Long Beach Lunch: Dave's World Famous Burgers

Sarah Bennett
For far too long, the 1950s-era face clock attached to the Dave's Burgers sign on Atlantic Avenue has sat looming over the roadway with no hands, mocking me. "Time To Eat!" the face of the clock declared. And yet, it never actually told me the time.

But last month, a new replica of the weathered, broken signage was erected in its place and on Oct. 11, an electrician came to perform the final touches. I drove by to see it while scoping for a late lunch and lo, it was after 3 p.m.--truly time to eat.

A working clock might not seem like a big deal for a regular ol' restaurant, but when you are an eight-by-five foot burger-and-dogs-only shack in the corner of a Chevron parking lot in Bixby Knolls, every amenity counts.

Inside the tiny Dave's Burgers is a prep station, a little fridge and a grill. Outside is an old, dented top-sliding fridge full of soda cans and a cheap metal chip rack loaded with Tapatio Ruffles and BBQ-flavored Lays. A menu riveted to the wooden structure lists Dave's minimal offerings, which includes an assortment of regular, jumbo and double cheeseburgers as well as some turkey, chicken and "grilled dog" meat options.

Note that even though the two other Dave's Burgers locations north of the 405 in Long Beach have indoor seating, fries, ice cream shakes and even a Mexican food menu, the Bixby Knolls spot possesses none of that. A 50-plus year-old experiment in fast-food minimalism, it serves only the mini-chain's "world-famous" cooked-to-order burgers and dogs and provides you with a few gas-pump adjacent picnic tables to eat them at.

Sarah Bennett
Patty melt at Dave's Burgers.

In an attempt to get variety out of the limited menu, I ordered a turkey cheeseburger and a buddy of mine got the patty melt (plus chips and drinks, total bill $15). The patty melt is easily the best in Long Beach, if not beyond. Made on toasted rye bread with sweet-and-brown grilled onions spilling out in all directions, this is not a poor man's diner hamburger. But the burger also didn't disappoint. It came as every crazy Yelper describes: massive, juicy and expertly seasoned. It was also intimidating. Topped only with lettuce, pickles, onions and thousand island dressing, Dave's seemingly simple burgers somehow still require two fanned-out hands to hold onto.

Sarah Bennett
Turkey cheeseburger with soda and chips for size reference.

I attacked the thing with a day's worth of hunger (and a stack of napkins to soak up all the drippings), but I still couldn't finish it all. Sure, you could drive just a few miles away and get air conditioning and fries from either of the other Dave's, but for some reason the Bixby Knolls installment feels less pretentious, more authentic--more Long Beach.

Dave's Burgers, 3396 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, (562) 424-3340.

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget to download our free Best Of App here!

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

It just doesn’t get any better than seeing the gorgeous “Mrs. Anita
Pelaez” over at her and her Famous Husband “Captain Kutchie’s”place..Some Folks Also Call Him..”The
KutchMan others call him The KutchMon!”…Most Just Call Him “The Most
Interesting Man In The World”….(Anita and Kutchie Pelaez’s Key West, Key Lime Pie
Factory and Grill)…Just Watching The Lovely Couple Baking Together All
Those Yummy Key Lime Pies At Their Key Lime Pie Factory And Grill In
…It’s Always Worth The Trip To Visit Them In They’re Historic Key Lime
Pie Factory and Grill…It Should Be On Everyone’s Bucket List For
The World’s Best Key Lime Pies!..YUM-YUM-YUM….­­.”Talk About World
Class” What An Understatement!…….AA­­HHHHH!….The Magic Of The
Lovely..”Mrs. Anita Pelaez” And Her Delicious Key Lime Pies Baked With
Pure Love…Always……40 Years And They’re Still Going Strong….
….May GOD Continue Blessing “Anita And Kutchie Pelaez” and They’re World
Famous Key Lime Pie Factory And Grill Where The Personalities, Ovens And
Smiles Are Always Warm And Inviting.
….“Kutcharitaville” You’re The Best And We Love You!….
…Now You Know Who Is The Hottest!…And Baby Let Me Tell You, Mrs. Anita Is No Act…She’s The Real Thing Baby!…
….Located Near The Biltmore House And Estate…..
….Who Could Ask For Anything More?…Anita’s Key Lime Pie…(Hell Yes!)
….Just Think, Kutchie’s Goody Goody Cheese Burgers, First Billed As “The
Original Cheese Burgers In Paradise!” Way Back In 1974 By “Kutchie’s
Good Friend “Mr Levi Stubbs” Lead Singer Of The Four Tops….”Sorry
“Buffett”…Kutchie’s Version Of “Cheese Burgers In Paradise” Came A Few
Years Before Yours Did, “Dog Ate Your Home-Work?”!!…Yeah, Jimmy, It’s
The Same Kutchie Pelaez,-The Famous Deep Sea Underwater And Treasure
Explorer/Megalodon Shark Tooth Hunter.
Who Worked Along With “Mel Fisher”, “Captain Tony Tarracino”, “Yankee
Jack”, “Michael McCloud”, “Alabama Jack” , “Vito Bertucci” and Many Others Of Key West Fame.
….That Alone Is Quite A Pretty Big Deal If You Ask Me. ….”Hell”,..It’s A Pretty Big Deal Even If You Don’t Ask Me.
….Research, Continually Confirms The Fact That The Pelaez’s World
Famous Key Lime Pies Truly Increases Married Couple’s Sex Rates By No Less
Than 300% Respectively. It Also Shows That Said Sexual Encounters Are
Much, Much More Enjoyable Than They Ever Were Before The Consumption Of
The Pelaez’s Key Lime Pies.
On A Sad Note. It Has Been Reported That The Consumption Of The Famous
Key Lime Pies Are Quite Detrimental To The Practices Of Divorce
Attorneys. But, That’s Not Bad. Hell That’s Good News.
…Not A Sad Note, A Happy Note! The Pelaez’s Pies Are A Win-Win-Win For Everyone Involved!
….I Guess You Could Say What Has Been Said Many Times Before,…”AHHH” The
Magic Of The Lovely Anita Pelaez And Her Key Lime Pies….
….I Do Know First Hand That The Pelaez’s Famous Key Lime Pies Have
The Ability To Turn Small Stream Squirters Into Major League Gushers Or
Some Might Call Them “Niagara Falls”. Holly Molly, Let Those Good Times
Flow, Baby!
….It’s No Wonder Everyone Believes That Kutchie Pelaez Is The Most Interesting
Man In The World…..”Damn He Really Is” For Sure!
…..That “Kutchie”, He Looks Marvelous Dahling!…

….”Hemingway”, Had Nothing On The “KutchMan”…

….Someone Overheard The “Kutchman” Say One Day That He Thought That He Was A Lesbian!… We Don’t Want To see Him Coming Out Of The Toilet With Just His Dick In His Hands!

….If He Ever Needs Any Guidance, Who’s A Better Consiglieri Than His Father?….They Both Season They’re Garlic With Food!

Now Trending

From the Vault