin at 3 p.m. at the Altadena Library Main Branch,  600 E. Mariposa Drive, Altadena. Admission is free.

The group will continue this series of free chamber music concerts at the Altadena Library at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoons. The next concerts will be on March 29, featuring a brass ensemble, and on May 24, when the players will feature a woodwind quintet.

For more information, visit the players on Facebook or mtlowechamberplayers.com.