When people think of Van Nuys, the airport undoubtedly comes to mind, and probably the gargantuan Budweiser plant located near the 405. However, from now on, when anybody mentions Van Nuys, my mind will inevitably conjure images of sizzling hamburgers. The man responsible for this mental imprint is Bill Elwell, who opened his classic burger stand in 1965. Wife Hiroko Wilcox now helps him run his weekday-only burger destination, but Elwell still grills every burger.
On the register, a sign makes it clear that “You can’t have it your way. This is not Burger King!!” The streamlined wall-mounted menu features burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches that top out at $4.45, including tax.
Elwell cradles each burger into a grilled bun with mayo, fresh tomato and lettuce. Regulars know to add grilled onions, crispy bacon strips and American cheese slices. On the side, your only option is ridged potato chips, which are included.
Seating options are pretty straightforward. Relax on the back patio or sit at the L-shaped counter and watch Elwell in action.