Pie ‘N Burger

Diner | Hamburgers | Pie Shop
Worth a detour

Since 1963, Pie ‘N Burger has been feeding Pasadena residents and CalTech students primarily two staples extolled in their name: superior pies, at least a dozen baked fresh daily, and thin, crispy-edged burgers, perfectly grilled and topped with fried onions, pickles, and housemade Thousand Island dressing in the classic California style. Little has changed inside the spacious restaurant since the ’60s: the Formica counter, old-timey stools, and tables have held hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of customers. Since they’ve never installed a modern soda fountain, the wait staff will whip up a cola from syrup and seltzer, or maybe you’re feeling like a cold glass of buttermilk?

The pies deserve special attention. Seasonal fruit pies sport fragile crusts and ultra-flavorful fillings, like blueberry, cherry, and the curious olallieberry (a blackberry hybrid). The meringue pies stand tall against the pull of gravity with such rarities as peanut butter, butterscotch, and banana. Pie ‘N Burger also carries mincemeat pie during the wintry months, that wonderfully aromatic, old-world jumble of apples, raisins, and spices, its crust topped with a dollop of hard sauce for a British touch. Hearty breakfast plates are popular, though we’ll be satisfied as long as burgers are always available. Pie ‘N Burger is open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 7 a.m.-9 p.m. And don’t forget: cash only!

Elise | July 02, 2014

Pie n’ Burger has a lot going for it. For over 40 years the little diner has graced the corner of California and Lake. The current owner is Michael Osborn, who ate at Pie n’ Burger on summer trips to visit his grandmother. He began working there in 1972 and never left. The Formica® counters and elderly waitresses make entering Pie n’ Burger feel like a trip back in time circa Nick at Nite. Pie ‘n Burger has been around so long that its diet plate of a burger patty, peach slices and cottage cheese has actually come into vogue again.

The meaty patty is nicely charred. Burgers come standard with big leaves of iceberg lettuce, pickles, and thousand island dressing, which makes for a delightfully messy handful. There is so much lettuce on it that it probably counts as a salad, but instead of being filler, the crispy iceberg makes the burger strangely refreshing. You can also order your onions grilled, which we highly recommend.

As the name suggests, pies are the star of the show here. The fruit pies are possibly the best pies in the Los Angeles area, especially the blueberry pie. The flaky crust fairly bursts with blueberries, and the slice collapses under the weight of two massive scoops of ice cream. The cream pies are topped with meringue instead of a whipped cream topping, the best of these being the banana. When olallieberry season comes around it is newsworthy.

Best of all, Chronicle Wine Cellar is inconspicuously located in the back of the parking lot. You can stop in and pick up a bottle from the friendly shopkeeper, Gus Martin, before your meal. The diner doesn’t charge corkage, so you can enjoy your burger with a shiraz or zinfandel.

Old-fashioned also means no credit cards. Cash or checks only, and I think a check might be pushing it. Although once as I dug for an elusive two dollars, the cashier said, “It’s ok if you don’t have it.” Talk about the good old days!

What to Eat
Pie ‘N Burger, Cheeseburger
The crunchy-soft strata of pickles and grilled onions are a textural wonderland on this cheeseburger.
Old-fahioned Soda
Macaroni Salad
Pie ‘N Burger, Pancakes
When The Travelin Man ordered pancakes, he was asked if he wanted them thick or thin, like crepes. These are the thick ones. Slather them with the homemade preserves sitting on the counter and you have the start of a fine breakfast!
Pie ‘N Burger, Salsa
We were surprised to find the spicy salsa with green chiles was also made in house. This went very well on eggs and potatoes.
Pie ‘N Burger, blueberry pie
blueberry pie
Blueberry Pie!
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday9am - 9pm
Monday11am - 9pm
Tuesday11am - 9pm
Wednesday11am - 9pm
Thursday11am - 9pm
Friday11am - 9pm
Saturday9am - 9pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
12 stops | 580 MILES | 9 hr 57 min

While magnificent scenery along Route 66 in Arizona and California is abundant, good meals can be scarce. But it isn't necessary to take a major detour down to Sedona or Palm Springs to eat well; here are a handful of restaurants on or close to the old Will Rogers Highway that provide excellent food and…

21 stops | 2213 MILES | 34 hr 19 min

What a yummy trip it is to eat one's way from Chicago to L.A. along old Route 66! This tour of 21 excellent stops along the way includes some that are directly on the old road as well as a few that are worthy short detours. None require a reservation, all are easy on the…

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Uncle Bill’s Pancake House

    Manhattan Beach, California

    By the Ocean in Manhattan Beach, Uncle Bill’s is known for eggs, pancakes, and waffles; we love the hash brown scramble known as potatoes Stroganoff.

  • Shaky Alibi

    Los Angeles, California

    Los Angeles’ Shaky Alibi is all about the best imaginable Liège Belgian waffles, both sweet and savory. On the side: best-in-the-city coffee.

  • Cassell’s Hamburgers

    Los Angeles, California

    Many were saddened when the original Cassell’s closed, but now we can rejoice. A revamp of the classic burger diner respects traditions that made it famous.

  • Kettle

    Manhattan Beach, California

    A classic southern California coffee shop, open round the clock, serving high-quality square meals with especially good breakfast. Kettle muffins are a must!

  • Mitla Cafe

    San Bernardino, California

    An historic family cafe on Route 66, Mitla Cafe is indirectly responsible for popularizing America’s favorite Mexican fast-food: the crunchy taco.

  • Harriet’s Cheesecakes Unlimited

    Inglewood, California

    Cheesecake is the single thing on the menu at this Los Angeles take-out-only storefront bakery. Dozens of varieties are available; the best is praline.