Bill & Hiroko’s: Upholding Burger Heritage in Van Nuys

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Hamburgers Los Angeles

Bill Elwell has become L.A.'s foremost hamburger artisan in an unlikely setting.

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!!”

Restaurant Menu Los Angeles

The streamlined wall-mounted menu features burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches that top out at $4.45, including tax.

Hamburgers Los Angeles

Each pre-formed patty char-grills on a sizzling flat-top.

Hamburger Los Angeles

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.

Bill & Hiroko’s: Upholding Burger Heritage in Van Nuys


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

[…] Photo: Food GPS […]

You can’t “char-grill” on what looks like a gas fueled flat-top. You need charcoal to char-grill. Looks like they just cook it on a flat-top. No shame in that, Apple Pan does the same.


That’s a good point about my use of the term “char.” I always associated the term with the char that forms on the outside of the patty. It makes sense that it refers to charcoal. I’ll use the term differently from now on. Thanks.

funny, I have lived within 2-3 miles of this place for over 20 years, and have NEVER even seen or heard of it, and I am on that street frequently enough.
I sure hope it is a better burger than the one I ate yesterday at Blue Dog in Sherman Oaks. That was really sad.

Next time I’m in the valley, I’m definitely here. And I’m surprisingly in the valley more often than I like.

Matt, there’s no shame in eating in the Valley. The west Valley in particular has some of the best low-cost food in L.A.

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