Lucky Boy isn’t really a drive-in. It is a classic L.A. greasy spoon lunch counter. The sign out front boasts 1/4 pound charbroiled burgers, which are fine enought, but they probably seemed more special in 1961, before fast food charbroiled burger joints became mainstream.
In the decades since then, Lucky Boy has reinvented itself to stand out. The new boast is “Home of the Famous Breakfast Burrito.” This is a burrito so hefty that it tests the structural limits of a paper bag. The important point is that they aren’t just bigger than the rest. They’re better, too.
Lucky Boy’s breakfast burritos have the homey touches of plated diner food. The potatoes within are flat squares (not cubes) of home fries with little oil. Instead of griddle grease, most of the fat comes from the generous portion of breakfast meat inside: a double handful of crisp bacon or a half dozen sausage links. Three scrambled eggs and a mound of cheddar also are included. It’s easy to see why the breakfast burritos sell better than the burgers these days. They’re so popular that Lucky Boy allows you to order them even after designated breakfast hours.
Not that any sides are necessary after a behemoth burrito, but Lucky Boy serves great ones in whopping portions. Fried zucchini comes as long sticks of the battered squash shaped like french fries. These are served with creamy ranch dressing, which benefits from a little doctoring with the Tapatio hot sauce on the table. The chili-cheese fries are even better. The chili is a sweet gloppy meat sauce, something like what you get on fries at the famous Tommy’s Hamburgers chain, but with more soul and taller mounds of cheddar cheese and thinly sliced onion.
Every time we eat at Lucky Boy, we are fascinated by the pink pastrami floating in orange oil behind the counter. On a recent visit, we finally took a plunge into the grease pool and tried a pastrami sandwich. The meat has the elasticity of oil-logged, fast food pastrami, and once unwrapped, it comes springing out of the submarine roll like a Jack-in-the-box. Biting into the bouncy ribbons of shaved meat and having the oil run down our chins is almost as satisfying as the crunch of a bacon breakfast burrito with added avocado. Is this sandwich better than the iconic pastrami sandwich of popular local chain The Hat? We concede that The Hat is older, and Lucky Boy’s may be a copy of Hat sandwiches, but it’s a very good copy.
We love do Lucky Boy, not least of all because it’s open until last call.