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Pasadena's Hamburger Hamlet To Close After 46 Years, Leaving Just One Location
Hamburger Hamlet's Pasadena location will be flipping its last burgers come Jan. 3, making the Sherman Oaks location the last restaurant standing in its chain. The classic burger spot will officially become Du-Par's the next day.
The burger spot, which opened in 1967, is another restaurant in the chain to shut its doors. The Hamburger Hamlet XP location in Larchmont Village closed in December and the iconic Sunset Strip restaurant, which was a go-to for old Hollywood stars (the Rat Pack kind), also shut down in Dec. 2011. Vintage L.A.'s Alison Martino lamented about the closing of the Pasadena and West Hollywood locations in Los Angeles Magazine:
Nothing pained me more then saying goodbye to the West Hollywood neighborhood hangout. It was where here you bumped into celebrities and industry moguls in a casual environment, dining in darkly lit giant red leather chairs. But there was nothing casual about the clientele. Where else could you see Dean Martin sipping a martini at the bar, Lucille Ball hair spraying her red locks in the ladies room, Bette Davis chain smoking in the Tap Room, or Frank Sinatra taking a meeting with his publicist?
Actor Harry Lewis and his then future wife, celebrity clothing designer, Marilyn Lewis had opened their Hamburger Hamlet chain of restaurants in 1950, according to the Los Angeles Times. Their chain grew to 24 locations and they later sold it in the late 1980s for about $30 million. They also opened Kate Mantilini in Beverly Hills, which is still in business. Lewis passed away in June 2013 at the age of 93.
The Lewises never quite get enough credit for the Hamlets being one of the first restaurants rooted in white Los Angeles to employ African Americans as servers and managers.
The transformation to Du-Par's will be quick, as the same staff will be heading the restaurant and start slinging the new menu on Jan. 4, Hamburger Hamlet's general manager Guillermo Mireles tells LAist. Hamburger Hamlet will close for good at 11 p.m. on Jan. 3.