Connal's, Top's, Wolfe Burgers. Some of them are not: Lucky Boy, Everest. I've noticed Wonder Burgers - on Foothill Blvd in the eastern part of town - for years, but never stopped by. Never even considered it, actually: half a mile down the street is In-N-Out. Every time I was in the area and wanting a burger, that's where I headed.
Yesterday, however, Elizabeth and I were out doing some errands and both hungry. We felt like burgers and we were heading towards that part of town. I decided to finally give Wonder Burgers a try.
"This is my first time here," I asked of her. "What should I get?"
"Well, our most popular thing is the Wonder Burger, as long as you like mushrooms and avocado."
I ended up ordering the pastrami burger. I asked if they offered any kind of combo and was told "Not with the pastrami burger." So I suggested to Elizabeth that we share some fries. She said sure and ordered a patty melt. We both got drinks, bringing the grand total to sixteen bucks. Not bad at all.
The patty, onions and cheese all melded together perfectly inside the bread, which was crispy but not at all greasy. Anyone who has eaten patty melts even just a handful of times knows the frustration of a melt where grease and butter runs down your fingers and before you get through half the sandwich it falls apart faster than the Angels bullpen. This sandwich stayed intact the whole time.
The woman asked how we were enjoying our food.
"I can't believe this isn't your most popular item," I said, indicating the patty melt.
"Well, it is among people who know what good patty melts are supposed to taste like," she answered.
I admired her confidence. It was well-deserved.
My first instinct to close this out is to write something along the lines of "I can't believe I've never been to Wonder Burgers before"... but that's not true. Of course I can believe it. Pasadena is full of burger joints I love and, let's be honest, Wonder Burgers doesn't look like much from the outside. I don't recall a single one of my friends ever mentioning the place. (In the evening I told some friends where I'd been. Tracie had never heard of it and Tyler's reaction was a more amusing "That place is still open?")
I'm not saying I've found a new favorite place - hell, I'm not even promising that I will ever return - but it was delicious, reasonably priced, and friendly. You can't do much better than that.